"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."
"Come now, let us settle the matter,"
says the Lord.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword."
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
In today’s Scripture readings, take notice of the word “willing” and of the phrase “but you would have none of it.” One of the biggest obstacles to listening to God and obeying Him is unwillingness of spirit and a refusal to submit our own ways, knowledge, and control to God’s. Just as we began the week by solidifying the “givens” and “tools” needed to listen and obey, I thought we should end the week by remembering the necessity of being willing and [don’t shudder] submissive.
We must be willing to listen, and then we must be willing to obey. We must be willing to accept God’s authority in our lives over our own knowledge and our own ideas of how things should go. This is never more difficult then when circumstances in our lives are going the exact opposite of the way we want them to go!
God gives us promises in His word both of what to expect here on earth and what to expect in the future. What we do with His words depends on whether we have an unwilling or willing spirit. In our culture we will describe people (grown or small) as strong-willed when they are hardheaded, stubborn, persistent, and at times, down right difficult. It sounds nicer to say strong-willed I suppose. The truth is, most adult Christians I know are strong-willed in how they related to God – even the most mild mannered of them! Why? Because most of us still want to hold on to some control of some part of our lives rather than fully submit all areas of our lives to God. We hold back love or compassion from those who are hard to love, we hold back trust from God because we’ve never been able to trust anyone, we hold back certain areas of our lives like our sexual purity or finances because they are “personal”. Part of being a Christ-follower is being submissive to the authority and therefore the voice of God. We must have a willing spirit to accept the word God offers and a submissive spirit that is willing to obey. Otherwise, the balance of power is skewed and peaceful relationship and interaction with God becomes much more difficult and tumultuous not at His doing, but because of our strong wills – because at times “[we will] have none of it.”
- Where do you find unwillingness in you to obey or in what areas do you find an unwillingness to surrender them to God?
- Does the word submission imply weakness to you? Ask God to help you redefine submission according to His purpose.
- What has God said that you need to obey this week?
Pray the following passage into your life to end this week:
From Ephesians 3:14-19
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”