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Setting My Will

l love this prayer taken from Marjorie Holmes’ book I’ve Got to Talk to Somebody, God:

“Lord, bless every circumstance of this, my life. Bless the bad of it as well as the good of it. For out of the bad of it will surely come further good. Out of its problems I will arise stronger. Out of its sorrows, I will emerge wiser and purer and better equipped to cope with what is yet to come.

Others will benefit from these troubles and trials, for in them, they too are being tested. They will emerge better, stronger people. They will become more mature. For their life stories are being written in blood and fire, as well as love.

God, help us all to see these truths. Bless us in our hours of family affliction. Though they may be hours that separate us now, bless them, Lord, bless them. For out of our conflicts will come understanding, and out of understanding, stronger union, and deeper people, and more lasting, significant love. Lord, bless every circumstance of this, my life.”

As we pick up in Philippians 1:18-19, we read the following words from Paul:

“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given me by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”

What does Paul mean when he proclaims, “I will rejoice”? The Greek word for REJOICE means to be glad, to be cheerful, to be calmly happy; and this is the response that Paul CHOSE amidst the circumstances of his life.

Years ago, Catherine Marshall helped me to a better understanding of this concept. She talks in her book, Beyond Ourselves, of the Christian life being lived not in the emotion but in the will. At best, we have little control over how we feel, but the motivating force at the center of our being is our will. The dictionary describes the “will” as “the power of conscious deliberate action”. I am, before God, responsible only for the set of my will. Will I decide in favor of GOD’S WILL or insist on SELF WILL? If my will before God is right, HE will handle the emotions.

This is what I believe Paul is communicating when he talks of “counting it joy”. When he exclaims, “Yes, and I shall rejoice. Rejoice, I will”, he is referring to taking each experience that comes and not merely tolerating it, not merely enduring it, but accepting it by an act of the will. Paul totally embraced the events of his days with joy, because he realized that God is always at work to will and to do of HIS good pleasure. Therefore, Paul CHOSE, by an act of his will, TO REJOICE.

Paul declares, “I will rejoice, for I KNOW…” What is the connotation behind this word “KNOW”? It means, "I KNOW" as by gazing with wide open eyes at something remarkable. "I KNOW" by discerning clearly. "I KNOW" by being able to see with clarity what is obscure or concealed. Thus, we see that Paul is expressing that, “It is absolutely clear and plain to me that THROUGH YOUR PRAYERS. . .”

The Greek word used here for PRAYER denotes a solemn request, an earnest humble entreaty involving an urgent need. It does not contain within it the meaning of “requesting a favor”. It does not contain within it the idea of “demanding something that is due”, but of "a solemn request involving an urgent need".

So Paul is disclosing, “It is absolutely clear and plain to me, that through your solemn request, through your earnest and humble entreaties concerning my urgent needs and”, he goes on, “through the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ . . .”

The Scofield Reference Bible gives Psalm 16 as a cross reference to these verses in Philippians. Note how, as we compare scripture to scripture, the meaning of this expression, “THE HELP GIVEN BY THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST”, is expanded. The theme of Psalm 16 is: the joys and benefits of a life lived in companionship with God.

These are benefits that we enjoy now and for eternity. In your Bible, you may see at the top of this Psalm that it is a MIKTAM of David. That word, MIKTAM, comes from a term that means TO COVER. This Psalm is a prayer for the covering of God’s protection.

There are a number of ways Psalm 16 describes “THE HELP GIVEN BY THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST”. I suggest that you study it and underline the verses that speak to you in a special way. Be blessed!

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