When you meet people in life, you sometimes wonder what drives them – in common language, what makes them tick? It is one thing to wonder about others, but what about myself, what makes me tick? I had to reflect on this…
There was a day in my life that everything became totally empty and meaningless to me. (I wrote something about it earlier in my blog, see https://tielman.africa/about-me/.) This happened about five years after I repented and asked Jesus to forgive me all my sins and after I had put my own life in order, asking everyone that I felt I had harmed in my life to forgive me. Despite all the good I tried to do, things like anger, irritation, jealousy, and my own ambitions still strongly influenced me, my reactions and what I did and said. I felt there was something seriously lacking in my life, there was an emptiness inside me that none of my accomplishments could fill. I came to a point where I said to God that I can’t live like that any longer.
Then a thought came into my mind to give it one more try and to surrender my whole life to Jesus – my will, my future, my plans, everything. I was desperate and prepared to obey and do everything what is written in the Bible – whatever Jesus wanted me to do. And if nothing would change, then, as far as I was concerned, all about Christianity would just be fake!
It was then that Jesus led me to God-fearing people who lived a life fully surrendered to Jesus. I could clearly see that they had found the life I was longing for! They had an inner peace and joy, irrespective of their circumstances. They were just as happy in sunshine and as in rainy days. And this was the life I was longing for! Over time they shared with me verses from the Bible that could help me to come to the same life, and these verses became so clear and alive to me. Before, they were just black letters on white paper – but now these verses became new and alive!
One of these verses was about Jesus, who said that with the body God had given Him, He would do the will of God (Heb.10:7). And we know that throughout His whole life He said: “Not My will, but your will be done, o God!” Jesus made a covenant with God to do only His will, as it is written in the “volume of the book”. And this is precisely what He prompted me to do too, to do His will as written in the Bible.
In Hebrews 10:16 God says that after making a covenant with us, He will put His laws in our hearts and write them in our minds. And that is how I experienced it since, that He makes verses alive in my heart and mind! If I ask Him what His will is (because I want to do His will), then He reminds me of certain verses and starts making them clear in my mind. A verse that maybe didn’t speak so much to me before, all of a sudden becomes now alive! And then I know what I should do! To mention one example, at a stage I wondered why somebody was always doing things in a way that I didn’t like. When I asked Jesus what I should do about it, John 21:22 suddenly popped up in my mind, “If I want him to stay (do this or that), what is that to you? You follow me!” And I knew that it was Jesus speaking to me to focus on what I must do in my own life.
I learned that Jesus, when He was on earth, had it in exactly the same way. Jesus never followed His own mind and inclinations but had to hear everything from the Father (Joh.5:19,30). Just like Jesus had to give up His own will and die to His own will and opinions in order to do the will of His Father, so I must do!
Words like “you died” (Col.3:2) then became very clear to me. When you cannot do your own will any longer, it is the same as to “die to yourself”. And if you only do the will of somebody else, then it is that person who is living in you! And if I do the will of Jesus, then it is He living in me!
What Paul writes in Gal.2:20 then also became very clear, where he says, “I am crucified with Christ, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…” Paul was not crucified with Jesus on Golgotha. Jesus was crucified with two robbers! But the day Paul gave up all of his own will, then his will and his “life” was crucified. And when he started to do the will of Jesus instead, Christ was living in him. And so, it is exactly the same with me. Jesus lives in me! For I am not doing my own will any longer, but only His will.
And how do I know what is His will? His will is written in the Bible, and the Spirit makes the verses clear and alive to me! I myself cannot make these words alive and clear, but the Spirit can! So, I can also say that the life that I now live, is the life of Christ, as He makes His will clear in my heart.
WHAT DRIVES ME
And now I can answer the question, “What makes me tick?” “What drives me?” “What inspires me?” It is Jesus! He who lives in me, who prompts me, who through His Spirit makes things clear to me and who gives me the power to do what He wants me to do.
And as I live each day, Jesus shows me more and more what is still part of my own will. And when He shows me that, I give it up! That means I die to myself so that He can live in me. And then He increases in my life, and I, my own will, become less and less. This is actually what it means to grow in Jesus, or “in all things to grow up to Him.” Ef.4:15.