“Your life is not for you to throw away. The will to live is stronger than anything.” ~ Hiko Seijuro, Master of Kenshin
What is will?
The dictionary explains “will” as a wish or desire, the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions.
Is our wish or desire so powerful?
Many of the motivational speeches and inspirational words of encouragement to living a good, successful life target at changing our mindsets-to think positive, to be forward-looking, to believe in the best possible or even impossible outcome! The sky is the limit!
Do we have such power to change our lives? Do we own such powerful minds to control our own actions?
Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Unlike animals, which act mainly on instinct, we resemble our Creator in our capacity to display such qualities as love and justice. Like our Creator, we have free will, we have the ability to choose between different possible courses of action. To a great extent, we can determine our future.
Then why do we have to pray prayers that disregard our will when we are given the ability?
The phrase “Thy will be done” is found three times in the King James Version of the Bible, twice recorded, the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10 & Luke 11:2)-a model prayer that Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. When we pray for God’s will to be done before we ask Him for “our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11), our daily needs and wants, we acknowledge that what God is doing is more important than our activities. This subtle, yet significant point reminds us of our spiritual priorities. God’s plan and purpose for our lives—His will—must come first in our lives. Praying for God’s will is an act of obedience. Even Jesus did this in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was facing torture and death on the cross… he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” This offer would be meaningless, even cruel, if we lacked free will. Instead of forcing us to do what He says, God warmly appeals to us in Isaiah 48:18, “Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
It is not about the ability to choose, the capability to choose rightly, wrongly or timely. It is about how powerful we were created to be like our Creator that we still choose to submit what has been given to us to Him.
May this all-time-favorite verses from book of Proverb be the meditation in our hearts as we brave through the storms & waves in our lives. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverb 3:5-6)