“My boy,” I answered, “there is no harm in being afraid. The only harm is in doing what Fear tells you. Fear is not your master! Laugh in his face and he will run away.” ― George MacDonald, quote from Lilith
“A free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse. There lies freedom indeed” — George MacDonald
The Bible tells us that with humility, comes wisdom. There is no hope for those who refuse to humble themselves and learn from others. And there is no hope for those who refuse to admit they have a problem and ask for help. There is much others can do for us and there is much we cannot do for ourselves—but only God has the power to truly set our wills free.
Unfortunately most will not seek God’s help. (Not in this life anyway. See here.) They will not trust and obey Jesus because they are afraid of what might happen if they do. They are afraid of what might happen if they start spending more time putting the needs of others before their own.
“If I don’t spend so much time looking after my own needs, who will?”1
We will only begin to be free when we start taking Jesus at his word that God will take care of us if we start doing what he says, and begin to put his words into practice.
“You doubt because you love truth.” ― Lilith
“Doubt may be a poor encouragement to do anything, but it is a bad reason for doing nothing.” ― Lilith
If you decide to trust and obey Jesus you will prove that he knew exactly what he was talking about. (Don’t be afraid. You won’t have to go against your conscience to do what he asks. Yes, at times it will be very hard, but your heart will be clean, and your will will be free. If you choose to do what Christ tells you you will know you are choosing to do what is right. You will know you are only doing what you know you ought to do.)
“Get up, and do something the master tells you, and so make yourself his disciple at once. Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because he said, Do it, or once abstained because he said, Do not. It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe in him, if you do not anything he tells you. What though you should succeed in persuading yourself that you are his disciple, if, after all, he says to you, “Why did you not do the things I told you? Depart from me; I do not know you!” You can begin at once to be a disciple of the Living One by obeying him in the first thing you can think of in which you are not obeying him. We must learn to obey him in everything, and so must begin somewhere: let it be at once, and in the very next thing that lies at the door of our conscience!”
“You can begin at once to be a disciple of the Living One by obeying him in the first thing you can think of in which you are not obeying him.”
Will you choose life?
“A man is as free as he chooses to make himself, never an atom freer.” ― George MacDonald, quote from Lilith
“But,” you say, “I can’t do what he says.” You certainly can’t without his help. But if you choose to trust him and ask for his help, you will find that he does help you and that you begin to overcome the weakness you find inside yourself.2
The stronger the faith, the stronger the will. How is faith in God expressed? Through obedience to Jesus. When the goal of your life is to bring glory to the God of the Bible, everything will begin to fall into place.
“Behaviour in pursuit of an unrecognised goal, does not feel like a choice” ~ Larry Crabb
Trust Jesus by taking him at his word that he will take care of you and start doing what he asks of you. Seek to bring glory to God in all your dealings and you will become freer and freer.
1. There is no greater joy, there is no higher form of self-service, than trusting and obeying Jesus. But this does not mean that we will not suffer hardship in this life. How The First Christians Suffered and Died for their Faith
2. “No man can do yet what he tells him aright--but are you trying? Obedience is not perfection, but trying. You count him a hard master, and will not stir. Do you suppose he ever gave a commandment knowing it was of no use for it could not be done? He tells us a thing knowing that we must do it, or be lost; that not his Father himself could save us but by getting us at length to do everything he commands, for not otherwise can we know life, can we learn the holy secret of divine being. He knows that you can try, and that in your trying and failing he will be able to help you, until at length you shall do the will of God even as he does it himself. He takes the will in the imperfect deed, and makes the deed at last perfect. Correctest notions without obedience are worthless. The doing of the will of God is the way to oneness with God, which alone is salvation. Sitting at the gate of heaven, sitting on the footstool of the throne itself, yea, clasping the knees of the Father, you could not be at peace, except in their every vital movement, in every their smallest point of consciousness, your heart, your soul, your mind, your brain, your body, were one with the living God. If you had one brooding thought that was not a joy in him, you would not be at peace; if you had one desire you could not leave absolutely to his will you would not be at peace; you would not be saved, therefore could not feel saved. God, all and in all, ours to the fulfilling of our very being, is the religion of the perfect, son- hearted Lord Christ.
Well do I know it is faith that saves us--but not faith in any work of God--it is faith in God himself. If I did not believe God as good as the tenderest human heart, the fairest, the purest, the most unselfish human heart could imagine him, yea, an infinitude better, higher than we as the heavens are higher than the earth--believe it, not as a proposition, or even as a thing I was convinced of, but with the responsive condition and being of my whole nature; if I did not feel every fibre of heart and brain and body safe with him because he is the Father who made me that I am--I would not be saved, for this faith is salvation; it is God and the man one. God and man together, the vital energy flowing unchecked from the creator into his creature--that is the salvation of the creature. But the poorest faith in the living God, the God revealed in Christ Jesus, if it be vital, true, that is obedient, is the beginning of the way to know him, and to know him is eternal life." (From the Sermon “The Truth in Jesus” in Unspoken Sermons by George MacDonald).
If what is written above does not fit well with your view of atonement, it might be time to re-examine your view. See A Biblical Critique of Penal Substitution