The Call To Be Under His Will
The dichotomy between who we are, and who we desire to be in God, has existed since the fall (Romans 7:14-19). God spoke to Cain and tried to explain to him that “you will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master" (Genesis 4:7 NLT). Ever since Adam and Eve first sinned, there has been a continuous struggle in their children between an enemy within us that desires to dominate us, and the authority of God that is outside of us desiring to subdue the enemy within us.
We all know that there are certain qualities about each one of us that we do not like, as well as parts of us that are unlovable. Without Christ in us, there is no power to subdue the enemy that is within us (Romans 7:23-25). Therefore, the struggle is one of faith. Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). In other words, to be under God’s domain, or His dominion, or His dome, one must allow the King to reign within — such is what His Kingdom is all about. Paul describes his personal faith by stating that we should consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11). The word “consider” describes a faith experience. Also, “being alive unto God” requires experiencing and knowing God personally. When we know God, we have eternal life (John 17:3). John further declares that “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11 ESV).
Therefore, our battle is to allow Christ inside us each day, in order to subdue our natural enemy within. Paul tells us that if we do not exercise the faith needed for this submission to manifest, it is sin (Romans 14:23). Paul also uses military metaphors in stating that when Christ is allowed in, the weapons of our warfare are faith, prayer, and obedience to the Word, pulling down the strongholds in our lives (2 Corinthians 10:4). Our weapons in Christ cast down imaginations (human reason), and every high thing that exalts itself against God’s knowledge in us, even our own rationalizations (2 Corinthians 10:5). Ultimately all thoughts, perceptions, intentions, and rationalizations of the heart are brought under subjection to the obedience of Christ. Our actions reveal our thoughts. Therefore, we should not cling to thoughts that do not conform to the life of Christ.
As God warned Cain, so he warns us, that if we do not live out what we know is truth, we will become self-deceived, and our wrong thoughts will rationalize our faith away (James 1:22). Moreover, we will become double-minded, creating instability in all our ways (James 1:8). Therefore, becoming single-minded for Christ prevents instability of character amidst our trial-filled lives, while our single-minded focus allows entrance to the mind of Christ in us (Philippians 2:5).
The good news is that having been called according to His purpose, God’s promise to us is that He will work in all things for our good (Romans 8:28). There are many evil things that God has not willed (i.e., rape, divorce, disabilities, etc.). But God works in all of those things to bring good out of evil, turning them back for His glory! Paul states that God has revealed to us that the mystery of His will is that all things will come under Christ (Ephesians 1:9-12). God’s dispensation (or administration; or economy) means a “building up to the fullness of times” (verse 10). In other words, if we grant God permission by faith, He takes all our failures (whether we are responsible for them or not) and all the challenging issues in our lives (that were not for our good), and He works out all that which is bad in our lives and turns it around for good. God promises that ultimately all things in heaven and on earth will work out for good in Him (verse 10). Verse 11 states that He works out everything to conform to the purpose or counsel of His will. In other words, His will is that good works out for you under bad situations. And why? Because it is for His praise and His glory, in order that we become a living testimony for God (verse 12), a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), and His bride (Revelation 19:7-8).
Always remember that we must daily fight this battle of faith. Keeping with his military metaphor, Paul bids us to “endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life” (2 Timothy 2:3,4), because the soldier will want to please his enlisting officer [Christ].
Summing up what we have learned:
- We need to allow Christ to perform daily transformations in our lives by employing the weapons God has given us: faith, prayer, and the Word;
- In order to place ourselves under the “King’s dome” (kingdom), we must let go of all of our human reasoning that exalts itself against God. Herein is our daily battle of faith;
- Always remember that a connection to Christ is a connection to eternal life. “He who has the Son has [eternal] life” (1 John 5:12);
- Also remember that “everything” is not the result of God’s will; otherwise, we will wrongly attribute to God a lot of bad things;
- Rather, claim His promise that He works it out so that all things shall conform or be molded into His will (even the bad things);
- God has a predestined good will for all things; and
- When all things in heaven and earth are ultimately molded according to His will and good pleasure, it will be for the praise of His glory.
Unless noted otherwise, scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.