Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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I've been thinking about self-will vs. a strong will. I'm thinking that everyone is self-willed until God fixes them but that some people are stronger in holding to their own will. I'm not sure if that's the way to put it or not, but it seems that if someone is strong willed, they think that they are right, and that makes it harder for them to "give in" to a different way of thinking. Then if God does make them right, they have to learn "how" to be right and still be humble enough to learn.
Is a person born with either a strong will or a weak will? A child's environment would have to play a big part in their nature, too. I'm thinking that a strong-willed child, being brought up by parents who are subdued by God, has a better chance of channeling that will after God's heart, rather than his own. Just like a strong-willed child, being brought up by strong and self-willed parents would have a very hard time believing God.
What an insightful letter! The difference between self-willed and strong-willed is something I do not remember ever considering. I think you are right in saying that all flesh is self-willed, but only some are strong willed. Whether strong-willed or weak-willed, we were all in bondage to self-will because the flesh was stronger than any of us.
I have to believe that the tendency toward being either strong-willed or weak-willed is to some extent inherited, but one's environment after entering into this world must be the other major factor. It is a combination of those two factors, our natural predisposition and our environment, that determines our character until Jesus kills that old man and gives us a new, holy nature. I have often said that overcoming the way we were reared as children is the most difficult of all our trials, but I should add that overcoming the nature with which we were born is equally difficult if not impossible.
We cannot say that strong-willed parents always produce strong-willed children because the opposite often is the case. Strong-willed mothers often produce effeminate young men. There are so many variables involved that we cannot make a chart showing what kind of parent produces what kind of child. (God is a perfect Father, but He has had some rotten kids.) But I will agree with you that a child who is brought up "in the fear and nurture of the Lord" has a better hope of finding happiness than a child left to himself or one who is brought up to do evil.
Thanks for the question.