Willpower – August 2, 2020
Thy will be done.
France entered WWI relying upon something they called élan. We would call it the fighting spirit. It boils down to willpower.
France wasn’t much concerned about defensive strategy before that war. It ignored the advancements in weaponry. The leaders felt what was inside the soldier counted most. With bands playing to arouse a fighting spirit, it sent out troops marching in straight lines across open fields with fixed bayonets. Willpower would win the day!
As it turned out, however; élan did not stand up well in front of a new weapon called the machine gun.
We surely will not deny that willpower is important. It sometimes makes the difference between success and failure. We rightly pay attention to morale and motivation. But desire and determination can carry a person only so far.
A small boy’s muscles will not lift his dad’s heavy weights. Fierce determination does not guarantee selection to an elite military unit. Sometimes, where there is a will does not mean there will be a way. A fighting spirit will not stop a bullet.
Willpower is effective only to the extent that there is actual power behind the will.
The will to live is basic and powerful. We see it in nature. Most babies are born with it. We spent our lifetime fighting to stay alive. We see death as our enemy.
It can be frightening to realize that no matter how enthusiastically we march forward in life, the enemy is waiting to mow us down. Our fighting spirit, our willpower, is not enough to save our lives. We do not have the power to defeat death.
But our God does.
He is the source of all life. He intervened into our miserable existence in order to wipe out death for us and neutralize its allies.
The One who taught his disciples to pray “Your will be done” is the same One who is called the Mighty God.”
God’s will packs a punch.
He wanted to make an entire universe out of nothing. So, he did. He wanted some lifeforms that would serve him of their own free will. So, he created angels and humans. He wanted to throw rebellious angels out of heaven and consign them to the pit of pain. So, he did.
He wanted to rescue rebellious humans from being banished and punished with the demons.
So, he sent his Son to take the punishment for the human rebels.
With the holy, omnipotent God, where there is his will, he makes a way—his way. That way is always good; always brings blessings; and often exceeds what humans can do.
How strange, then, that we would be afraid of what he might want for us.
Do we think we know better? Do we suspect he lies when he says he loves us? Do we believe that heartache, tragedy, and disease can operate outside the boundaries of his reign of power? Will they not accomplish the good that he wants for us?
Will we not trust him?
It takes faith to mean the words when we pray, “Thy will be done!”
But we should do so without doubt or fear. Jesus did.
The will of God is good and gracious. We could receive nothing better. We could ask for nothing more.
We need his powerful will to be carried out in our lives.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you taught us that special prayer. You accepted your Father’s will even though it brought you pain and death. You knew that your Father willed our redemption. You knew its price. But you wanted it, too. Accept now our words of thanks, and send the Holy Spirit to renew our faith so that we will always want what our Savior God wants. Thy will be done! Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.