Is Your Will Weak?
Spiritual Life # 82
The Christian’s Will
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
What I’d like to start talking about this evening is another part of the personality. What we have been doing loved ones, is trying to talk about the interior life with God, that is, the spiritual life. And I had a burden to share that on Sunday evenings, which we’ve been doing now for 10 or 12 years, because I thought that there were many of us caught in the old difficulty of being born of God and then asking, “After conversion what?” And people tended to tell us, “Grow in grace.” And so we tried to ‘grow in grace’, but we really didn’t know how. And we didn’t know what it meant to ‘grow in grace’. And we heard about things like the ‘baptism with the Holy Spirit’ or ‘walking in the Spirit’. But we didn’t know much about what they meant.
So, that was why I thought it was important to begin to talk, in some detail, about the inner spiritual life with God that each of us has. And what I’ve tried to do is to take the scriptural outline as you remember, if you promise not to laugh, it’s actually — though many of you wouldn’t laugh. It’s just the old soldiers here that do laugh, because they know it so well. But really, if you follow scripture through, it does suggest in, you remember, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now I know that many people kind of go for a twofold division, into maybe, soul and body. But really I don’t know that it matters so much really the terminology that you use, as long as you see that your soul can either be directed by your body, or it can be directed by God through your spirit. We’ve taken this trichotomy view of the personality because it seems to fit in with many verses of scripture. And we’ve tried to follow those verses through.
And as you follow ‘spirit’ through, of course, you find that it has these functions: that it is your spirit that contacts God. [Shows diagram of the personality as 3 concentric rectangles with the ‘spirit’ being the innermost with the ‘soul’ around it and the ‘body’ being the outermost. In the ‘spirit’ rectangle are the words ‘communion’, ‘intuition’, and ‘conscience’.] We’ve found that our souls are the psychological parts of us that have these functions. [In the ‘soul’ rectangle are ‘will’, ‘mind’, and ’emotions’.] And our body: which we’ll talk about probably at the beginning of next year, when we talk about health, and sickness, and death.
What we’ve been doing therefore, the past two or three years is, we’ve talked about the communion of our spirits, and the intuition of our spirits, and our conscience. Then during the past year we’ve talked about our emotions and our mind. And now tonight, I would like to begin the study of our wills, and the place that our wills have in our life with God.
Now it may help some of you to know that this is the way we were meant to work. [On the diagram ‘God’ is above all the rectangles. With his hand Pastor shows a movement from ‘God’ into our ‘spirit’, and from there to our ‘soul’, and from there out to the ‘body’ and out to the ‘world’ (below the outermost rectangle).] We were meant to operate like that. That is, we were meant to operate from God. We were meant to receive his love and be content with his love only through communion in our spirits; through intuition to know what we should do; and then our conscience would constrain our will to obey what we had received from God. And the will would direct the mind, that
would understand what our intuition received, and would direct the rest of our bodies to execute it. And our emotions would express the joy of our friendship with God. And that’s the way we’re meant to operate.
And really peace comes when we operate that way, you know. And the fall consisted of us rejecting God, as if he did not exist, and operating the other way completely. So that instead of getting our security, and significance, and happiness from God’s love, we have to get it from elsewhere. And we usually try to get it from each other. We usually try to scramble to be important, or get others to look up to us. We usually try to scramble for enough material things to give us a sense of security. We usually try to grab as many thrills, and as many exciting experiences as we can to make ourselves happy.
And that’s what the fall consists of. It consists of a personality that is dependent on the world, and things, and people, and events instead of on God. And most men and women of course, live that kind of life. They are little better in a way, than little animals, because most of them live at the level of the body.
