A Matter of the Will

Do you ever wonder why doing the right thing can be so difficult? I have thought much about this. Why do I still sin? It is confusing to me that I can want to do the right thing, plan to do it, mean to do it, and yet turn around and do the wrong thing anyway. We have God’s Word that tells us right from wrong (not to mention a conscience that knows this inherently) and yet we all have such a strong tendency toward unrighteousness. Why is that? Of course we can attribute a lot of it to our sin nature, as Romans 5:12 tells us:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

Still, what kind of excuse is that? I sin because I’m a sinner and I’m a sinner because I sin. Wait… what?! Maybe we just don’t listen to our conscience, or rather the Holy Spirit working through it. Conscience is a very effective tool, the problems come when we suppress conscience in favor of our desires. The Bible speaks of us having the ability to sear our conscience:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” I Timothy 4:1-2

How does a person get to the point of having their conscience completely numbed? Little by little. We have to be so careful! How many times have I said to myself, “I didn’t even think before I said that.” Time and time again in the Old Testament, God admonishes his people to “remember the statutes and the judgments” that he had commanded them to keep… That is our part… we must remember. This is why it is so important for us to be consistent in reading the Bible and in prayer: to keep our focus on Christ and his work – the work he has for us.

Faithfulness is key. If we truly know the God we profess to believe in, we will have the desire to do his will out of both fear and love for him. Why? Because true faith always produces action. If you are not acting on your faith by doing the will of God then it is time to ask if you really have faith.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18

The only way to prove that you have faith is through works. Works cannot save you; Jesus did that… but if you truly believe in him you will strive to obey him! If you believe in anything you will act on that belief. If I believe in gravity, I’m not going to jump off the roof of my house because I know I’ll hit the ground! Why is our belief in God any different? Well, it isn’t.

 In a bookstore recently I came across a book titled “The Christian Atheist”. Now I’m not endorsing this book, I don’t remember who wrote it or anything else about it (other than this eye-catching title) but I had to stop a while in bewilderment. Did the author not understand the meaning of the word “Atheist”? It didn’t make sense until I read the subtitle which said something to the effect of “Believing in God but living as if he doesn’t exist.” Do I do that? Yes… every time I ignore God’s commands and do my own will, I am living as if he doesn’t exist; I am acting like a Christian Atheist or to put it the way the Bible does: a hypocrite… which isn’t “Christian” at all! The best way to mar the name of Christ is to sin while calling yourself a Christian. As the Latin phrase goes, “Corruptio optimi est pessima” – the best things, when corrupted, become the worst. I believe this is true. What could be worse than taking the best thing we have in this life–faith in God–and falsifying it through our sin? God has no part with hypocrisy; he compares this to being “lukewarm” and it is sickening to him.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

Am I saying that you can’t be a Christian if you sin? No… we all sin even as believers, and it is a lifelong battle between the spirit and the flesh. Let’s go back to the original question, “Why do I still sin?” It really isn’t as difficult a question as we make it. I still sin because I allow it! The world doesn’t make me, Satan doesn’t make me, not my family, not my friends but me. It is always my decision. It is just a lie to tell myself that I have no control over my actions. My grandfather has a sign up in his office that says something like “You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control your reaction to them.” And that’s true, God created each individual with their own will. He created us to have the ability to choose the path we want to take. He wants us to get to the point where we truly desire to do his will, not because we have to but because we want to.

To sum it up, this is your decision. You have to deliberately choose to do the right thing not just once but constantly and consistently. Godliness doesn’t just happen, it takes a lot of hard work! We must stay in God’s Word, we must pray and beg God to lead us to true and unswerving faithfulness. Oh, that we would always trust God’s leading in our lives instead of relying on feelings, that we could get a true sense of our responsibility to model real Christianity to unbelievers! How different this world would be if all who claim faith in Christ would act on that faith and stop living their lives as if God did not exist. May we each feel the weight of our own decisions, may we get up every morning and say, “Yes Lord, I will honor you today!”

– Ashley

Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One thought on “A Matter of the Will

  1. Very well written and said, spoke to my heart, thank you Lord for your forgiving heart! Rev 3 should be a warning to all who claim they believe. God knows our true intentions and heart. Francis Chan has a couple of videos that where posted on youtube about this very problem ,”Fighting Hypocrisy in the Church” and an interview “Are lukewarm christians saved?”. Both are only 2 to 4 minutes long and are very good as well. He has a book thats been out for a little while now called “Crazy Love” and it is very good. I’m a reader that has to push myself to read and this I can say, was my second book I have read cover to cover. Not a toot for most but it is for me. My wife is especially proud of me, squirrel! Where was I, Oh, we are going to use it in our Sunday school classroom as a book club read and cover it in that format. Enjoyed your singing at our Homecoming at Belvue Christian thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *