Then [Jesus] said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
My mother always encouraged me “You can do anything you put your mind to.” I’ve heard it thousands of times and it only took 49 years but I finally and truly believe her. The human spirit is remarkable. It can survive and overcome some of the most unthinkable assaults. It’s what gives us the drive to better ourselves, to stand up against injustice or succeed in our ambitions.
This same enduring human spirit is what tore us apart from God and what gets in the way in our relationship with him. We struggle in desiring our will over God’s perfect will. We want one thing while God’s will quietly demands something else. Bending our will to his never seems easy. Sometimes it feels as if we are bending so far we will break. Maybe we will and that’s okay because I’ve seen God work wonders with brokenness.
The problem however isn’t really the human spirit but rather what we desire. We say we want God’s will to be done here on earth as in heaven, but do we really? Honestly? What is it we desire? To the core of our being, do we desire God’s will above our own? If I’m being honest, the answer is no. I don’t. I want what I want when I want it. And like a two year old, sometimes I tell God so. That’s where God’s grace comes in and mops up the mess, bringing me back into pristine relationship with him.
So when my desires conflict with God’s will (which is almost constant) I can take courage in the fact that, like my mother always says, I can do anything I put my mind to. I can make the decision that even though I crave my own desires, I can choose his will over mine. I can deny my own longings in obedience to his will because he has freed me to do so.