Now loved ones, what happens when we do that is of course, our ability to commune with God just dies completely. And that’s what we mean when we say, “You are dead in your sins.” Your spirit dies. And we’re left really only with souls and bodies that are functioning. In a person like Jean Dickson [known in the 1950’s and 1960’s for predicting the future] the spirit is very alive, but alive of course, to the elemental spirits of the universe. A person like Edgar Cace [1877-1945, psychic and mysticist answered questions on varied topics] has a very living spirit. But it’s alive to the elemental spirits of the universe that in their turn are trying to get men and women more and more dependent on the earth, on the stars, on fortune telling, on anything that is a substitute for God’s Holy Spirit. And so most people live that way. [Indicates movement from outside in, from the world into the body, then into the soul and the spirit]
Now with us, the first step back into the right relationship with God is the realization that we are wrong, that the whole thing is wrong, and that what we need is to be made alive in our spirits. Usually what God does first of all is, he appeals to the part of our spirits that is still somewhat alive. It’s interesting if you think of it — apart from you ladies and your woman’s intuition — most of us find the part of our spirits that is still most alive is the bit that actually is, to some extent, reinforced by the fact that we eat at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We’re preoccupied with what is good and what is evil. And that, strangely enough, somehow manages to keep this part of our spirits alive. [On the diagram Pastor indicates the ‘conscience’.]
And so our consciences are probably less asleep, less comatose than any other part of our spirit. And that’s what God directs his word to. And this will tie up with the importance of will, if I point out to you that any preaching that does not appeal to the conscience is not able to bring about the birth of the spirit. Preaching that appeals to the mind is able to bring about intellectual conviction, and persuasion, and people who can talk about that kind of thing. But unless preaching, or unless a message about God appeals to the conscience, you’re not even touching the spirit.
So I’d point that out to you if you’d like to look at a verse in James. James 2:19, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder.” And God’s word says that even demons who oppose God believe that he is one. In other words, it is possible to believe all the right things and be persuaded of them mentally and not be born of God because, all that’s being
touched is your soul. Your spirit is not being touched at all.
It’s possible to speak to the emotions. That was the weakness, you remember, of, “Oh, you’re on heroin, why don’t you turn onto Jesus?” Well, I mean turn on was alright if it was used very metaphorically. But the emphasis tended to be, “You got a kick out of heroin? Boy, will you get a kick out of Jesus.” And really, with due respect to us all, that wasn’t the Calvary Road, Nazarene’s cry. It wasn’t his cry as he walked down the Calvary road, “Will you turn onto me?” It wasn’t. It was anything but that kind of lightness. And so preaching, or a message of salvation that appeals to the emotions doesn’t bring about spiritual regeneration. It simply brings about an emotional kick.
And that was present loved ones, in the Old Testament. If you look at Jeremiah 6:14, the Bible was very clear about what these people were who made that kind of appeal. They were, of course, false prophets. Verse 13 gives you the context, “For from the least to the greatest of them, every one is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, every one deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” So there is a kind of salvation preaching or salvation message that tries to make people feel better at all costs, saying, “Peace, peace, God loves you, he forgives you, just believe that and you’ll be alright.” But the people’s conscience itself is not touched.
And you may have wondered, as I have, about the situation in our nation. And it is interesting how much religious activity there is. Isn’t it? And yet, the crime rate is higher than ever. And that’s not the mark of a real Christian revival, as you probably know. When a Christian revival took place in the Hebrides of Scotland in the 1950s, they did — really, they presented white gloves to the judges in the courts, because there were no cases to be tried; because the lives of the people and their ordinary dealings had been so changed by the Holy Spirit; because, it was a revival message that went to the conscience, and therefore resulted in the regeneration of the spirits of the people.
And you can see the difficulty of course, we’re up against. If you get some maniac who is prepared to preach that heavy law of God that deals with the conscience, we — loved ones, I’m sorry to say, we are such milk and water people in our generation. We have been brought up so often by authority figures that were afraid to contradict us, that we just will not stand for it. We won’t.
And it’s interesting, our cry is not so much, “What you’re saying is untrue.” Our cry is, “What you’re saying makes me unhappy and depressed.” And it’s totally irrelevant! What does it matter whether it makes you happy or depressed? Are you happy as long as you’re going to hell? You don’t care? If you’re going to hell, as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.
But it’s hard in our days to get loved ones to sit under salvation message that gets to the heart of conscience. If I could encourage you in your witnessing, unless you sooner or later get a loved one to do what we talked about this morning, to face the fact that God is saying to them, “I have a controversy with you! I have a controversy with you! I have a controversy with you! You are breaking this law of mine. And I am committed to destroy you for that.” Loved ones, until we see that it’s us against God’s will, we aren’t even beginning to get near the conviction of sin that, strangely enough, enables you to see the Savior.
