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God's Will vs Self Will

“What lies hidden in the designs of God I confess I do not know—I am only a man—but this I know with full certainty, that, whatever it is, it is more just, more wise, and more solidly based on incomparable perfection than all the judgments of people….God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good.” (St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis)


“The story of Isaac blessing his son Jacob illustrates the intense meaning of what we might think of as “mere words.” I’ve often wondered: If Jacob deceived his father in order to receive his blessing, why couldn’t Isaac take back the blessing and bestow it on his older son Esau? Why couldn’t Isaac simply rescind his words? The answer to my question lies in the fact that God’s will is always accomplished—despite my human expectations, despite my sense of fairness. God knew the inner character of the two brothers. In His infinite wisdom, He chose Jacob to be the next patriarch. God knew Jacob’s heart and found him worthy of this calling instead of Esau, who had rightful ownership of the blessing as the firstborn.” (Archpriest Steven John Belonick)


“The most significant aspect of the Romantic movement was the emergence of the self as the center of consciousness.…egocentric thinking can infect our spiritual life and harm our relationship with God. We develop an immature spirituality. We may begin to believe, on an unconscious level, that somehow we can make good or bad things happen based on whether we pray or don’t pray, sin or don’t sin. We end up believing that we have control that we do not. We feel the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and somehow it is all on us to stop bad things from happening.” (Gregory Wolfe, Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“…if we find our security in God, we should also put our confidence in His wisdom. The Hebrew text uses a compelling image to describe the opposite of such reliance. It cautions us, “lean not on your own understanding” (NKJV Proverbs 3:5). The Hebrew term refers to supporting oneself. But “leaning” suggests that if this prop were suddenly removed from us, we would fall over. Thus, our own understanding is contrary to the dependability of God’s wisdom. It is unreliable.” (Fr. Basil)


“Joseph reminds us that God uses our cooperation to accomplish His gracious purposes in the world. That was certainly the case in the Old Testament:  Abraham, Moses, David, and countless others responded to God’s initiative, and He worked through them, despite their many failings. And through the free response of a teenaged Palestinian Jewish girl came the Messiah in Whom the ancient promises to the descendants of Abraham are fulfilled and extended to the entire world.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“We don’t put ourselves forward; we are put forward. We don’t choose ourselves for the role we have in life; we are chosen. We do not forge our destiny; we submit to it.” (Phillip Goggans)

“In The Lord of the Rings, characters who understood and accepted they were being put forward, no matter what the circumstance, understood consciously or unconsciously that providential power was at work. These characters’ actions came to a good outcome for them and others. Characters who put themselves forward did so out of willfulness and pride. Although not all of these characters were evil, and their willful choices often resulted in good to others due to providence at work, the results for them personally were not good. Tolkien understood deeply the importance of subordinating and aligning our will to God’s will.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Christ freely aligned His human will in every aspect with the divine will of the Father, and we are called to do likewise.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 5:30)“God gives us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. The secret to a changed life is to submit to God’s control and let Him work.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 2:13)

“No one knows what the future holds, whether in one day or in a single hour. More often than not, we encounter events that are unforeseen and unsuspected. You cannot rely on the constancy of your helping wind: sometimes it pushes you along, but it more often suddenly turns into a contrary wind or a fierce storm. Every way is a potential path for the Christian. He believes everything that happens to him does so according to God’s will.” (St. Ignatii Brianchaninov)