Willingess vs. Willfulness

Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™  I AM Ministries

“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”

Normal I AM

Monday, November 21, 2016

Willingness vs. Willfulness

Many times people speak words that unintentionally confuse or distract from the intended message. We’ve experienced how inappropriate phrasing may offend a person. Our assessment is often that it wasn’t what was said, but how it was said. The same thing applies to our questions as to our statements – they should be constructed carefully in order to show respect to those we petition. This is especially true when we ask things of God.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to “ask, seek, and knock” (Matthew 7:7-8). How, then, do we know what words to use in our petitions so we are not offensive in our requests? A good example is given in Matthew Chapter 14, when Peter poses a question to Jesus as He approaches the disciple’s boat, walking on the water.

“LORD, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28). Peter’s intentions were good, as he showed great courage and affection for his Master by asking Jesus to bid him to come to Him. Boldness was Peter’s most prominent grace, yet here he also exhibited his love by calling out to Jesus. There was likely also a bit of impatience and urgency, desiring Christ’s help after spending a frightening time on the rough water in a very fragile craft.

To Peter’s credit, he phrased his question with respect. He did not ask Jesus to “tell me to walk on the water”, thereby implying he wished a miracle for a miracle’s sake. Instead, he asked Jesus to tell him to come to Him. Peter wanted Jesus to ask him to come only if Jesus desired it to be so. Peter was willing to go to Jesus, no matter how, but his first concern was that he would remain in Christ’s will.

How ironic – bold Peter actually demonstrates a bit of caution as he requests to do something quite dangerous in an already frightening situation. Peter, despite his fear and distress in the situation, observed the will of Jesus Christ and would not go to Him unless he had been called. This teaches us that even the boldest spirits must wait for Christ’s call to hazardous activities and we must not jump the gun by engaging in such situations rashly or presumptuously. Peter, as we recall, violates this rule egregiously in the Garden of Gethsemane by slicing off the ear of a Roman soldier (John 18:10).

Peter’s reward was Jesus’ call. Jesus told him “Come”, and Peter obeyed, becoming the only other human to walk on water besides Jesus, our LORD. Jesus rewarded the one who had faith and asked the question in the proper way. None of the other disciples was thus rewarded. When the Pharisees asked for a sign (Matthew 12:38-40, 16:1-4), Jesus refused them as well, since their requests to Jesus were the results of impure motives.

Christ’s answers to our requests are subject to will on both sides. First, they are subject to being in Christ’s will. It is normal for us to express our desire to Him that whatever He would grant would be in His will, not ours. Second, it is normal for us to be willing to do whatever Jesus calls us to do. Jesus called Peter to come and Peter obeyed, despite an obvious and present danger. We must always be normal and respond with obedience when Christ calls us. Finally, we must not put our own will above the will of our LORD and strike out on our own if He does not call us to “Come”.

Peter gives us a wonderful demonstration of how we should structure our requests and petitions to God. Part of God’s answer will be in how we ask rather than in what we ask for. Part of God’s response will be whether we are asking out of selfish desires for our own will versus faithful desires for His will. If we succeed in honoring these two normal aspects, God may grant us what we ask for, provided it is in His will and perfect timing.

Ask, seek, and knock. Be bold in your requests and your expressions of faith, but be normal and be respectful of God’s will. His answer is always normal and good and He smiles on those who come to Him in honor and respect of His majesty.

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ

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