God’s Will • Devotion #4: God’s Will or Mine?
Kenny Hovis | Prison Ministry Director
For over 20 years, I have worked in youth ministry. There have been many different students in that time that I have watched mature both physically and mentally. I have watched as some of them have made some very bad choices that resulted in strained relationships with their parents and other family members. Sometimes it has resulted in children and parents being estranged for most of their adult lives. As a parent myself, I cannot imagine not having a relationship with my kids because of something they did or did not do.
I have been close with a number of the students I worked with, but there have been a few that have broken my heart. Kevin was one of these. He was a super personable kid and fun to be around. Anytime with Kevin was always spent laughing. Sometimes I laughed so much my ribs would hurt! But Kevin could not do anything other than what he wanted to do. He thought he could do whatever he wanted as long as it did not hurt anyone else. Tragically, I watched him burn his world to the ground many times making choices that separated him from friends and family. Him imposing his will ended up costing him a relationship with his parents, grandparents, and eventually his child. Kevin was abusing a gift from God: free will.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes time to address some areas that were a concern to Him. One of those areas was prayer. He even gives a prayer template in Matthew 6:9-13. It is most commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer.” One of the specific things in that template for prayer that He addresses is in verse 10. It is at the beginning of the prayer so it must be pretty important. Matthew 6:9-10 says, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth is it is in Heaven.” Jesus is telling the listeners that praying for God’s will in our lives should be priority number one. When we use our wisdom and discernment to make decisions, the results are not usually positive.
God did not create us to be robots. He created us to desire a relationship with Him, our Heavenly Father. We do have a free will that allows us to not listen to our Heavenly Father’s directions. In Jesus’ prayer template, He tells us to ask for God’s will to be done in our lives. This is the process of us dying to our natural tendency to grab the reins of our lives and submit to the supernatural steering of the Holy Spirit. When we fail to do this, it is to quite literally telling the All-Knowing Creator that we know better than He does how we should live our lives.
Our “free will” was not really free. It was paid for with the sacrifice God’s Son, Jesus, made on our behalf. That is why we now can have a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father. The freedom is in the choosing Who or what will influence us. It is the realization that left to our own choices, without the direction of the Holy Spirit, like my young friend, we will destroy and separate ourselves from a right Parent/child relationship with God.
Too many times I have done this in my life. Now, every day my prayer is, “Lord, Your will, not mine in all that I do!” Whose will are you acting on today?