Oswald Chambers -- The Will in Discipleship

“And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.’  But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’.” Luke 9: 61-62

Beware of thinking of will as a faculty. Will simply means the whole nature active. We think about people having a weak will or a strong will, it is a misleading idea. When we speak of a man having a weak will, we mean he is without any impelling passion, he is the creature of any dominating influence; with good people he is good, with bad people he is bad, not because he is a hypocrite, but because he has no ruling passion, and any strong personality knits him into shape. Will is the essential element in God’s creation of a man. I cannot give up my will; I must exercise it.

They Want to

Lord I will follow you . . .

Want is a conscious tendency toward a particular end. My wants take shape when something awakens my personal life. An invalid if left alone has no wants, he wants neither to live nor to die; but when he sees a person full of bounding physical health, a want to be like him is instantly awaken. Whatever awakens my person awakens a want.  In this incident the presence of Jesus awakened a conscious want to follow Him, a want to be like Him.

a)     The Want in Conscience

The first appeal was to conscience, and could be expressed in this way: “Follow Him, He is the supreme Lord” The presentation of Jesus Christ always awakens the desire, the presentation of abstract ideals never does. You can present morality, good principals, the duty of loving your neighbor, and never arouse a man’s conscience to want anything; but when you present Jesus Christ, instantly there is a dumb awakening; a want to be what He would like me to be. It is not conviction of sin, but an awakening out of the sleep of indifference into a want.

There are some things that are without meaning for us. For instance, to be told that God will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask Him, may be a dead proposition; but when we come in contact with a person filled with the Spirit of God we instantly awaken to a want. Or again, if you tell half a dozen clean-living, upright, sterling men that God so loved them that He gave His Son to die for them, only their good breeding will keep them from being amused - “Why should Jesus Christ die for me? It is not a living proposition to them, not in the sphere of their life at all.  Their morality is well within their own grasp, they are clean living and upright, all that can be desired; they will never be awaken in that way; but present them with Jesus Crist, or with a life that is like His life, and instantly there will awaken in them a want they were not conscious of before. That is why Jesus said “If I had not come… they had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin.” You can never argue anyone into the Kingdom of Heaven, you cannot argue anyone anywhere. The only result of arguing is to prove to your own mind that you are right and the other fellow wrong.  You cannot argue for truth; but immediately Incarnate Truth is presented, a want awakens in the soul which only God can meet. Conscience is the faculty of the spirit which fits itself on to the highest a man knows; and when the light of Jesus Christ is thrown on what is regarded as the highest, conscience records exactly and the reason is startled and amazed.        

      b)    The Want in Heart

The presence of Jesus Christ awakened a want in this man’s heart. Heart is the center of a man’s personality, “For out of the heart proceed…” said our Lord. You can never tell from a man’s life to date what he is going to want next, because the real element of want is not logical.  A man’s reasoning is based in something more than reason, there is always an incalculable element.

c)      The Want in Desire

The want in conscience and in heart urges a man to immediate action: “Lord I will follow you.” It was the finest, profoundest element in the man that made him say it. In his conscience, in the deep depths of his personality, it had awakened the desire to follow Jesus and to be like Him. The measure of a man’s want is seen in the nature of the power that awakened it. No man can stand in front of Jesus Christ and say “I want to make money.” He can stand before a successful business man and find the desire awakened in him to be like him and make money. This man was in contact with the Prince of persons, the Lord Jesus Christ, consequently the deep desire of his heart was for the very highest, “Lord I want to follow You, and not only want to, but I will.”