This study is a scriptural look at what mankind will do when they do not listen to the Spirit speak to them. We must be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, because if we don't, we tend to try and do things on our own. As you will see in this study, the thing that you are trying to obtain can be damaged or even destroyed when we try to bring the will of God to pass by our own will and power. It is... "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD." (Zec 4:6)
SEEING THE WILL OF GOD
I have this scripture that I make an object of prayer most of the time. Jesus made this statement...
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (John 5:19)
The mind-set that Jesus had was that He only did what was in the Spirit (will of God) for that moment of time. He did not do his own will. He was sensitive to God's voice at all times.
In the wilderness Jesus fasted and had to overcome the temptations of his flesh, desires (ambitions) and fame (pride). That's what made Him sensitive to God's voice. We must resist the same things (our own desires, pride and ambition) that Jesus did in our own lives, so we will be sensitive to God's voice also.
Eljah was looking for a miraculous word from God to come in the fire, earthquake and wind, but it came when he sat still and listened to a small still voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12).
BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT
In John 3:8, Jesus said...
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
We are to flow as the Spirit flows through us. When we go contrary to the Spirit (wind), it will be a struggle. Paul made this statement also...
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
We can delay God's will when we try to bring God's promises to pass by our own devices. A lot of the time we will fast just to get God to do what "WE" want. There is always a timing with God. You can fast your belly button off, and God still will not move any faster. God will only move when it is his will and when we have faith in Him. John said it like this...
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
THE TIMING OF GOD
The timing of God is the hardest thing to follow if we are carnal, ambitious or self-willed. We are usually off course when we are like that. But, when we understand that God works in phases and not in our timing, we can usually get to where He wants us, quickly.
There is a time to fast and a time to abstain, and there is a time to praise and a time to release our will to Him. You fast and sacrifice to open your spirit to God to get direction, but, you must release your will to God to get the answer. Samuel said it like this...
1 Sam 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
You can fast to have your own way with God, but all you are doing is operating your "self-will" in trying to manipulate Him. We must release our will and let God have full control. We must obey His timing! Here a is brief example on how this worked for me.
ONE OF MY TRIALS
God had told me that He was going to bless me financially. I worked at a job for 10 years. He told me to leave that job. I trained someone for a month and left not having a job (though I did look real hard). God did tell Abraham to leave Ur without knowing where he was going!
I was so full of fear. I tried everything I could to find a job, I was trying to bring it to pass on my own. I kept getting after God to bless me and I was not at peace. I was out of work for six months straight. I was getting very frustrated, there was a spirit of fear and condemnation telling me that God was not going to help me. I had bought into this for these six months. That fear is what provoked me to try and deliver myself.
So, finally I came to grips that I had to fast and bind that fear, I had to let go of the situation and let this boat (will of God) drift wherever it was going to go. I committed myself to the raging sea (see below). I fasted and broke that spirit. God told me that I made it through, but nothing had happened yet. I know that I was going to be tested again.
So, I got a call from a temp service to do data entry. It was not what I wanted, I felt that fear arise, but I resisted it. I did not have to fast, because I had already done the work. I passed that test because I had committed myself to release my will to God. Well to make the long story short, I was hired 3 weeks later at a low wage. A month later I got a new boss. She doubled my pay and I got four raises in this time period. God did bless and He did the work, because I forsook my ways. I did not try to figure it out and bring it to pass on my own.
RELEASING YOUR WILL
Below, is the breakdown of Acts 27 that illustrates what releasing your will is...
Acts 27:1-8 …And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
We must first get into the ship of our trial.
Acts 27:9 …Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
They fasted in fear. And Paul had to admonish them
Acts 27:10-12 …And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also…
They refused to listen to the Spirit warning them not to go that direction
Acts 27:13 ...And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.
We can be deceived by the soft wind (our will or emotions) and do our own will
Acts 27:14-15 ....But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
A raging wind (trial) causes us to struggle.
Acts 27:16-17 …we had much work to come by the boat: …they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksand's, struck sail, and so were driven.
Because they didn't listen, the trouble caused loss, damage, no peace, and only fear
Acts 27:18-19 ...And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
We try to bail ourselves out of the mess we got ourselves into
Acts 27:20 ...And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
Finally depression, loss of hope, impatience, and a broken spirit settles in
Acts 27:21-25 …But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
God will stand back and let us do it ourselves. However, God's mercy can still come on us, not because of our own righteousness, but because He is merciful!
Acts 27:26 ...Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
The Spirit tells them that there will be another trial and that the end is near. However, God has to kind of re-arrange the plan to get us out of the mess.
Acts 27:27-28 …as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms:
The people see the end that was told them by the Spirit through Paul.
Acts 27:29 ...Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
They stopped because of fear, they were hesitant to go on, because they knew the trial was coming
Acts 27:30 …the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,
We tend to bail out of the boat (God's will) because of fear and self-survival (self-will), we try to save ourselves with what we think is the way to go. I find it funny that these men were willing to get into a smaller boat in that raging sea. That is what happens when fear overcomes us, we make dumb decisions
Acts 27:31-32 ...Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.
The Spirit told them to release their will and cut off their security. So must we mortify the deeds of the flesh and let go of our safety net. What we think will save us, should be let go!!
Acts 27:33-38 …Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. …Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. …when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.
The Spirit told them to break their fast, which they didn't need to be doing anyway, because the fast was supposed to have ended (verse 9). This is also when we are to rejoice and praise God for what he is going to do. We are preparing our hearts for what is to come, by looking to Him.
Acts 27:3 ...And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.
Now they were ready to go through the trial, even though they didn't know the land (phase or will of God).
Acts 27:40 …when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoisted up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
This is a time of commitment (to the raging sea) and a final releasing (total abandonment) of our will to God.
Acts 27:41 ...And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmovable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
The trial begins (turbulence) and the boat is destroyed. The thing that they thought would save them, is lost.
Acts 27:42-44 …And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
We make it to the other side, and we make it to peace and safety.
In conclusion, the above scriptures are a great example of mankind trying to accomplish something in their own power and will. They refused to listen to Paul (the Spirit) and suffered needlessly because of it.
If we would just let go and let God have total control of every situation, then He will work things out the way we desire. "Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart."When we are not at peace, then we are operating in our own strength.
In Hebrews 4 is a discourse on entering into a Rest. This rest comes when we have ceased from our own works.
For he that has entered into his rest, has cease from his own works. (Heb 4:10)
The "ceasing from our works" is the key! When we stop trying to figure things out, and when we stop trying to bring it to pass using our own works, then we will find that rest.
Like Israel, if we do not enter that rest, it is because of unbelief. Trying to work it out yourself breeds fear, pride and self-will. That in turn produces a spirit of unbelief which will cause us not to have the thing we are asking for.
I exhort you, release your will to God and let the will of God unfold like a flower in your life. He will greatly bless you and cause you to prosper and be fruitful. Jesus does want to give us life, and that more abundantly. Let this be your prayer...
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:6-8).