Tag Archives: not my will but thine

The Way Of Suffering

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit the room where the Last Supper took place, walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, visit Caiaphas’ house and then walk down the Via Dolorosa. To walk in the final footsteps of Jesus before His crucifixion can be a moving experience if you can block out all the chaos around you. As I went to each place, I tried to imagine the emotions of Jesus in each place and to feel the tension He must have felt knowing He was leaving the Passover meal a free man to cross the Kidron Valley, but would return a prisoner. It’s a very sobering journey.

As I entered the Church of All Nations at the foot of the Mount of Olives where the Garden of Gethsemane is, I walked around the outskirts of the sanctuary instead of down the middle. The purple glass in the shape of a cross makes sure that the room is lit, but remains dim. I went to the front where there is a rock protruding out of the foundation of the church. I stood outside the barrier as I watched people lay on it and weep. On the barrier were pieces of paper in different languages. I walked around until i found one in English. It had a portion of the Gospel of Luke that ended in Luke 22:46. It said, “Jesus went to the disciples who were sleeping and said, ‘Why are you asleep? Wake up and pray that you won’t be tested.’”

Are you and I like the disciples? Are we awakened to the things God is asking us to do or are we asleep? Do we realize that the moment God has us in right now is in preparation for greater things? God’s plan for you is always good. It may involve some suffering and times of emotional stress. There are times we will walk in darkness so we can share God’s light. The only way to achieve God’s desired outcome in our lives is to pray like Jesus prayed in the darkest time of His life. Luke 22:44 says, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done” (AMP). Submitting to God’s will, even in suffering and pain always yields the greatest outcome.

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Under The Press


As many of you know, I went back to Israel this past summer. One of the most visited places in Jerusalem has to be the Garden of Gethsemane. It’s filled with Olive trees as pictured here. On this trip, I discovered that the name Gethsemane means the olive press. We got to see an olive press to understand how it crushes the olives to make oil. That first pressing of the Olive is holy and belongs to God. I think that’s important to know when considering what happened there the night before Jesus was crucified. 

Matthew 26 tells us that Jesus went there with the disciples and that grief and anguish came over Him. In verse 38, Jesus said, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me” (GNT). He was being pressed like an olive in that moment. His prayer in the next verse is what I want to focus on today. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want.” 

Each of us have times in our lives when we are being crushed by problems and things going on. Just like Jesus, our first instinct is to pray, “Father, if it’s possible, get me out of this!” We cry and we pray for God to help us. But what if God wants to use that time to create a holy offering in your life? What if He is allowing you to be crushed so what’s inside comes out? I’m sure the olives in the press don’t appreciate the stone mill rolling over them, but what comes out is more useful than just the olive by itself.

Jesus understood this. That’s why His next breath was, “Yet not what I want, but what you want.” Instead of praying for God to get us out of the press, ask God that His will be done instead of ours. James 1:12 says, “Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.” Remaining under the press, like Jesus did, is the way to receive the life God promises us. 

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Giving Up Your Will

I Samuel10 gives us the account of Saul being anointed King of Israel. After Samuel anointed him, he spoke prophetically over him. He told him very specific things that would happen on his way home. The scripture says that everything Samuel told him would happen, happened. When he finally got home, his uncle asked him where he had been. He told them he went to see Samuel. The uncle knew who Samuel was and asked what he was told by him. Saul only told him the parts that Samuel prophesied about. He didn’t mention he had been anointed King.  

I’ve always wondered about that. Part of me thinks that since he had just been anointed, he would want to tell everyone. He knew that Samuel would be coming in seven days to tell him what was next, yet he kept quiet. It could be that he was still in disbelief because the vision was so great. He failed to realize we serve a great God who gives great vision. The vision God gives each one of us is greater than our ability. We can’t accomplish His vision for our lives on our own. We have to trust God as much as He trusts us in order to accomplish it. 

When Samuel arrived as he promised, he gathered the people of Israel together to tell them what God had said. He reminded them of all the great things God had done. How He had delivered them, how He had rescued them and how He had cared for them throughout there history. Then in verse 19 he said, “But today you have rejected me and have asked me to give you a king. (GNT)” The people knew God had cared for them, but they wanted a person to deliver them, not God. They wanted a person to rescue them, not God. They wanted a person to care for them, not God. I believe it’s because they knew they could manipulate a person and not God. They wanted to do their will, not His.

We try to manipulate God into doing what we want. We offer Him things if only He will answer our prayers. We pray, “God, if you do this one thing for me, then I will…” Those type of prayers don’t seek God’s will, they seek our own. When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He didn’t try to manipulate the Father. He prayed, “Not my will be done, but yours.” If we are ever going to get to the place where we fulfill the vision God has for our lives, we are going to have to move from a “My will be done” attitude to a “Thy will be done” one. We have to let God have His way with our lives instead of us trying to convince Him to let us live them our way.

Saul struggled with that mentality from the first day of being king to his last. He could never let go of his will and fully embrace God’s. Ultimately, he lost the kingdom to someone else. His legacy wasn’t what it could have been because he couldn’t submit fully to God’s will. The same attitude dwells in each one of us, but that doesn’t mean we have to obey it. The same mentality tries to guide our lives, but we can beat it. We must pray as Jesus prayed, “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” When we pray that and lIve it, God will accomplish the greater things He promised.

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