Thursday, September 14, 2006

Willfulness vs Willingness

I appreciate this piece of caution against the overdependence on the will.

"I can will knowledge, but not wisdom;
Going to bed, but not sleeping;
Meekness but not humility;
Scrupulousity but not virtue;
Self-assertion or bravado, but not courage;
Lust, but not love;
Commiseration, but not sympathy;
Congratulations, but not admiration;
Religiosity but not faith."
(Leslie Farber in The ways of the will: Selected Essays)

Why am I touched by this? That is partially because I have seen many (including myself) who have struggled the emotional ups and downs of doing good works, based on sheer will and self-determination. Will itself can be extremely effective. Upper management places a high premium on strong will. Even Christians in ministry sometimes pride themselves in being strong-willed to serve in all kinds of situations. I listen with concern when people say they "enjoy what they are doing." I asked inside my head, "What happens when you DON'T enjoy what you are doing?"

There are 2 kinds of will. A self-will or simply being willing. The difference is subtle. One former depends on self, like a gripped fist of determination. The latter is like an open palm, humble , gentle and waits to be led to a place unknown. For Christians, we too are constantly led to unknown places in our pilgrimage of life. The big difference, is we are led by a known God. My point is, we must never plan our lives based solely on what we enjoy or not enjoy doing, and then trust our Self-Will to fuel the whole journey. Did Christ ENJOY being led to the Cross? No. For Him, it is obedience.


No comments:

Latest Posts