Analyzing the will of the soul
We all make our decisions through the faculty of the human will. We express our emotions as feelings, our mind tells us what we think, but our will expresses our desires. Therefore, in our search for spiritual growth, we must not neglect our will. The true and perfect salvation of God saves man’s will, which must harmonize itself with God’s will. Consequently, after receiving life, the believer must pay attention not only to his intuition, but also to his will.
The believer must exercise free will. Free will means being able to choose what you want. God did not make man a mechanical toy that he would manipulate. In Genesis 2:16, 17, God persuaded man to do certain things and prohibited him from doing other things, but never forced him to obey his will. In order for the believer to obey God, it is necessary for him to be willing to obey, because God never forces obedience.
Salvation and The Fall of man
Man’s fall brought great damage to human free will. Thus, the original fall of man was due to the rebellion of his will against God’s will and because of this, his present salvation is fulfilled with the restoration of his will to obey God’s will. At the moment of the new birth, man’s will is not yet united with God’s will, but his fallen will has been restored because of his acceptance of the Lord Jesus and his rejection of Satan, his ego and the world. To have a renewed will is much more vital than the renewal of other parts of the soul. The mind may be disoriented and the emotion may be out-of-order, but the will must not be in error. If it is, serious consequences will result since it is the very ego of man, and since it controls all of the other functions of the soul. As long as the will is wrong, God will not pass over it to work in our lives.
Any evil that we tolerate in our lives is at enmity with God. Our spiritual growth will be severely dwarfed if we are not willing to deny ourselves. Once our will is completely united with that of God, we will submit ourselves spontaneously and completely to Him.
Our union with the Lord has two steps: the union of life and the union of the will. We united with Him in life at the new birth when we receive His life. This is an internal union. It is also necessary, that we unite with Him externally, through our will. This union indicates that our will is one with God. These two unions are related and neither one is independent of the other.
If we do not offer unconditional submission and entire acceptance of God’s will, everything that we consider spiritual, whether it is holy feelings of joy or thoughts worthy of praise, nothing will be more than an exterior exhibition, even if it comes in the form of visions, dreams, voices, signs, zeal, works, activities and labor. Unless the believer is determined in his will to finish the race that God has placed before him, nothing else has any value. If we are truly united with God in will, we will cease every activity that originates within us. In this way, everything proceeds from God. He will not question the nature of anything that we initiate. He simply wants to know in whose strength we are working.
Many believers, although saved, are not completely submissive to God’s will. He then, will use various ways to lead them to obedience. One of these ways is His use of circumstances. God places His hand heavily upon His people so that they will no longer harden themselves against Him. In order to accomplish this, God permits many things to come upon us. If necessary, He will allow us to be sad, to groan and to suffer. Our will is excessively obstinate; it refuses to obey God unless severely disciplined. We must accept the need to submit ourselves to God, because He did not save us to follow our own will, but to follow His.
Two means become necessary in order for us to be united with God’s will. The first has to do with the subjection of our will to God and the second with the conquest of the life of our will. Strictly speaking, an obedient will and a harmonious will are much different. We can observe the obedient will of a servant by his ready execution of his Lord’s command. However, the child of God that knows the heart of his Father fulfills his duty with pleasure.
We can illustrate these two conditions of the will by referring to Lot’s wife, to the Israelites in the desert and to the prophet Balaam. When Lot’s wife left Sodom, when the Israelites departed from Egypt and when the prophet Balaam spoke a blessing over Israel, all acted in obedience to God’s will. All of these were men and women subjecting themselves to the Lord and none of them followed their own opinions. Even so, their internal tendencies were not harmonious with His will, therefore, each one of them ended up in failure. We frequently walk in the correct direction, but we conceal disharmony with God in our hearts. Because of this, eventually we will fail spiritually.
The path to victory
We have already established that God is not satisfied with anything less than our obedience to His will. We will now see how man’s will can be harmonized with that of God. The way to attain the peak of spirituality is to surrender the life of the soul to death. Since this is truly the “narrow way”, it is difficult because God’s will must be the pattern for each step. There is only one rule: make no provision for the ego. To the extent that we lose the life of the soul, by breaking its habits, tastes, desires and longings, we will no longer resist the Lord. It is lamentable that so many Christians have passed through this door and walked this path while others could have entered, but they did not patiently persevere. We can see that God’s greatest enemy is not Satan but man’s un-submissive will.