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Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Stubborn Will

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,

because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 26:3 NIV

When God wants to make an adjustment in my character it is sometimes a painful process because I present such resistance. I tend to be a slow learner and a strong willed child of God, the result of my resistance to correction lengthens the process. Just so you know what that looks like, (and it’s not a pretty picture) here’s the scenario.

Maybe the adjustment I need is regarding my ability to forgive. First, I am ticked off that I have to deal with the situation in the first place. My first emotional breakdown is anger. Now I have to deal not only with forgiving but I must add anger to the list! When I calm myself down I begin to bargain with God. Let me just tell you, God does not bargain, so don’t bother! I suggest to God, (how could I be so presumptuous) that “I will do this God if you will do that.” I now must add control to my list of misdemeanors. When that attempt ends on a dead end street, I then throw a pity party. If you are keeping track of my negative emotions, here is another one for the list, self centeredness. When I recover from the pity party, I pick myself up and dust myself off and tell myself that God is not concerned about me or my problem. I have now fallen for one of Satan’s destructive lies! He has successfully planted the seed of doubt in my mind. I determine that I don’t need God’s help. I’ll be just fine without him. I am now knee deep in arrogance! You see sin breeds more sin!

After that temper tantrum and disrespect I wonder how it is that God could still love me. Fact is – he does! God overlooks that I have behaved like a spoiled child. God’s Holy Spirit now draws me back to himself. If I still resist, I may have to suffer additional brokenness until I can turn my heart back home. God will never force me to return to him, it is still my choice. In my desperation I come to my senses and run back to God. I fall before him like an old worn out and limp rag doll. I ask God for his forgiveness and he forgives. I surrender to him by relinquishing my control. Jesus then lifts me up and massages my heart so that his grace and mercy can be applied to my soul.

What I basically needed was an attitude adjustment. After a quiet, secluded walk in the woods I begin to realize that God may not change my situation, but God is most certainly able to help me want to change the way I think about my situation. This attitude adjustment is beneficial in developing my character. Daily choosing Jesus’ ways can be a struggle. Yet, God always uses this change in my behavior to influence others for Jesus. This is one way that the Father is glorified through my life even though I may be unaware he is working.

At this point it may appear to be over, but that is only partially true, because Satan hates it when I get back on track. His attacks will come in very subtle ways. That is why it is important for me to stay on guard and stay focused on God. It is important that I embrace God’s power and protection during this time of vulnerability.

Relinquishing my stubborn will is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. In my own strength I believe it is impossible. But God wants us to succeed in all of our efforts to become a better Christian, so he comes along side of us with this promise. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome…, because the one (the Holy Spirit) who is in you is greater than the one (Satan) who is in the world I John 4:4 NIV. I cannot do it alone but it is the Holy Spirit that enables all of us in our time of need.


Have you ever experienced this type of struggle between you and God?

Did or does your situation require your relinquishment of your control?

Did you find your way back home and experience God’s forgiveness?

How did God use that character adjustment for your good?


Dear God,

Today I praise you and worship you because you are a God who loves me even when I behave in a sinful manner. Please forgive me when I tenaciously cling to my own will. God, surrender and relinquishment are so hard, yet I am reminded that you willingly laid down your life for me so that I might have forgiveness from my sin and the hope of eternal life with you. Thank you God for all of the character adjustments that you are attempting to make in my life. Help me not to resist those changes but rather embrace them as a sign of your love for me.

In Your Son’s Name I pray. Amen.