Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“. . .neither of fleshly will, nor yet of man’s will . . .”
There are two kinds of people on earth, as concerns the kind of will that governs you. One kind of person is dominated by the will of the flesh, and the other kind of person is dominated by “the will of man”, which is his own inner will, or “self-will”.
Those who are dominated by what John called the will of the flesh cannot overcome the flesh’s desire for pleasures of one sort or another. The lazy, the gluttonous, and those addicted to immoral conduct belong in this group. They cannot control their flesh’s desires enough to live a life of true integrity, and the world, in the main, despises such people.
On the other hand, those who are dominated by what John called the will of man are those who can deny themselves to achieve mighty goals in this life. Among these are athletes, or great scholars, or ascetics, for all these people have the will power to deny themselves, even to abuse themselves physically, to achieve a goal. The world, in the main, admires such people because of the goals they achieve.
Ironic as it is, those in the first group are much more likely than those in the second group to repent and come to Jesus. The reason for this is simple. Those in the second group are often too proud too repent. They have the admiration of men for the power of their will to push themselves physically to develop exceptionally strong bodies, or the will power to leave off sleep or leave off good times with friends so that they may do research and make discoveries, or will power sufficient to kill themselves, as some have done by setting themselves on fire, or starving themselves to death, for a cause. Those who are weak, whose flesh dominates them, usually feel so bad about their weakness that they can see their need of God, and when God calls, more of them answer. But Jesus said that those who receive honor from men cannot have the honor that comes from God (Jn. 5:44; 12:42-43), and those with a strong will very often have great honor from men.
Don’t get me wrong. It is good to have enough will power to control the will of your flesh and be the master of your own body. But if having that much will-power makes you proud, it would be better if you were weak so that you could easily see your need of a Savior. Both kinds of people need Jesus, the weak willed and the strong willed, but the pride of the strong-willed makes it more difficult for them to see their need.