Do Not Depart is pleased to welcome Mary Beth from New Life Steward as our guest today…
At at 3:37 AM I stumbled into bed after rocking my toddler back to sleep. I turned my alarm off—thinking my husband’s alarm would do the job so I could squeeze in Bible study and a shower before my son woke up.
Before I knew it, I had overslept—no time for Bible study or a shower now. I hastily dressed my son for Mother’s Day Out—thinking I’ll fit in some Bible study after I see my one client for the morning.
But then I get a text from another client asking for an emergency session, and I remember I’m supposed to clean the bathrooms today. So I spend 3/4 of my free morning in counseling sessions with clients and the other 1/4 cleaning bathrooms and showering.
Still no Bible study.
The day continues to roll on, and before I know it, I’m crawling into bed when I remember—I never did my Bible study.
So I make the choice to set my alarm and try again tomorrow.
It all starts with a choice.
On mornings that I manage to roll out of bed, I’ve usually got about 5 minutes to pray, 5 minutes to study my lesson, and 5 minutes to work on my memorization. That’s 15 minutes total. If any one part goes over, I probably don’t get to the rest.
But it all starts with a choice. Will I get out of bed?
Every person is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Many theologians agree that part of this “likeness” or “image” involves man’s reason, emotions, and will. These abilities separate us from the rest of creation and reflect God’s likeness. Focusing in on man’s will, we have the ability to determine–to choose.
Let’s apply this to the current choice before me: will I get out of bed?
When I sit back and take stock of my life, I have time for what I want to have time for. There’s always time to eat. Time to watch a TV show. Time to write. Time to read. Time to play with my son. Time to connect with my husband after the baby is asleep.
I make choices that create time for these activities.
The same is true of the spiritual disciplines. I make choices to either make time for them or not. Lately, the choice for me has been to set and heed the alarm when it goes off or not. Getting out of bed reflects a choice to prioritize Bible study. But more often than not, I choose to ignore my alarm.
That’s the problem with sin. We are predisposed to choose ourselves, our own wants and desires. Left to my own devices, I will choose sleep over an early morning Bible study every time. Even Paul struggled with this (Rom. 7:15 and following)! When I am in charge of my will, I will always choose my own selfish way.
Freedom comes from believing the truth.
Thankfully, we have a God who reached down to us and intervened in our sinful lives through Christ (Phil 2:5-7). He draws us to repentance with His kindness (Rom. 2:4). Through grace, His Spirit stirs in our hearts and causes us to long for God’s Word (Eph. 2:8-9). When the Lord is in charge of my will, I’m drawn into deeper relationship with Him.
This is such a freeing truth to realize. I do not have to muster up enough inner strength to get up when that alarm goes off. In fact, I am wholly unable to do this on my own. I can rest and ask the Lord to draw me to Himself with His Spirit. Then my will slowly conforms to His, and I want to get up to study His Word. The actions come naturally because the Holy Spirit is sanctifying me–slowly molding me into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). The glory belongs to the Lord because it’s His work in me.
I have a choice, but when I submit my will to the will of the Father, His strength enables me to follow His will in my choosing.
What is influencing your will–yourself, the culture, or the Holy Spirit and Scripture?
My first love is Jesus Christ followed quickly by my husband and my son. I am now a stay at home mom, writer, and blogger. My career was first in teaching and then in Marriage and Family Counseling. Living in a small, Southern town in Mississippi, we enjoy SEC football, walking around barefoot, and playing outside. A day to myself would be spent napping, blogging, and reading with a bit of reality TV mixed in! You can find me blogging at New Life Steward, Facebook and Twitter!
Photo Credit: Jenni C.