It’s interesting. Do you know you’ll only see the Savior when you need saved? Really! You can see a fine example of good living, if you’re not in desperate straits. You can look at Jesus and say,
“He’s a great example to follow.” You can see a great guru who seems to understand the ins and outs of the spiritual life, if you don’t need saved. But it’s only if you need saved that you see the Savior. And you only know that you need saved when you see that you’re doomed to hell for the personal rebellion that you are involved in against the mighty God of the universe.
So loved ones, unless preaching and witnessing sooner or later gets to the conscience, you’re not even touching the part that needs to be regenerated.
Now, when the Holy Spirit gets to the conscience, the first thing that has to be done is the person has to see that they ‘can’ respond to their conscience. They ‘can’ respond to their conscience. And they ‘can’ do it by their wills — by the exercise of their wills. And if they don’t do that, the Spirit of Jesus cannot come into their spirits.
I think a lot of us have a little misunderstanding about this. We kind of think, “Listen brother, I need the Spirit of Jesus in me to help me obey.” No! The Savior is standing, or hanging, on that cross! And your sins that you’re committing are continuing to put new nails into his hands, and a new sword into his side. And you’re saying, as you do that, “Come into my spirit. Come into my spirit. Come in and help me to stop this.” God knows that’s unreal.
Loved ones, you can full well stop. Even those of us who have been caught in things like nicotine, or caught in things like alcoholism, when the ‘writing is firmly on the wall’, quite apart from God or Jesus, we’re able to stop. When we see that this has to be done, we stop. You remember that guy, you remember, the guy who was the prosecuting attorney – I don’t know how many of you will remember, old Raymond Burr and it must have been Perry Mason [Television program in the 1950’s and 1960’s]. And you remember, that was before “Iron Sides” [After the role of Perry Mason, Raymond Burr played in another TV show as Robert T. Ironside] before… And you remember that prosecuting attorney began to appear on television in commercials against smoking because, of course, he had discovered that he had cancer. He stopped the smoking! He stopped the smoking when he discovered he had cancer.
And so it is with us, when God’s word convicts our conscience, we are responsible. And God knows we are able to exercise our wills in alignment with our conscience. And until we do that loved ones, God cannot send the Spirit of his son into us. That’s really important that you see that, because I think you kind of feel, “Oh yeah, God zaps the Spirit of Jesus in. And he forces his way out of here, breaking out with six shooters going in all directions.” And he doesn’t.
The Holy Spirit is, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man open the door I will come in and will sup with him and he with me. But I will not break that door down.” And so the beginning of the new birth is exercising your will in obedience to your conscience. And when you do that, God knows it. And he sends the Spirit of his dear son into your spirit and makes you alive. And it’s then that you sense God is your Father and that you are his child. But it only comes after you exercise the will.
Now, if you say to me, “Oh now brother, do you mean you have to change your whole way of life?” No, but you have to be willing to do that. And God, the Holy Spirit, knows when your will is really set in that direction.
I’ve told you the story before of an altar. And there were loved ones seeking to come through to conversion. And it was a friend of mine was involved in the thing. This guy was a farmer, was
kneeling there and could not get through, and had asked God to forgive him his sins, and had asked Jesus to come into his heart. And each time the pastor said, “Has he come in?” The guy would say, “No, no he hasn’t.” And the pastor prayed of course, for a word of knowledge. And then it came. And he said to the guy, “Have you got a big white rooster?” And the guy looked at him, and could not believe that he would know anything about it. And he said, “Yes. Yes, I stole it two years ago from my neighbor.” And he said, “Alright, I see. I have to be willing to return that tomorrow. Lord, I am willing.” Jesus came into his heart like that.
See, the Spirit of Jesus can only come in to a person who is responding to what God has shown them in their conscience. I don’t know how many of you were in my position. But I was an academic and kind of enjoyed intellectual things. And I believed that this kind of stuff that we’re sharing tonight was the most primitive, uneducated, crude emotionalism that anybody could dream of. And I felt, “No, that’s stupid. God isn’t that kind of a little child, that I have to stop doing the things that are wrong. He knows. He knows the things that I understand. And if I just think through things enough, and see them the way he sees them, I know it will all become real.” And so I used to read the mystics, and study the Bible, hoping that somehow I would make it real inside me.
