Will Power is No Power

Jeremiah 17

5 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Faith is not will power or us simply willing things into being.  Determination has nothing to do with faith.  Faith is not forcing things into what you want.  Faith is actively resting; actively resting in a undeserved promise. Resting in a undeserved promise given by a perfectly trustworthy person who stands to lose infinitely more than we can ever imagine.  Yet, His obligations are never forced upon Him.  What makes faith hard is that the promise is to good to be true and our sinful hearts can’t believe it. Faith is most strongest when it is big picture focused.  We tend to make faith situation based and minute by minute. We want faith as long as it comes with comfort and always how we want it. Plus, because we can’t do anything about it as well as the sense for being forces to receive “handouts”; we hate handouts.  But the only reason we hate handouts is because we believe our own hype. We are independent women and self made men.

This is us: 

A father is unloading his truck of these heavy boxes.  In these boxes there are things for his son.  These things have been promised to him and he can’t wait any longer.  The boy runs to the truck to grab what is owed to him.  His father stops him but the strong willed boy refuses to give in to the father’s instructions.  The boy sees the commands of his dad as an un-welcomed annoyance. When the boy thinks his dad is not looking he grabs the box.  He struggles to move it and he tries for hours.  Soon he becomes angry not at himself but at his father.  The boy’s dad stands by watching without stepping in to help but keeps an watchful eye.  When the boy stops for awhile he sees his dad grab one of the many boxes as if it was nothing.  The boy thinks to himself, “I’m just as strong as him, what makes him so special that I can’t do everything he does!”  He soon concludes that his dad doesn’t care about him and has done something to the boxes so he can’t get them himself.  He thinks about how unfair his dad is and that if he really loved him, his dad would tell him how to get the boxes himself.  On his dad’s next trip to the truck, the boy grabs one side of the box.  His father says “I don’t think you should do that, you are not strong enough to handle one corner trust me!”  The boy feels insulted at his dad’s suggestion of his weakness.  His father lets him try because his son is impeding progress.  It is at this moment of pressure that the differences in strength, power, intelligence, and purpose is revealed.  The son sees the father in a new light even though there has always been inclinations but now what was known is now known in a much more faceted way.  The son retreats not in defeat because it was revealed to him in love.  The son retreats in awe, reverence, love, gratitude, thanksgiving, and humility.  Now the son does not argue against his dad’s command of resting.  Now from the view of the son’s resting in his dad’s abilities, promises, mercy and love; things make more sense as it all washes over him.  The development or progress of the promises whether it comes a bit faster or not; it not his burden to bear.  Yes, he continues to fight the urge to step in but because from the position of rest he can see his dad fully.  His father is no longer a dictator but simply daddy.
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 
The child’s faith in daddy is so much sweeter when its guarded by humility.  When daddy calls us over to help it is not with boasting that we accept but with a “wow! you are letting me play a part?  I don’t care what the job is”.  But as long as we think we are more that what we are every call of God is beneath us and is an insult.  Every command of God is for someone else.  Every call to “wait” is beyond our comprehension.  No one understands, until dad’s deals out chastising.  No one can receive grace and faith and rest in them until we stop trying to do God’s job.  As long as we think we can God will not carry us over the hill.  Our pride kills the chivalry of Calvary and we can’t sing “How I Got Over”.  Pride kills everything and we need to stop trying to gain or maintain what is already ours in Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love (Ephesians 1:3-4, ESV)
We are hungry children guarding and hastily eating our food as if someone will take it anyway.  We never enjoy the meal before us.  We never savor the flavors nor appreciate the love that went into preparing it.  The cook turns to tell us slow down, it’s yours and there is much more.  Nothing you do will cause the chef to take back the plate once you are adopted.  Just stop the will power and faith in the finished work because you are saved and your sheer will to save yourself will never be enough.  The requirement is perfection and we can’t but Jesus has already done it.
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