My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. Matthew 26:39
If I approached the gym like I approach my faith life, I’d probably just sit back, praying for God to make me faster, stronger, and in better shape. I’d probably think that faith meant that God miraculously did whatever I wanted, without me doing the difficult work of obedience. I wouldn’t even have to show up at the gym. I’d just call on God’s miraculous transforming power, while sitting on my couch, eating donuts.
It sounds idiotic with the gym, but it’s how I’ve often approached the rest of my life. In my addiction, I expected God to simply remove my destructive appetites without having to confess, get help, or change anything. In any trial of life, it’s my first impulse to ask God to change my circumstances to fit my preferences. I don’t naturally pray for God’s will. I pray for mine.
In today’s passage, Jesus showed us how to pray the right way. In the story, he was sorrowful to the point of death, knowing of his imminent torture and crucifixion. He wrestled with God’s will, and so, he went to the father, asking to be delivered from the coming horror. If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Then, he whispered those profoundly difficult words – Not as I will, but as you will.
In his honest struggle, Jesus taught me how to pray. In the miserable consequences of my addiction, I finally went to God, saying – OK, I’m willing to do things your way. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I’m sick of my path, now I want your will. This was the beginning of change for me, to follow God’s way instead of mine.
I wish that it was a one-time decision and I wish I could say that I’ve lived rightly every day since then. The Christian life though, is a process of transformation that must happen daily. Daily, I must go to God with Jesus’ words on my lips. Just like at the gym, if I want to see growth, I must continually do what it takes to pursue it. Today father, not my will but your will. This is how we grow – pursuing God’s will daily – daily finding faith, life, recovery, and transformation.