KEY SCRIPTURE John 5:30
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
To judge or not to judge, that is the question! Modifying this line from Shakespeare brings us to a point in our key scripture. How do we keep making great decisions—great judgments?
From where do most of our successful decisions come? By following the advice found in scripture. What about our poor decisions—those which get us into trouble time and time again? Where we listen to our own advice without engaging God or His people.
Jesus was so committed to His Father that all His decisions emanated from God. If only our love for God was so absorbing that all our choices were based on Biblical tenets. But they're not, are they? We run ahead or off course, using our own will, and paying the heavy penalties. Though our upcoming mistakes often forewarn us like oncoming headlights on a dark night, they don't stop us. They don't seem as bad because our dark glasses of pride and presumption minimise the absurdity. Despite the Lord's Stop and Detour signs being everywhere, we still plunge into that canyon of stupidity.
The secret to better outcomes is in the last part of the sentence. "my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father."
When we're 'right', we dismiss wiser advice. We're heading for the cliff edge of our own pride, not for glory, but to plunge unrighteously into the ravine and become the consequential wreckage. We let nothing stand in our way, not even the Lord's Will. Nobody can stop us, and nobody does. Then, after the mess, we head back to the roundabout of fools to do the same thing again later.
How do we stop that?
Like many of the prophets and heroes of faith, Jesus didn't seek His own will. There was no pride, which enabled Him to heed God's advice. Heeding isn't simply listening. The action is where the advice shines true.
Had Jesus sought His own will, His ministry would have collapsed. Not one miracle would have come forth, no healings, fewer followers, and much less wisdom would have been the result.
Some of our efforts collapse because we seek and do our own will—we use our own wisdom. Our lives and relationships are in turmoil because we're 'right'. We crash through God's scriptural wisdom—His Stop and Detour signs— because they challenge our rightness or ego. They threaten our presumption.
Jesus didn't want to be 'right'. He desired to bring to life the will of His Father, not His own will. This humility is what made Him successful.
When Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing", he meant nothing successful would happen in His ministry or spiritual life if He didn't listen to the will of His Father. Our pride leads to complacency and ignorance and retards or eliminates our success.
Believers, the world would have us think we're our own person. God disagrees. We are not here to do our own will, run ahead of the Lord, or bypass scripture. We're here to lift up our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and follow His Father's will as He did. Our lives track properly when we surrender to God's will as we agreed to upon Salvation.
Dear Lord, I see where I have not used your wisdom, and it has cost me. Please help me and my spiritual family pay greater attention to your advice, and do your will. Turn me from my presumption.
Photo by Jamie Hagan