Mark 14:35-36: Submission to God's Authority
35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed
that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba,
Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take
this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:35-36, NIV)
The realization that God has absolute authority and control over everything,
every circumstance, and every detail of life is key to submitting to God's will.
We want God to show Himself in signs and wonders rather than recognizing
that He already guides us through the circumstances of life. When we become angry and
bitter with the circumstances in life, we are really angry and bitter toward God.
When we realize that God is carrying out His purpose in the midst of the circumstances,
then we seek to willingly be involved in what He is doing.
Far too often Christians fail to understand Scripture and fail to see
God's will because they are unwilling to recognize God's complete authority. They
want to explain tragedy by chance. This allows us to equate what we want to be God's
will and deny the undesirable as not God's will. But Jesus said that, if it is God's
will, we could move mountains with the smallest of faith. It is failing to submit our desires to Him that obscures God's
will from us. It is amazing
how much clearer the Scriptures become when we accept both God's predestining sovereignty
and our free will at face value without trying to explain their consistency. The Bible
does contain what we should do and not do to follow God's will, but submitting to God's
control over the things that we can not control is also important.
Submitting to God's authority is key to submitting to other authorities
(Romans 13:1-7). If we complain about the circumstances in which God has placed us, how
can we hope to not complain about the human authorities over us? We might obey human
authorities to avoid the penalty of disobeying, but to submit we must obey willingly.
Rules and regulations can be arbitrary, but are necessary for fairness and order. How
would you like driving if everyone decided to ignore red lights? If we expect everyone
else to follow the rules, but break them ourselves, we are being unfair. There may be
times when we have to disobey human authorities in order to obey God (Acts 4:18-20),
but we should not disobey simply because we don't want to obey.
The past and the future are also beyond our reach. While we decided on
our past actions, once done we cannot change them and our ability to undo the past is
somewhat limited. If God did not accomplish His will through what we decide, whether
good or bad, then we might have found ourselves trapped in a situation where our past
actions no longer allowed us to do God's will now. However, God arranges the circumstances
so that now we can always decide to do God's will.
The only unpardonable sin is the unbelief that refuses to come to God for
forgiveness. We can make plans for the
future but we cannot do anything in the future until it becomes now. God determines
what plans come true.
God's will for us is much clearer when we concentrate on doing what we know is right
and when we realize God is controlling the circumstances around us to achieve His will.