CS Lewis is one of my favorite authors and yesterday I posted this quote on FaceBook.
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to who God say, in the end, “Thy will be done.” CS Lewis
I originally though he was extolling the virtues of people with initiative, but the comments I got back on Face Book indicated that most people thought he was talking about rebellion. I removed the post and admitted that the readers were probably right about what Lewis actually intended.
Throughout history, God’s will has been contrasted with the will of man as though they never intersect. I want to suggest that’s just false theology. It is true that we go through a growth process and our will is sometimes broken by failure and getting out of His will. We all come to a place of surrender and putting the Kingdom first. We just don’t camp there in our brokenness. God writes his plan in our hearts. He’s designed us from the beginning with unique talents, personality, and assignments in the Kingdom. To be a King is to finally volunteer and choose to follow those desires. The concept that we can try to sacrificially live in the will of God and work against the desires of our own hearts for a life time just isn’t Biblical and it doesn’t work… working in opposition to our hearts does define religion, dead works and lifeless servants. Working in harmony with your heart results in motivation, vitality, fruit, productivity, and ministry. You’ve been invited to a party!
How Kingdom works – Here’s the new! We all come to a place in our walk when God stops telling us what to do and starts inviting us into our hearts – He lives there! He waits for us to volunteer, or more accurately, take initiative. Prayer, at this stage of maturity, can feel like the dial tone if we expect lots of directions. Because of our theological baggage, it’s hard to trust our heart and step out of the boat and pursue those desires. If we decide not to… we simply remain unfulfilled servants, either doing nothing, or working for someone else who is willing to take initiative. A mature relationship with Jesus includes obedience, but it is much more centered on a relationship where we talk to the Lord about our desires and His desires and get excited about finding where they overlap. If you asked a wife if she loved her husband and she responded by saying how much she obeyed him… wouldn’t that strike you as a little odd? Relationship implies that we delight in our half of the initiative.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4 NIV
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Ps 51:16-18 NIV
During trials – Of course everyone gets tested in this relational dimension of taking initiative. The enemy fights against it and God wants to deepen it. When we say yes to moving from passivity into the Kingdom, you can expect to fasten your seat belt. It’s part of walking with Jesus.
They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Acts 14:21-22 NIV
So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. Ex 1:11-13 NIV
During Plenty – Life is not all hardship and testing. The normal Christian life is about victories and setting captives free. The essence of Jesus’ message was liberating and empowering. He wants us to calm the seas, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and change the world. He wants to work through His people to accomplish great things and see the Kingdom established on earth. It doesn’t happen through sacrifice and obedience as much as relationship and following your heart. The result is that we’re here to play a role in establishing His Kingdom on earth right now. We’re choosing to put the Kingdom first because we see the wisdom and fruit of doing what the Father is doing. We’re not replacing Jesus’ power and anointing with human wisdom. But we are expressions of His power, grace, and wisdom because he dwells in our hearts and works through us… through the desires of our own hearts. It’s fun! We’re called to reign with him. We rule and reign over circumstances and set others free to do the same. We really are Kings and Priests. He really is the Kings of kings and Lord of lords.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Rev 5:10 NIV
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:32-33 NIV
Try it this way – There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and wait for something to happen, and those to whom God says, “Thy/Our will be done,” who, in the name of Jesus, do great exploits that reside in the depths of their own heart and resonate in the depths of the Fathers heart.
…it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:10-14 NIV