This is sparked by a gender debate, but it became a philosophical question for me all on its own, with its own personal application.

There are three words (alphabetically):

  • authority
  • desire
  • will

Authority simply is the means by which to carry out desire or will (or both).

My question ended up being:  what is the difference between a "will" and a "desire"  (I will put "will" in quotes to distinguish which will I will be writing about:  My "will" will win over my desire for chocolate.)

A desire is that which I want.  Carnal urges.  Feeling of "need" for that which is not a "need".

"Will" is the resolve to follow a path, whether or not that path is that which I desire.

Within a church body (my own experience), the board has a "will" that decides the direction of a church.  A congregation member (me) also has a will that believes the church should be heading in a different direction.

The board "wills" that this particular church has no need for a singles ministry.  The congregation member's "will" (a belief that the church should have a singles ministry conflicts with the board's decision.  Who wins?  After examining self, the congregation members sees that the "will" to have a singles ministry is (in reality) a desire, not a need.  The board's "will" will carry the day.  And that's a good thing.


The same church board "wills" that a variety of speakers come into the church for special events - including Sunday morning service.  The same congregation member (me) "wills" that she be in a church where the speakers are in agreement with denominational beliefs.  After examining the speakers and topics, the congregation member discovers that roughly half of the speakers are anti-Trinitarian, Oneness Pentecostals and Kansas City Revival members.  Decides that this is not a mere "desire", said congregation member confronts church leaders.  Getting nowhere, brings the matter to a higher authority (denomination leadership).

The first example is a "desire" for a singles ministry, the second is a "resolve" to see Biblical teaching in the church.

Could this have been different?  Sure, it was tempting to push (against the board) for a singles ministry and it would have been easier to cave in on the speaker issue.

Both of these issue illustrate the "will" within a hierarchy (church government)
How to apply this to on a more personal level?

I can apply it to my health journey in two (and opposite) ways.

I have a desire (want) to be more healthy.  The question becomes, do I have the "will" (resolve) to do what I need to do in order to have that desire met?

In the negative...I have a desire for (want) chocolate.  Snickers to be precise.  The question becomes, do I have the "will" to put down the candy bar and eat in a more healthy way?

Both of these  illustrate a struggle within one's self.

Simply put, my "desire" conflicts with my "will".  That which I should do, vs. that which I want to do.

A "feeling of I-want-to-have-that" vs. a lasting resolve to make it happen.

Within a couple?

I believe that Scripture gives a pattern of male leadership within the church and home.

Desires?  Each member of the couple should put the desires of the other in front of their own.  Desires are like preferences - a desire for chocolate cake vs. strawberry.  Vanilla cone vs. a twist.  Blue carpet vs. green.

"Will"?  A lasting resolve for the direction?  That (in a complementarian vs. egalitarian world), is stickier.  In a godly marriage, both spouses will study together and the direction of the home will be supplied by Scripture.  There are times when this will conflict.  Baptist vs. Methodist.  Infant baptism vs. not.
Slightly bigger, but not insurmountable...Pentecostal vs. cessation.   Reformed vs. Arminian.

These (although with great understanding) I believe that a wife can safely submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ (with limits:  I would not follow a husband to a One-ness church or to an Exclusive Psalmsidy  church.)

Larger issues:

  • A spouse that converts to another religion - I would put this under the second illustration of the church board and me.
  • A husband who wishes the wife to fall into sin.  If there is a difference of opinion of "sin", call the pastor.
  • An abusive situation (no matter which spouse and no matter who is being abused).  There is never a reason for abuse and every excuse is a bad one.

Does the husband have the right to "impose" his "will".

The jury is out.  I tend to think "not" - for the following reasons.

  • to have to impose his "will" means the wife is not being submissive in the first place.  If he is not leading into sin, then the wife is in sin.  If he is leading into sin, then the wife has every right to oppose him.
  • Either way, the path is not open is Matthew 18.  And counselors.
  • If the "will" is abuse.  No excuse.  Get out.  Now.  Don't wait.  Not for a ride, not for the kids to grow up, not for another day.

This will not solve any debate; it's about definitions...

(This post is not moderated, but the entire blog is set for all comments to be moderated until I am back from vacation.)

Sounds like a contradiction? It doesn't have to be.

In the introduction to "The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr", he is called a "pessimistic optimist"- the operative word being "optimist", with the qualifier being "pessimistic".

Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. (Rienhold Niebuhr)

We see both optimism and pessimism in this quote. Phil said (in a rather spirited political discussion with his dad) that democracy is the worst type of government...except for all the rest.

We see optimism in Christians we know that eternity with Christ is the ultimate in optimism.

We see pessimism in the present...human beings are sinners. There is pain and trial in this world.

"Men may be quite unable to define the meaning of life, and yet live by a simple trust that it has meaning. This primary religion is the basic optimism of all vital and wholesome human life."

I cannot see eternity, but I trust that God does.

To know that there is meaning, but not to know the meaning...that is bliss (J. Middleton Murray)

Let that rattle around for a while.

The most adequate religion solves its problems in paradoxes rather than schemes of consistency, and has never wavered in believing that God is both the ground of our existence and the ultimate pinnacle of perfection toward which existence tends.

I can relate to that. Surety is a thing of the world - embrace the paradoxes. Finding freedom as a bondservant to Christ.

These paradoxes are in the spirit of the great religion. the mystery of life is comprehended in meaning, though no human statement of meaning can fully resolve the mystery. The tragedy of life is recognized, but faith prevents tragedy from being pure tragedy . Perplexity remains, but there is no perplexity unto despair. Evil is neither accepted as inevitable nor regarded as a proof of the meaningless of life. Gratitude and contrition are mingled, which means that life is both appreciated and challenged. To such faith the generations are bound to return after they have pursued the mirages in the desert to which they are tempted from time to time by the illusions of particular eras.

It is the mystery that gives life meaning.