Loved ones, it was – you may say, “Oh, you must have been stupid.” I was! I was! But at last it came home to me that God required me to be crude and primitive enough to change my will, and to stop doing the things in my life that he showed me were wrong. And that for me, was the new birth. There was no difficulty. Jesus just flew into my heart. The Spirit came in, rose up inside me. And I knew I was born of God, when my will responded to my conscience.
That’s how important the will is. The will is king. It really is. The will is king. The mind may be thought of as the ‘eye of the soul’, because the mind, of course, is the part of us that understands what we received through intuition from God. But the will is the one that governors whether the soul is going to be directed by the spirit, or is going to continue to be directed by the body. The will is the key to everything, loved ones. The will is the part of us that we can touch.
It’s interesting you can’t touch that lot there. [Pastor indicates the ‘spirit’ with ‘communion’, ‘intuition’ and ‘conscience’.] That’s why transcendental meditation and all attempts a annihilating the soul, or bringing it into passivity, cannot bring you into spiritual life. You see, what transcendental meditation does, or muttering the one phrase repeatedly over in order to hypnotize yourself into passivity. It brings your soul and will into passivity so that your spirit is guarded by nothing, and then is at the mercy of evil spirits that come in and fill it with all kinds of counterfeit, God-like, suggestions. And the only way in fact, that your spirit can be touched by God is if you do what you’re able to do. And the only thing you’re able to do is to believe ‘right’ and to will ‘right’. And God promises, “If you do that, I will send my spirit into your spirit.”
But all attempts at TM [transcendental meditation] and eastern religions are attempts to pretend that the spirit has come alive without actually submitting to the conscience and to God’s will for our lives. And so there are all kinds of false Christianity that does the same thing. There are all kinds – every type of Christianity — that try to bring and create the sense of peace, joy, and delight in God that can only come from a regenerated spirit. And that stuff is popular today, because today is the day that we want everything without tears. And if we can get a semblance of salvation without having to change our lives, then we’ll do it.
And so loved ones, what we do have in our nation is a kind of a dangerous situation, because we have
a lot of religion around, and a lot of Christian religion. But we don’t have many people who are governing their lives by their wills. We have great hordes of loved ones, who are governing their minds by what certain people think should be done in the country as Christians. And we have another great section that govern their emotions by the way they feel — people should feel — when they’re praising God.
But it’s amazing how few we have that are governing their lives by ‘cold will’ submitting to God’s will. And yet, that is the only action that brings real spiritual regeneration. So yeah, we do have lots of loved ones who think they’re saved, and aren’t saved. But, they feel they are, because they seem to have the right feelings, or they think they have the right thoughts. But they, themselves, have not come into a real new birth. And it is because of this refusal to exercise the will.
Loved ones, Jesus made that clear, the importance of the will, if you’d like to look at some of the things he said in Luke 12:34. It says in verse 33, “Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where the thing is that you want above everything else, where the thing is that your will desires above everything else, there will your heart be also.
Then in Luke 18:23, there’s that famous incident you remember, of the rich young ruler. It might be good to start at Luke 18:18, “And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.” And he said, ‘All these I have observed from my youth.’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich.”
So Jesus puts his finger on the one thing in your life where your will is in controversy with his. It’s funny; it doesn’t matter if you give him all the rest of the things in the world, if you won’t give him that one thing. So it’s interesting, so many of us, both guys and girls, have lived in misery with Jesus because, of course, he’s been asking us for a certain girl or a certain guy that we have set our will on. Others of us have set our wills on certain kinds of lives, certain kinds of jobs, and we will not submit. And we submit on all kinds of other things, but we will not submit on the one thing that God has touched our conscience about.
And I would encourage you tonight, if you have anything in your conscience that you haven’t really settled with God, if you don’t submit on that point, you will eventually lose every sense of Jesus that you have even tonight. It’s the will that is the key to everything, loved ones. Jesus expressed it there. He didn’t care if he obeyed all the other commandments, but he did care that he obeyed the one thing that he spoke to him about.
Matthew 7:26: And it’s the parable, you remember, in Matthew 7:24, “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
And really, it’s true.
