Nineteen hijackers, four airplanes, the twin towers. The U.S. Pentagon, the phrase "Let's roll," and thousands dead. Who can ever forget that fateful day in September almost three and a half years ago?
While those men who turned marvels of travel into vehicles of destruction were completely misguided and 100 percent wrong, they displayed a willingness to die for a cause they believed in. They gave the ultimate to accomplish their goals, their dreams, their vision. As abhorrent as their actions were, they gave up everything to prove their committment to the cause.
Isn't that the heart and soul of willingness? To pay the ultimate price asked of you if called upon? Really, isn't that the only way to measure whether or not we truly are willing to do something? It's easy to say we have the willingness, but the only way to show true willingness toward anything is to follow through and do it.
"Talk is cheap." "Actions speak louder than words." "Put your money where your mouth is." Cliches, to be sure, but they cut to the core of what it means to express willingness.
Abaraham is a prime example. After beginning to doubt the word of the lord about being the father of many nations and eventually taking matters into his own hands with his wife's maidservant Hagar, Abraham was blessed with the promised son Isaac. Yet, some time later God tested Abraham by asking for the ultimate - the sacrifice of his son! Imagine the conflicting emotions he must have felt.
However, the very next morning, Abraham set out with two of his servants and his son to the place God had directed.
When questioned by Isaac, Abraham's simple reply was: "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." (Genesis 22:8 NIV)
So far, so good. Abraham was showing his willingness to obey the lord. He was confident in his faith.
Surely God was in control, even as Abraham was following what had to be the most gut-wrentching decision of his life. Sacrifice his son. The one that would help fulfill the promise of uncountable offspring. A "God, I don't understand, but I do trust in you and your word" request.
What decisions in your life is the lord asking of you? What difficult choices has he placed upon your heart, and what is the depth of your willingness to obey?
Abraham got so far as laying Isaac on the altar he built, taking knife in hand before the angel of the Lord intervened. Abraham had proved his willingness to do whatever his creator had asked of him. He had passed the test.
"Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." (Genesis 22:12)
True willingness takes action, not just words. Our willingness is proved true by how we respond to that which is asked of us. To obey the lord and trust that he has everything in control. To continue on until he changes our direction or provides a ram in the thicket.
"...faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17 NIV)
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