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Those Juniors, Part 24: Arbiter of Destiny

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: There is a difference between the will power, the won’t power, and the want power. Self-control is absolutely necessary, and is accomplished in a great part by the three judges. 

Let us look at the accompanying diagram and trace the three possible paths that desire can branch into:1

  1. Desire may follow the pathway of self-expression, where driven by impulse and unhampered by reason, ideals, or conscience, it ministers to the animal passions of selfishness.
  2. Desire may be repressed, unrecognized, buried in the subconscious mind, where it festers and produces overt actions, strong urges, and moral disintegration.
  3. Desire may be ushered into the council chamber of the mind, where it listens to the advice of reason, the heart’s ideal, and conscience. As they decide, it becomes the will of the individual, and following the controlled, sublimated pathway, results in ennobling the life. It is, of course, quite possible that the voice of the heart’s ideal may be so wicked that it will overpower the voice of reason and conscience, in which case the will turns downward, into the path of willful sin and ministers to the selfish and the animal within us even more so than impulsive sin. From observation, however, I believe that by far the majority of the wickedness and sin we see in juniors is not deliberate, willful sin, but is the thoughtless, impulsive type. Most frequently when they take time to think through, reason and conscience influence the will to follow the controlled sublimated pathway.

The Instinct of Hunger
To be specific, let us take the instinct of hunger and follow it through these three possible paths. Arising from the cells and the organs of the body, here comes the desire for food. If a man eats impulsively, he will eat anything he wants, any time he wants, any quantity he wants. He will just eat, eat—drink, drink, as his selfish animal passions dictate, and what is the product? A glutton and a drunkard.

It is not probable, but you can imagine that a man could repress the desire to eat. He might say, “Oh, no! no! It is wicked. I must not do it. I would not think of it.” And what would happen? Such a man could be overcome by some strong urge to steal food or even murder someone, to satisfy that unrecognized craving.

But, now let us go into the council chamber of the mind. Reason says, “You want to eat? Fine. Remember that for the various functions of the body you need proteins, carbohydrates, fats, calcium, vegetable salts, and vitamins. You will find your calcium in nuts and vegetables, your protein in grains, beans, and seeds, and your salts and vitamins in fruits and greens. Don’t you like greens? I don’t care whether or not you like them. You need them. They are good for you.”

The voice of the heart’s ideal says, “Of course, you know you are what you eat. Now what kind of man do you want to be? Well and strong? Alert? A clear brain? Surely, you will find all this in a diet of fruits, grains, and nuts.”

The voice of conscience enters another field. It says, “No poisons or unclean foods. For he that destroyeth the temple of God, him will God destroy; God cannot approve of anything unclean.”
When the man listens to these voices, he wills to eat the right food, at the right time, and in the right quantity, and what is the result? A noble, healthy, happy man.

The Instinct of Self-Preservation
Following the instinct of self-preservation with its accompanying emotions of fear and pugnacity along the pathway of self-expression, acting always selfishly and impulsively, produces only a coward and a bully. The repression of this instinct develops the strange paralysis and blindness of shell-shocked soldiers.

Controlled, a man learns that some big noises have very little bite and other small noises are all bite. He learns when to run and when to stand. He becomes an alert, brave, courageous man.
Think of it: the difference between a coward and a brave, courageous man is only the IBoth are produced by the same instinct.

The Sex Instinct
Let us follow the sex instinct along the three possible pathways:

  1. Uncontrolled, driven along the pathway of self-expression by impulse, it leads to indiscriminate petting, lasciviousness, and adultery in all its forms. It turns love into lust, breaks hearts, destroys homes, and ruins lives. 
  2. Repression may produce prudishness and certain forms of neurasthenia. 
  3. Controlled, however, this instinct is largely responsible for the creative arts, music, literature, and inventions. It is the base of courtesy, chivalry, and all home love, and it bears fruit in nursing, missionary work, and all welfare work. It hardly seems possible that the profligate and the self-sacrificing missionary, the harlot and the selfless mother, are inspired by the same instinctive urge. The great difference is accomplished by the will.

With this diagram still before you, study through the following paragraphs:

“Oh that every one might realize that he is the arbiter of his own destiny! Your happiness for this life, and for the future, immortal life lies with yourself.”2

“Remember, dear young friends, that each day, each hour, each moment, you are weaving the web of your own destiny. . . . If you choose to follow your own inclinations, un-Christlike habits will bind you with bands of steel. . . . But if you make brave efforts to overcome selfishness, allowing no opportunity to pass for helping those around you, the light of your example will guide others to the cross.”3

“The will of man is aggressive, and is constantly striving to bend all things to its purposes. If it is enlisted on the side of God and right, the fruits of the Spirit will appear in the life; and God has appointed, ‘glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good.’”4

“As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent.”5

How thrilling it is to realize the unlimited development of the powers that can be ours and the fruits of the Spirit that can be ours when our wills are placed on the side of Christ. Yet how solemn to think that though God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of struggling humanity rather than allow them to be overcome,6 it is not the work of good angels to control minds against the will of the individuals. It is not until the one in danger realizes his danger and chooses to call on Christ for help that help comes.7

Let us notice the new significance that comes to these scriptures as we keep the same diagram in mind.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”8

“If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”9

“I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”10

“Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord. . . . If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword.”11

We can but exclaim, What a wonderful Saviour! He has prepared eternal life, He has built the city, He has opened the way with His shed blood, He has promised every angel to be sent to our aid if need be, but there is one thing Christ has not done and will not do—there is one thing the angels cannot do for us. You and I must do the willing for ourselves. You and I must do the choosing.

“The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe the Saviour’s word. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is ‘dead in trespasses.’ He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin.”12

(Next week: “Molding or Crushing?”)

1. For further study see Psychology for Bible Teachers, by Edward A. Annett, pp. 47-60, 156-180.
2. Messages to Young People, p. 31.
3. Ibid., p. 212.
4. Ibid., p. 54.
5. Ibid., p. 101.
6. Ibid., p. 94.
7. Ibid., pp. 52, 53.
8. Prov. 4:23.
9. Rom. 8:13.
10. 1 Cor. 9:27.
11. Isa. 1:18-20.
12. Ministry of Healing, pp. 84, 85.

Copyright © 1973 by Eric B. Hare. Used by permission.

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