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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 9, 2018

Where there's a will

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

"Where there's a will, there's a way", as the saying goes. In self-help books and in speeches given by motivational coaches there are variations on the saying, like "To will is to achieve" or "If you really will to do something, you will do it".

And although the saying applies in many cases, we all know that it is not an absolute. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, I would like to be independently wealthy, but that isn't going to happen, at least not in this life. :-) Some things just aren't possible, no matter how much we "will" them to be. We cannot alter our ancestry or change our genetic make-up, and someone who suffers from a chronic illness cannot simply dispense the limits the illness places on him by using willpower.

Things are different with God, though. He can do whatever He wills to do. In this regard, notice the interesting statement made by a leper to Jesus: "If You are willing, You can make me clean" (Mark 1:40). The leper seemed to realize that there was a different standard for Jesus concerning willpower. And Jesus' answer reflects that realization: "I am willing; be cleansed" (verse 41). The approach of the leper is also noteworthy. He doesn't demand or make a request. Instead, he just makes a statement and knows that his statement is true.

There is also the case of the man who had been lame for 38 years. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed. Instead of just answering with an enthusiastic "Yes, sir!", the lame man began to explain why that wasn't possible in his situation: "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me" (John 5:7). He wanted to be healed, but he focused on the obstacles preventing him from being healed. Jesus simply said: "Rise, take up your bed and walk" (verse 8).

The things that God wills for our life He can only do if we are also willing. God wants us to overcome sin. He can provide us the will and the power to do so: "It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). But God can only do that if it is also our will to do so.

How would we answer if Jesus were to ask us: "Do you want to overcome sin?" Would we be like the lame man and tell Jesus the reasons why we aren't able to do that? Or would we answer with an immediate and definite "Yes, sir!"?

So we can say: Where there's a will, there's also a way for God to enable us to achieve that will.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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