I mean, you build your house on sand if you listen to all the great teaching from different places and you do not change your own life, and do the one thing that God is speaking to you about. And Jesus, you remember, said, “They ‘will’ not believe.” And he wasn’t just using the future tense; he was using the ‘wish’, “They do not want to believe.” That’s why people don’t believe, because they don’t want to believe.
Do you know why you don’t pray? Because, you don’t will yourself to pray. I mean, you may want to pray; you may desire to pray because you hear of all the great things that prayer does for you; or you may want to pray because you do want to please Jesus. But you don’t pray, because you won’t will yourself to pray. And it is amazing loved ones, the key to everything is the will.
I hope to talk maybe in the coming weeks about the place of the will in connection with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But every move forward with God refers back again to your will. If you won’t change your will, God can give you nothing of himself. The will is everything. The cold obedience of the will is everything.
You know how desperate the world is. You know how desperate it is. Do you know how few of us — I mean this may be a sad thing to say — do you know how few of us here tonight may end up abroad for Jesus? It’s pathetic, if we really could see into 20 years hence. And you know what the reason is? The reason is that we have all kinds of realizations, and justifications, and rationalizations in our minds that will persuade us to be like Jonah. [Old Testament prophet whom God called to go and preach to the city of Nineveh, but went somewhere else instead.] Really! We’ll have all kinds of feelings inside our emotions for moms and dads, for loved ones, for friends — in Ireland for the mountains and the ocean, in America for the plains and the lakes. We’ll have all kinds of emotional feelings that will be more important to us than simply connecting our wills directly up with our consciences.
I don’t know how you all feel about your wills, but I think on the whole in America our wills are like big flappy jellyfish. And I think many of us have no experience of exercising our wills. And the way we live is our body absolutely directs our minds. I feel thirsty: into the ice box grab the Coke. In fact, the mind is even hardly used in it. It’s just the body goes right in like that! It’s just right in. It hardly touches our souls. Once in a while the old mind may look and say, “Well, we have only one bottle left. Should we drink it?” But usually it doesn’t even have to do that; it just whips right in and out again.
Many of us are just like little animals, like little dogs. It’s just the body needs this, so the body gets it. Once in a while it gets through to the mind. Once in a while of course, it gets through to the emotions. And the body feels very, very hungry; the emotions are very, very depressed. And so the emotions say, “Oh yes body, you want to have a good meal to make yourself feel better.” But really, the ‘will’ is utterly repressed, and is virtually dead also, in most of our lives. So our spirits are dead, and our wills are dead. So for many of us it requires a good deal of ‘cold turkey’ [reference to symptoms of withdrawal from some addiction] to begin to get that will exercised again.
And loved ones, I would encourage you to do it, you know. I do believe that a lot of us suffer agonies in our life with God because we won’t exercise our wills. The will is king. The key to life with Jesus is “the will obeys the conscience!” “The will obeys the conscience!” All the
saints as they crawl down alleys with blood flowing from their wounds — all the saints, all the martyrs willed to do what God was telling them to do in their conscience. Every Martin Luther that nailed the “Ninety-Five Theses” to the door did it irrespective often of what the mind said — irrespective certainly, of what the emotions felt. They willed to obey their conscience.
And loved ones, the more you do that, the more you’ll find that not simply your will is strengthened, your spirit is strengthened by the Holy Spirit. So the will is king! It really is! Oh, if you tonight – I don’t know what it amounts to — well it comes up tonight. Tonight will you go up to the fellowship in the lounge, and will you ask Jesus, “Lord, will you enable me to be outgoing to somebody, to love somebody tonight, to be joyful with somebody tonight?” Or, what will happen? I wonder how many of us think, “Oh well, that’s alright, but I know what I’m going to do tonight. I don’t change. I had it all settled before I came to this service. I have that TV program that I want to go home to. And I may look young, but actually I’m ancient, and middle aged, and dull.” And that’s it! We get ourselves ground into habits and attitudes where the will, dear love it, it’s so flabby and fat, and so like a jellyfish that it couldn’t burst its way out of a paper bag if it had to.
And really, the key is to begin. The key is that you can, loved ones! You can exercise your will. You can ask – and again it’s foolish, I’m not asking you all to go up to the lounge. Don’t do that! That’s worse. That’s the other side of the thing where we all do what somebody else’s will tell us to do. Don’t do that.
