Fostering a Willing Spirit
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.”
God desires that we stay near to Him without being forced. He promises to teach, counsel, and guide us; He promises to watch over us and instruct us. As our part, He asks that we be willing. He asks that we be inclined to Him. He asks that we not be like stubborn beasts that have to be pushed and pulled, but rather like trusting sheep who follow their Shepherd unreservedly.
We all were once like sheep who had gone astray. We all can relate to the words the hymn writer sang, “Prone to wonder, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.” But when we first came to God in faith, He gave us a new heart. Ezekiel tells us He transplanted our heart of stone with one of flesh. We have a new nature and the Holy Spirit residing within us. We reciprocate God’s desire for fellowship with us. We have a soft heart toward Him and a willingness to be lead.
- James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Since we have a new heart, let us pursue an enthusiasm for walking near to the Lord. God wants to foster within us a heart that is submissive to Him without compulsion. He wants us to cheerfully, willingly love, follow,, and live for Him.
In light of all He’s done for us, this should be easy; we just need to be reminded from time to time.
- 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
- Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.”
- Romans 14:7-9 “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”
We are not our own. We have been purchased with Christ’s blood. He died for us so that we might live with Him. He wants us near to Him, following Him, listening to Him, obeying Him with a willing heart. Furthermore, the very God who desires these things of us has given us the means. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” Paul said in Galatians chapter 2. Christ lives in us, His Holy Spirit lives in us, to give us not only the desire, but the ability to do that which is pleasing to Him.