My Will, God’s Will, and My Relationship with Him
When you take a dog into your house as a pet, you take time to train it properly. You teach it not to chew and tear things up. You potty-train it. You train it to obey you by sitting and laying down when it’s told to.
These things you are teaching the dog are to better the relationship you have with the dog. It’s very hard to have a relationship with a dog that misbehaves, and by training the dog, you come up with a list of things your dog needs to be able to do to have that relationship you want with them. This list of characteristics you are trying to get your dog to have are just things that make your dog better embody the characteristics of a human. Humans are potty-trained, humans don’t chew and tear things up, and humans can listen and obey basic commands when told what to do. When you simplify this thought, you are trying to teach your dog to be more like you so that you can have the relationship you intended to have with it.
In the same manner, God longs to have a relationship with us (Mark 16:16). Just like we don’t like a dog that is not potty-trained, tears things up, and other behaviors that are generally against the characteristics of a civilized human, God can’t have a relationship with those who do not embody his character. Because he loves us, he tells us exactly what it looks like to embody the character we need for that relationship in his word.
Longing to enter that relationship will help us shape the perspective that God’s laws are not restricting. In fact, they’re liberating. So often the bible is thought of as limitations God has set for his people. “The things that Christians can and cannot do.” In actuality, God’s plan for man sets him free.
In Jesus’s time, he used the analogy of a slave and a master, and so we often hear the term, “a slave to sin.” Matthew 6:24 talks about how it is impossible to serve two masters. That being true, we must view the way to enter that relationship with God as first understanding the necessity to become more like him. Just as we see an untrained dog, God sees man’s life cluttered with sin. And he desperately wants to have a relationship with them, but he first needs us to become more like him.
The very nature of a slave entails that slaves do not do their own will. They do the will of their master. In the case of being a slave to sin, we make ourselves our own master doing our own will. If we are a slave to Christ, we put aside the will of self and do the will of God. Paul and James both begin some of their letters with “A slave to God (or Christ),” and Paul would later go on to say in Romans 6:22-23 “we receive benefit resulting in sanctification and the outcome being eternal life.”
When Jesus prayed “not my will, but thine be done,” we can see a perfect demonstration of the end product of becoming more like God. Through the perfect submission, we can see the character of God that Jesus displayed for us. We can see the beautiful example of Jesus, though a man, being willing to have his will become one with God. (Hebrews 2:16-18 and Hebrews 3:1).
In reflection, looking to Jesus for the perfect example, do we find ourselves longing to be closer to God and his very nature found in his word? Could we say we’re a slave to Christ?
- Jarod Turquette