A comparison is made with Israel in the wilderness as being an example of those who set out but who never finished the race. What was the matter with them? There is a reference which perhaps touches the secret core of their failure: “A generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God” (Psalm 78:8).
This seems to indicate a breakdown in the matter of the will. It is true that the Hebrews may have been stumbled by the natural mind and natural emotions, but the main point of failure seems to have been, like Israel of old, in the realm of the will. Whether this natural will is regarded as weak or strong, it has a treacherous effect on spiritual life. There can only be real progress as this natural will is set aside in favor of the will of God.
It was on this basis that the great Author of our faith set out on His race: “I am come… to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). What a battle – He had to remain true to the will of God! Even with Him there was that which had to be brought under or set aside, and His was a perfect nature. Our natures are far from perfect; so clearly we shall need to be conquered by the will of God if we are to make progress in the race.
We should remember that the opportunity to know this all-embracing fullness of Christ only comes to us because of His infinite capacity for letting go. But for that, He would never have come to us at all. But for that, He would never have put up with life here on earth for one single day. The story of the laying aside of His glory, the emptying of Himself, His humiliation, His death on the cross, would never have been written if it had not been that He was able at all points to let go and accept the will of God.
“Wherefore… God highly exalted him, and gave unto him…” (Philippians 2:9)