But, be in a position where tonight, when you’re going to get up after the benediction, you are going to think and you’re going to ask Jesus, “Lord, what would you like me to do tonight?” And then you’re going to be strong enough, raw enough, crude enough, brawny enough, to make your will obey your conscience.
And really for many of us — I know it sounds funny. But for many of us it will be stepping into a new life. You’ll be amazed to find that you can control your thoughts. You can therefore, control your emotions because your emotions spring from your thoughts. And most of all, you can control your outward life.
And it’s the same tomorrow morning. Do you realize all that all of us will fight when – if you set the alarm — I don’t know if you pray every day. But if you set the alarm tonight for five AM in the morning, or six AM, do you know that all hell is bent against you getting up to pray? It is. And yet it’s all a lie! It’s all foolishness! The heaviness of the body disappears immediately you exercise your will. It does! The heaviness of the body is an extenuated heaviness brought on by the satanic spirit! So that it feels to you as though it’s a thousand tons, “No, I’ll just die if I get out of this bed at this moment! I’ll just die! I’ll fall apart in neurotic chaos!” You won’t! If you exercise that dear old will and get one foot out of that bed while the alarm is still ringing, actually you will not fall apart. You’ll be strong, and you will be able to pray. And so it will go on the rest of the day. But loved ones, it’s a different way to go you see.
And just one last little word: I think a lot of you say, “Oh well, I think the Lord wants me to do this.” What you mean is certain circumstances have fallen about that make it easier for you to do that than not to do it. And so you decide, “That’s the way of least resistance. Okay. And I think it’s the Lord, because he made that fall that way and that fall that way.” Or, “You feel a feeling that you feel you felt before.” And you have a feeling. And you feel… and you kind of feel, “Oh,
it would be nice to maybe speak to this person about Jesus. I feel like it.” And you do it.
Well, God can do nothing with that. Really! It was you who believed it. You may think, “Well, can’t he bring something?” No! No he can’t, because it isn’t obedience. It isn’t obedience! It’s just the ‘jellyfish’ has wobbled that way [Pastor gestures to the left.]. Wobbled over to the feelings today! Tomorrow is may wobble over to the mind! Tomorrow it may wobble over to circumstances. But the only thing actually that God can bless at all is the obedience of the will. That’s true!
And I would testify to you that I can tell you, you can get up on the stage with all kinds of things that you’ve just come through, all kinds of feelings that you’ve just come through, all kinds of situations out there looking at you. And if you were governed by those things, I don’t think you’d ever get up here. And the fact is that any of us who are being used by God at all, walk an awful lot of our way by raw will power! We do! We do an awful lot of things because we know it’s God’s will.
And actually, that’s the truth, just as in marriage, so with God. There’s only one real union and that’s the union of two wills. That’s a union. That’s a cord that cannot be broken. That is a kingdom against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. And that’s what God is after in each one of us.
So loved ones, we’ll go on talking about the will, but I would suggest that you start exercising it. Let us pray.
Dear Lord Jesus, we do sense that Calvary road had to be chosen deliberately. We do sense that it wasn’t something that you allowed yourself to be pushed into. It wasn’t something that you felt in your emotions would be a good thing to do. But Lord, we read that you set your face steadfastly towards Jerusalem. Lord Jesus, we’re grateful to you that you did. And we see that you’re calling to us and saying, “If any man wills to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” And Lord, we thank you that you are calling us to the same freedom as you have, the freedom of exercising our wills after you and after your Father’s will for our lives.
Lord, I do pray for my loved ones here, each dear man and woman here in this room. I pray especially for those who have never really exercised their wills much in their lives. I pray Lord, that you’ll bring home to them that that is the key to their service of you. There is only one way to be happy in Jesus, and that’s to trust and obey. Oh Lord, I pray that you will bring many of us tonight into the liberty of obeying with our wills, whatever we feel like; however bad we may be; however difficult the circumstances may be; that we will will ourselves to do what you tell us.
And then we thank you Lord, for the spiritual results that follow within. We thank you for the regeneration and the fullness of the Spirit that come from that.
Now the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with each one of us now and throughout this coming week. Amen.