You hear the two-year-old kicking and screaming in the grocery store aisle. It’s the battle of the wills.
You watch as the eight-year-old pushes little green balls of nutrition around his plate, waiting for the peas to enter the lock-tight jaw. It’s the battle of the wills.
You stand-off against the fourteen-year-old much like an old, western duel on a dusty street in Laredo. It’s the battle of the wills.
The battle is often between child and parent. Have you outgrown the struggle, though? The facts are we constantly fight this battle for much of our lives, but it is not versus mom or dad anymore. When is the last time you heard a message and you knew things needed to change in your life? Maybe you quietly excused yourself from making the change, “I’m busy right now, but I’ll get around to it.” It’s the battle of the wills. Maybe you thought you heard wrong when conviction pricked your mind as you were reading God’s Word, “No, He couldn’t be talking to me!” It’s the battle of the wills.
What is the key to ending the fight?
In Mark 1:40-45, a leper flings his hopeless case at the feet of Jesus. He begs, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” A cursory reading through the story and you have a feel-good moment. Jesus heals the leper! “If only God would respond to my requests like that!” you think to yourself. Jesus looks at the leper, “I will; be thou clean.” Yet, within this exchange you will find two powerful truths which will end any battle of the will you have with God.
First, recognize God’s motivation. When Jesus looked at the leper, He was moved. God’s will is powerful. With the mere pronouncement of His will, planets were formed and stars flung into spiralled galaxies. With the power of His will, He can change the make-up of your life in one moment. Notice, though, every pronouncement of God in your life is wrapped in compassion. This was the same compassion Jesus taught in His parables. The king had compassion on the servant with the unpayable debt (Matthew 18:27). The Samaritan had compassion upon the unfortunate man (Luke 10:33). The father had compassion upon unpardonable son (Luke 15:20). Every act of God in your life, whether you sense it or not, is laced with the compassion of the Almighty. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
If we would only remember, what God allows in our life or what God asks of us is motivated by His compassion, there would be no struggle. If the child would only realize the parent’s intention is not to make his life miserable, rather, the decision is motivated by their desire for the child’s best. It is then the child could rationally accept the parent’s decision. However, the second truth is necessary and is the hang-up in our life. We must resign our will. As the leper fell at Jesus’ feet, we must fling ourselves at His feet.
The leper is a powerful statement because you and I are hopeless without God. Yet, God’s will is wrapped in compassion. The only thing standing between us and God’s ideal for us is our will. Kneeling our will at the feet of Christ becomes much easier once we remember He is “gracious and full of compassion” (Psalm 145:8).