Willing, but not taking action?

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InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
This has been a burden in my heart recently: Can we truly will to do something (I want to use God's law/revealed will here as an example), though we are not acting for it? When I look at myself, I see myself praying frequently for change to positive in my relation to some of God's commandments, but then again am not taking any direct action or simply obeying the commandments.

While it may sound contradictory (to will, but not act), then again I'm reminded by Peter's denial -- how he rejected Christ three times, but yet believed in Christ at each moment (though not consciously). In other words, though Peter believed in Christ, he did not act in accord to his belief. And so, I'm forced to apply this to my own situation, where I'm indeed willing, but am not acting according to my will.

But then I'm reminded by Proverbs 23:7 that "as [man] thinketh in his heart, so is he." So, am I wrong to apply the relationship of faith and action to that of will and action?

I may not be able to respond to your suggested answers tomorrow, so I thank you in advance!
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
I think you may be conflating will (i.e., choice) with desire (i.e., want).

It is possible to want something without acting towards it because of another, conflicting, more powerful desire.

I think that's along the lines of what you're talking about.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
I think you may be conflating will (i.e., choice) with desire (i.e., want).

It is possible to want something without acting towards it because of another, conflicting, more powerful desire.

I think that's along the lines of what you're talking about.

I see. I haven't thought of it that way. But then I need to ask this: Is it Christian to want (i.e. choice), but not desire (i.e. want) to do God's will? If I'm reading you right, a regenerate Christian may desire to do God's will, but that there still remain in his heart more powerful inclinations toward sin, due to which he will not act for God's will but his sinful desire. Another question I need to ask: What determines choice, if not the desire of one's heart? OR can we choose BOTH God's will AND our sin? What difference does it make when a person chooses to do one thing over another?

Just take your time to answer those. :D
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
You can have two conflicting desires. Ultimately, the one that wins out will determine our choice.

As an example, I can have a desire to eat chocolate cake, and I can have a desire to stick to my diet. In most cases, my desire to stick to my diet will be stronger (hopefully) and so it will win out over my desire to eat chocolate cake. On occasion, though, the desire to eat chocolate cake overpowers the desire to stick to my diet, and although I still want to stick to my diet I choose to eat chocolate cake instead.

Overall, my desire to stick to my diet wins out over my desire to eat chocolate cake, because it is the deeper-rooted and stronger desire. That's what defines who I am. For the Christian, our desire to please God wins out over our desire to sin--most of the time. Even then, we still want to please God, but that desire has been overpowered by a temporarily more powerful urge to sin. That urge isn't more powerful all the time, so it doesn't define who we are, but it still exists and conflicts with our ruling desire to serve God.

There are any number of things that can increase or decrease our particular desires--the smell of chocolate cake, combined with skipping breakfast, say.

Does that help answer your question? :)
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
You can have two conflicting desires. Ultimately, the one that wins out will determine our choice.

As an example, I can have a desire to eat chocolate cake, and I can have a desire to stick to my diet. In most cases, my desire to stick to my diet will be stronger (hopefully) and so it will win out over my desire to eat chocolate cake. On occasion, though, the desire to eat chocolate cake overpowers the desire to stick to my diet, and although I still want to stick to my diet I choose to eat chocolate cake instead.

Overall, my desire to stick to my diet wins out over my desire to eat chocolate cake, because it is the deeper-rooted and stronger desire. That's what defines who I am. For the Christian, our desire to please God wins out over our desire to sin--most of the time. Even then, we still want to please God, but that desire has been overpowered by a temporarily more powerful urge to sin. That urge isn't more powerful all the time, so it doesn't define who we are, but it still exists and conflicts with our ruling desire to serve God.

There are any number of things that can increase or decrease our particular desires--the smell of chocolate cake, combined with skipping breakfast, say.

Does that help answer your question? :)

Skyler,

you're making perfect sense. Thank you. I don't see, however, that my desire for God's will is winning at all (as opposed to "most of the time") in the specific area of God's law that I've addressed in my OP. What I do see is that Christ is my only hope.
 
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