…Paul answered,…I am ready… to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. Acts 21:13, 14
Someone has asked a thoughtful question: “When we pray ‘Not my will, but Thine be done,’ are we not voiding our will and refusing to exercise the very power of choice which is part of the image of God in us?”
The answer to that question is a flat No, but the whole thing deserves further explanation.
No act that is done voluntarily is an abrogation of the freedom of the will. If a man chooses the will of God he is not denying but exercising his right of choice. What he is doing is admitting that he is not good enough to desire the highest choice nor is he wise enough to make it, and he is for that reason asking Another who is both wise and good to make his choice for him. And for fallen man, this is the ultimate use he should make of his freedom of will!
Tennyson saw this and wrote of Christ,
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, Thou;
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them Thine.
There is a lot of sound doctrine in these words—”Our wills are ours, to make them Thine.” The true saint acknowledges that he possesses from God the gift of freedom. He knows that he will never be cudgeled into obedience nor wheedled like a petulant child into doing the will of God; he knows that these methods are unworthy both of God and of his own soul!