by Zac Poonen
“I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me” (Jn. 6:38).
Jesus tells us here in His own words what He came on earth to do. And in this one sentence, we have a description of how Jesus lived every single day of His life on earth. The thirty years of Jesus’ life in Nazareth are referred to as hidden years. But here Jesus tells us what He did during every day of those 30 years: He denied His own will and did His Father’s will.
When Jesus was with the Father in heaven from eternity past, He never had to deny His own will, for His own will was the same as His Father’s. But when He came to earth in our flesh, that flesh had a self-will that was diametrically opposed to the Father’s will at every single point. The only way in which Jesus could do His Father’s will then was by denying His own self-will all the time. This was the cross that Jesus bore throughout His earthly life – the crucifixion of His own will – and which He now asks us to bear every day, if we are to follow Him.
The Role of Decisions in Spiritual Growth
It was the consistent denial of His own will that made Jesus a spiritual Man. And it is the constant denial of our self-will that will make us spiritual too. Every day we make decisions concerning various matters. We make decisions in relation to how we are going to spend our money or our spare time, or how to speak to, or about someone, or how to write a particular letter, or how to react to another’s behaviour, or how much time to spend in studying the Word or in prayer or in serving the church, etc. We react to the actions and words and behaviour of people around us from morning till night. We may not be realising it, but we make at least a hundred decisions every day – and in each of those decisions, we decide either to please ourselves or to please God.
Many of our actions are not the result of conscious decisions. But even then, we do them in one of these two ways – either seeking to please ourselves or to glorify God. Our unconscious actions are determined by the way we make our conscious decisions. Finally, it is the sum total of these decisions that determine whether we become spiritual or carnal.
Think of the millions of decisions that we have made ever since we were first converted. Those who have consciously and consistently chosen to deny their self-will many times each day and to do the will of God have become spiritual. On the other hand, those who have rejoiced merely in the forgiveness of their sins and who, therefore, chose to please themselves most of the time have remained carnal. Each person’s decisions have determined what he has finally become.
You are today as humble and as holy and as loving as you yourself have chosen to be through the thousands of decisions that you have made in the various situations of life in past years.
Spirituality is not something that comes through one encounter with God. It is the result of choosing the way of self-denial and of doing God’s will CONSISTENTLY day after day, week after week, and year after year.
Copyright © 2014 Zac Poonen
Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore
“Word for the Week”