Isaiah 1:18-20 (NKJV)
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Faith is illogical to the human mind. To be completely honest, I have heard the conversations in my head when I take a step of faith and venture beyond the now, seen or even slightly reasonable. The human mind and will always grapples with the Reality of God because if He is real, it will mean the end of self. The authenticity and relevance of God in our life is not based on what we believe but who He is. Whether one chooses to believe in the Lord, put trust in Him or even chase after Him does not change who He is or what He will do in our life. Our actions do not in any way influence His Goodness, Grace or Judgment toward us. Grace is the application of the Blood of Jesus Christ to our life enabling us to enter in to a relationship with God willingly. We must be willing.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Salvation is none negotiable. It is available only one way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life – no one can come to the Father except through the Blood of Jesus. Note: the Blood of Jesus. He died for you. You cannot ignore the sacrifice made for us and still experience the fulfillment of God in your life. There are many who do not talk about the Cross or bother with the Blood who will be sadly mistaken when they meet Him face-to-face. We must be ready to fully accept the grounds of redemption offered by the nail-scarred Hands of our Savior. But how?
The great thing about God is that He never leaves us hanging. He always has a Word that is relevant and true for us. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” There only two choices for believers today. One is either willing and obedient or rebellious. Take out a giant pink eraser to eliminate the gray area and middle-of-the-road because it is a lie of the enemy that somehow implies that the Lord will accept sin of any kind. God hates sin. He hates all sin. If He calls it sin in His Word, He abhors it. There is no such thing as permissible sin. Grace did not provide any clause to God’s Word that indicates that He is okay with those things in our life that are directly in contempt or conflict with His Law. Sin never became acceptable to God. My heart longs today to shake the cages of congregations who remain in bondage to sin and darkness because the pulpit they sit in front cares more about their bank account and popularity then the people the Lord has given them to serve. It is not a popular message but He is a perfect God. Jealous for our love and affection. He desires us in His Presence and has already provided an inheritance of provision, blessing and abundance for those who are willing to choose obedience. Are you willing today?
Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV)
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
In the hours proceeding the Cross, Jesus asked His Disciples to watch and pray. They fell asleep. He kept coming back to find them sleeping. It is important to read what Jesus tells Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?” Here it is: “Watch and pray, lest YOU enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus wasn’t asking them to watch and pray for His Own Wellbeing. The Lord was ready and willing to fulfill God’s Plan. He was intent on the Cross. In these final hours, He was concerned for us. He was concerned for Peter.
The spirit is willing. We have been given the Holy Spirit as our constant companion. He is always willing. However, we are made of flesh that is usually unwilling to be inconvenienced, uncomfortable or sacrificial in any way. Concerned with the here and now, our humanness does not want to venture beyond that because the price is self. We must be willing to become uncomfortable. We must be willing to be inconvenienced. We must be willing.
James 3:16-18 (NKJV)
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Salvation is available through repentance. Repentance turns from sin to accept God’s Grace. There is a 180 degree turn to be made from our way to God’s Way. We must be willing because God does not use His Spirit to physically drag people to Him. We must be willing to go. Willingness is to cheerfully consenting and ready. It means to make a personal choice. Willingness produces eager compliance to the Word, Will and Way of God. When we repent and turn to Jesus, it is only step one. It is entrance to the process of redemption. To say, “Yes!” to Jesus is to say, “No!” to sin because you are willing to do whatever it takes to know Him more.
To be willing is to submit my will and fully accept God’s Will for us. Our will is our personal “I am”. It is our disposition and drive in life. It produces our passion. To be willing to surrender our own will or “I am” and accept God’s Will and His “I AM” moves us from the possible to impossible realm of His Presence.
Luke 13:34-35 (NKJV)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Need I remind you today that you are His Beloved? His Love for each of us proven in His Death and Beautiful Resurrection when He handed us the Keys to His Kingdom. We must be willing to walk in and remain there. Jesus wants to gather us all together. Yet we continue to divide and conquer imploding from within under the heaviness of unwillingness to come to Jesus even after we are saved.
John 5:39-40 (NKJV)
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Willingness is the key to obedience. Obedience allows us to live in partnership with Jesus, filled with His Spirit, as one of God’s Beloved and Precious Children. A lack of willingness and obedience does not change His Position. God loves us no matter what. Jesus longs for us to draw near and come closer. His Spirit waits within us to find a way out. In 2 Corinthians 8, the church of Macedonia is applauded for its abundance in affliction, liberality in deep poverty, and the fact that they were “freely willing” beyond their natural ability. Times were tough. They were tested. They remained willing. How about you? Are you being tried today or even tested? Or maybe you like your comfort zone and are unwilling to leave it to take up your cross and follow Christ? Well, there is a message in His Word for those today that are unwilling.
“And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” (2 Corinthians 8: 10-12) It is time to become willing again. The first act of willingness is salvation. It is not the end of willingness but just the beginning as we turn our life over to the Lord. The moment we become unwilling to do the Will of God – we become disobedient. The Lord is encouraging us today to leave our comfort zone. To move out of complacency to a place of willing obedience again. When we give our free will to Jesus look what is promised…”it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.”
Willingness avails God’s Hand to us. The contents always there but unwillingness blinds us to it. For example, the Children of Israel left Egypt in a rush. They were slaves there yet when asked for offerings to build the Tabernacle, the gifts came pouring out of their tents. Exiles hoarding opulence and wealth. (Exodus 35:29) How is that possible? They had an abundance because in Exodus 36:6-7 Moses gives a commandment for them to stop giving because they had given too much. Is it possible that we have all we need to live and prosper in the Abundance of God but because we are unwilling it remains hidden in our life? Yep.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV)
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. We must stop rationalizing sin. We can no longer live the lie that grace allows us to live in sin and darkness reaping God’s Rewards. It is just not true. God blesses our obedience not by producing it on demand. Everything we need for life and godliness has already been provided for in our life, we find it through willing obedience to the Lord born of our love for Him. The more I obey God the more I discover His Goodness and Grace hidden in my life. Thankfully none of this is dependent on my ability to perform but I must only submit my will to God’s Will letting my “I am” die and become taken over by the Great I AM.
We must think about our faith daily. It is the submission of our mind, will and emotions fully accepting by faith and confident hope in the life that He has prepared for us, the purpose for which we are created and the divine potential locked within a hard heart and tossed about in our wavering. When I decide to become rooted and grounded in His Love, I do so by turning from all sin and darkness to pursue the Lord completely, fully and most of all willingly. We must think about our belief in God immersing ourselves in His Truth, relying on His Spirit and daily crucifying the ugliness of flesh that controls our strong will. It is only then we will be truly free to enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom forever.
Psalm 51:10-13 (NKJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your Presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your Ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.