In order to learn the art of overcoming we’ll have to become familiar with these three little words, “not my will.” This isn’t popular in society because we’re taught to look out for No. 1. I mean, if we’re not looking out for No. 1 then who is right? Let me save you the heartache of fighting the fruitless battle of “having things our way” when we serve a loving Father who holds our best interests in the palm of His hand.
While Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, knowing He was headed to the Cross and all it would entail, He began physically sweating drops of blood. This is a rare condition known as hematridosis that can occur during times of extreme stress. We know from the Scripture that Jesus was 100 percent God—Colossians 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God.” This is one of many scriptures that reference Jesus as God. But we also know that He was 100 percent man—John 1:14 “…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” It was Jesus the man who was sweating drops of blood (Luke 22:44). He had to have faith that He was walking in the will of the Father—just like we do. I’ve heard many messages preached on the different reasons Jesus was under duress, but the bottom line is He was in anguish over what was ahead. I believe we have all felt this way at least once (minus the blood droplets). But what happens next is in my opinion the most valuable lesson Jesus ever taught. He prayed this, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) In His humanity, Jesus laid down His will for the will of the Father. Because of the selfish nature of the human condition (for everyone other than Jesus), this could possibly be the most contrary statement ever made. But it will be the one that enables us to overcome every battle we face.
One morning on my ride in to work I was taking the time to pray (since this was about the only quiet time in my day with six children in the household). After presenting my laundry list to the Lord, I felt a little guilty asking for so much and decided to add, “yet not my will Lord, but yours be done.” I immediately felt a strong presence of God and thought to myself, “Awww… He liked that.” Little did I know that those words were about to mean the difference between my success or total defeat. Within hours I received news that would radically alter my life forever. I was told that my husband and four youngest children had not survived a horrible car accident. This news brought a pain so deep I felt it would be easier to die than to live. But this was not the will of the Father—no matter how horrible I felt—and I knew it.
It was not the will of God for my family to die a tragic death. We live in a fallen world and there is a very real enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) However, it was the will of God for me to live an abundant life (John 10:10 also), regardless of the nightmare I had stepped into. Jesus gave His life on the Cross for us to live in His abundance, which includes peace of mind, joy, and rest in the midst of difficulties and hardships. Each day as I chose to lay my will down for His, I received peace, freedom, and healing in my heart and mind. Ultimately, in Christ, I recovered fully.
My hope for us all is to follow the example of Jesus in the Garden. “Father, I may not feel good about life right now, but I know you sent your Son so I could live happy, healthy and prosperous. (3 John 1:2) Today, I lay down my will and choose to receive your perfect will.” I can tell you with complete assurance that choosing this path is the beginning of overcoming in every defeated area. This is the very reason He came, but the choice is ultimately ours.