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Words: Lelia Naylor Morris (b. Apr. 15, 1862; d. July 23, 1929)
Music: Lelia Naylor Morris
Note: Mrs. Morris’s hymn was first published in 1900.
Batters in baseball speak of the “sweet spot” on a bat, the place of maximum effectiveness. The spot where the greatest energy is transferred to the hit ball, causing it to travel the farthest, and where there’s a minimum of sting to the batter’s hands. Because various factors are involved, the exact location varies from bat to bat, but some estimate it to be around 12-17 centimetres from the end of the barrel.
Spiritually speaking, is there a place of maximum effectiveness for Christian? A position of greatest efficiency, which also provides the greatest comfort and satisfaction? Again, it’s difficult to come up with one single answer. Each person is different, and a multitude of factors are involved. Furthermore, the Christian life is not a game. A lack of outward success (like striking out in baseball) may not always be a failure in God’s sight.
But having said that, there is one single answer to the question. There is a “sweet spot” in the life of the child of God. Though it may differ in some particulars from person to person, for each one of us it’s fundamentally the same. It is described by a phrase which, with slight variations, is found dozens of times in the Bible. The phrase is “the will of God.”
Many different things have come about by the exercise of divine will. The Scriptures themselves, for example, came by the will of God. They came to be when “holy men of God spoke [and wrote] as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:21). “The Lord gave the word” (Ps. 68:11). And God says, “The word which I speak will be done” (Ezek. 12:28).
The Bible is the means God uses to present the Christian gospel (Rom. 10:13-14). And it’s the will of God that those who believe be engaged in service for the Lord–not as a way of earning our salvation, but as a loving response to the One who saved us. David “served his own generation by the will of God” (Acts 13:36), and so did Paul, who was “called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God” (I Cor. 1:1).
Our eternal destiny is also assured according to the outworking of the sovereign will of God. “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:11-12).
Meanwhile, in general terms, it’s the desire of the Lord that we do His will, that His will and purpose be accomplished through us. Missionary and author Elisabeth Elliott said, “I have only one thing to do today: the will of God.”
Though the details will differ from person to person, according to the gifts and opportunities the Lord gives to each one, Ephesians 1:12, gives the fundamental idea: “that we should be to the praise of His glory.” To that end, it’s God’s will that we “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). Whatever choices and decisions we make, whatever we do and say, our goal should be to honour the Lord, and become more and more like Christ.
Lelia Naylor Morris was a prolific hymn writer, giving us dozens of songs, usually both words and music. In 1900, she published Sweet Will of God, about finding the true “sweet spot” of Christian living. It says:
CH-1) My stubborn will at last hath yielded;
I would be Thine, and Thine alone;
And this the prayer my lips are bringing,
“Lord, let in me Thy will be done.”
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer;
Till I am wholly lost in Thee;
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee.
CH-3) Thy precious will, O conquering Saviour,
Doth now embrace and compass me;
All discords hushed, my peace a river,
My soul, a prisoned bird, set free.
CH-4) Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever,
My wayward feet no more to roam;
What power from Thee my soul can sever?
The centre of God’s will my home.
That last line sums it up beautifully. “The centre of God’s will my home.” Like the sweet spot on a baseball bat, the place of greatest blessing and fullest peace is in the centre of His will.
1) What things are implied by the calling God’s will our “home”?
2) The word “sweet” can refer to a sensation of taste. But it can also speak of that which is agreeable and delightful to mind and heart. How does the latter apply to God’s will?