By Basilea Schlink
Only one will can rule, only one will can make the final decision. Either the will of our Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth, which is also revealed to us through the will of our neighbour, or our will. There is no greater example of presumptuousness than when a person, who himself is but a mere creature, seeks to assert his will against the will of his Creator. It is also presumptuousness, when we think that our will, our decisions, our views, our taste are better than those of our fellow men. We are indeed greatly presumptuous, if we insist upon having everything done the way we think it ought to be done. Thus we tell everyone around us that we are the ones to decide everything. Self-will is the expression of great pride, the opposite of humility, which lets us yield our wills to someone else's.
Self-willed people are hard to live with; they ruin community life. On the other hand, people whose wills are at one with God and man are bringers of peace and joy. Self-willed people idolize their own will. They rebel against the will of God and thereby are guilty of witchcraft for "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft" (1 Sam. 15: 23). We cannot take the sin of self-will too seriously. Not only does it continually make us sin against our fellow-men, whom we torment when we insist upon having our own way, but it also separates us from God. When we act according to our self-will, we act against the will of God, including the instances where the will of God comes to us through other people.
The Holy Scriptures say that the self-willed are among the cursed children of the last days who will come under God's judgment (2 Pet. 2: 10). That is why we have to get rid of this sin no matter how high the price. There is one small word that will help us fight against this spreading cancer of self-will, which causes so much strife and discord and even ruins many a peaceful fellowship. This one small word is "Yes"; Yes to the will of God. This word has wonderful power. Jesus said it in Gethsemane, at the time when it probably cost Him more than ever before to surrender His will to the Father's. He overcame the trial with just a few words, "My Father, not as I will but as thou wilt" (Matt. 26: 39). Jesus said Yes to God's will ,when it was so incomprehensible to Him. Thus He redeemed us to say Yes to the will of God. This we may claim in faith.
Let us keep the picture of Jesus always in our hearts-Jesus, who yielded like a lamb to the will of the Father. Let the beauty of a will completely yielded to God captivate our hearts and let our prayers become serious, "Thy likeness print on me, Jesus, my Master." The Lord will answer our pleas more and more. Jesus not only surrendered to the will of His Father, but He also let Himself be bound to our malicious wills. Thus He can free us from the bonds of our self-will. Because He let Himself be bound, and surrendered His life on the cross, our chains have to be broken. Day by day claim the promises of God in prayer: "He shatters the doors of bronze, and cuts in two the bars of iron" (Ps. 107: 16). If our self-will is also like iron and we think we will never be able to overcome it, we must continue to count upon this fact: When Jesus surrendered His will, He redeemed us so that we can do the same. We must not give up, but keep fighting the battle of faith. It will end in victory.
We should surrender our wills many times a day to God, beginning every morning by expecting God to let things go against our wills during the course of the day. We must ask Him to grant us the grace to say "Yes"-unless someone demands something against our consciences. By voluntarily deciding to obey someone whom we live or work with, we will learn to break our self-will through his instructions. If we give thanks for all the opportunities we have to let our wills be broken through conditions and situations, we shall make the most of them by always humbling ourselves and asking for forgiveness when our first reaction was displeasure or rebellion. If we admit our sin of self-will to people and humble ourselves, our pride will be broken. If we learn how to join the Lamb of God in saying "Yes, Father, I love Your will", our self-will will no longer receive any nourishment, and will starve to death. In this way our wills will be at one with God's will and this unity will bring us deep joy.
The battle against sin is a necessity, because we have an enemy who incites us to sin. The battle of faith, calling upon the name of Jesus and His blood, frees us from the power of this enemy.
Set me free from my self-will, which is enslaving
me. Burst the chains of my ego. You have borne
these chains for me and surrendered Your will to the
Father's when He asked You to suffer. I believe that
You have redeemed me and that You have put all
self-will under Your feet so that it can no longer
reign over me.
In remembrance of how much it cost You to yield
Your will in the Garden of Gethsemane, let this be
my response: "Not my will, but Thine be done!"
Cross my will, over and over again; take away the
power and tenacity which it usually uses to assert
itself. Let me hear the will of God so that I may be
like a downy feather in His hand, which He can
blow whither He will, and which He can rule with
His will to the glory of Your redemption, which
has set me free from bondage to my own will.