A popular praise song, one we’ve all sung and which I like, talks about God having his way in us. Well, I like all of it except that phrase. It reminds me of how it was used in old books and movies. I guess it’s not part of modern vernacular, which makes me feel old, but I remember when a man had his way with a woman, it meant he was selfishly getting what he wanted from her, usually without her consent.
Does God really want to have his way in us or with us? Most Christians probably think this is another way of saying we submit to his will. He does want us to submit to his will, the same way Jesus did when he prayed not my will, but yours. But this phrase can paint God in the wrong light, making him sound more like humans, who in our me-first, I-demand-my-rights culture, want to have their way at the expense of others. That’s not who he is. God doesn’t work in our lives like that and this isn’t what he wants from us or for us.
When we submit our wills to his, we are saying we love God (because he loved us first), we trust him and we choose to be led by the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our lives. He helps us by his grace to lay aside our wills in favor of his, and eventually our wills merge. As we grow in grace and knowledge and as we become more in sync with Jesus, he works more in our lives and we participate more in Jesus’ life. Our relationship with him becomes a beautiful dance, just as the relationship of Father, Son and Spirit is a dance of love, sharing, communication and giving of self to the other.
God doesn’t want to have his way with us, he loves us and wants us to love him back. From now on, when I sing that song, I’m going to change the words to say, “Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord, let our wills be one.”