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1 John 5





 

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Have you ever read the book “The Strong-Willed Child” by Dr. James Dobson? I remember hearing about this book long before I had children and I also remember desperately seeking it out when I was graced with a strong-willed kiddo of my own. I dove into the book expecting to learn all about my “difficult child” and how to be the best parent I could be during the difficult moments, which I did. However, I also unexpectedly learned far more about ME.


Clearly being an adult at this point in my life, I could clearly see that I was definitely a strong willed kid. I tease my parents all of the time that the Lord just used me to help build their endurance, determination, and character but in reality we all know I was nothing short of difficult on many occasions. I had my own agenda, my own thoughts, my own plans, and I was determined to make it happen - with or without the support and approval of my parents.


However, while reading this book and the characteristics of a child who is strong willed I had the realization that I wasn’t just a strong willed CHILD - I was, and am, a strong willed ADULT!


Want me to do something? Well you better not tell me I HAVE to cause just like a toddler I’m gonna dig in my heels and refuse. But give me the OPTION and I’ll almost always jump in and be the greatest support I can be.


Thankfully, all of these years later, the Lord has taught me how to keep my toddler tendencies at bay; however, it is also the first “sign”, if you will, that I see creep up in my life when I begin to become over confident in my abilities and my plans and begin to take my eyes and focus off of Him and His.


That strong willed nature is exactly what came to mind when reading 1 John 5:1-2. It says:

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commands.”


We all know the Lord has given all of us FREE will, or the freedom to choose how we live our lives, but too many times I think we confuse our free will with our strong will! We can be deceived into thinking that what we FEEL the strongest must be what we are most meant to be, or do, or say. However, verse 2 tells us something very different. It says that others will know that we love the Lord when we “obey His commands.” You’ll notice it says HIS commands and not YOUR desires. Joshua 24:15 echoes this truth in saying:


“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”


Friends, this grace, freedom, and hope filled life we have available to us in Jesus all hinges on one thing - choices. A choice to believe in Him. A choice to receive Him into your heart as savior. A choice to surrender your life to Him as Lord. A daily and sometimes hourly or even minute by minute choice to obey HIS commands rather than follow YOUR feelings.


There’s a song by Jason Upton called “In the Silence” that regularly plays in my mind any time I am struggling to surrender my strong will to the Lord. The first verse says:


I'm tired of telling you you have me

When I know you really don't

I'm tired of telling you I'll follow

When I know I really won't


Those four simple lines serve as such a simple yet powerful reminder to me that it is up to me to choose! The life the Lord has for me is readily available to me - all I have to do is choose to surrender, trust, and obey.


What will you choose today? Will you choose joy in Him amidst the struggle within you? Will you choose hope in HIs promise even in the waiting? Will you choose obedience over worry, doubt, and fear? No matter the decision you are facing currently, the choice is yours! But I can speak from experience when I say that we cannot live fully surrendered to HIS will until we have stopped clinging so strongly to our own.


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