Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Jews’ Feast of Booths. Crowds were already marveling, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” Take the time to think about Jesus’ response in John 7:16-17.
So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”
When we read the Bible, we are exposing our hearts and opening our minds to the very will of God. It’s not uncommon to hear New Testament writers say something like, “For this is the will of God for you.” Peter straightforwardly called on disciples of Jesus to not only hear the will of God, but to live the rest of their lives for the will of God.
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Pet 4:1-2)
Which leads us back to Jesus’ words in John 7.
“My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”
Every time I open God’s book, I’m immediately confronted with a supremely important question: “What’s my will?”
- If my will is to do my will, I may grow in knowledge, but I’ll fail to wholeheartedly apply what I’ve read. I’ll pick and choose, selectively allowing God to redirect my steps as I see fit. I’ll want him as my Savior when I need him, but I’ll read his revelation to mankind as the “lord” of my own heart.
- If my will is to do God’s will, I will grow in knowledge and flourish in spirit. I will adopt the motto of Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” I will allow God’s living and active word to teach, reprove, correct, and train me in righteousness, that he might be the director of my steps and I might be equipped to do what he says. I will read as if he is Lord of all, including me.
“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will…” My Creator’s will has been clearly revealed to me, the created. I have such easy access to it. But is my will to do his will? That’s the question.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4)
My responsibility is to consistently expose my heart and humbly open my mind to what God has said that he might shape my will into harmony with his will.