1. Self-will turned Paradise into a desert. It has been well said, "My will NOT Thine be done, turned Paradise into a desert. Thy will not Mine be done, turned the desert into a Paradise." Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Because our Lord Jesus was obedient in all things, willing to go to the cross for our sakes, and to do the Father's will, we have redemption. In Luke 22: 42, He said, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
2. Self-will is the mother of sin. Isaiah records the sin of Lucifer where in his heart he said, "I will"-- Isaiah 14:12,13: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.
"I will"...This is illustrated in Cain, when he in self-will came to God in his own way instead of God's way, and was jealous because Abel's sacrifice was accepted and his was rejected, which jealousy led him to kill his brother. "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." (1 John 3:12)
3. Self-will is the forerunner of disaster. Lot chose the well-watered plain of Sodom, but he lost all he had in Sodom, and only escaped with his life (See Genesis 13:10).
4. Self-will shuts out from blessing. Moses struck the rock twice-- when God told him to speak to it, and was shut out of the Promised Land in consequence. That Rock symbolized Christ. Numbers 20:11,12 says: And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
5. Self-will brings punishment. King Saul, through pride and disobedience lost his kingdom and the favor of God through consulting his own will in opposition to God's Word, when God told him to destroy ALL the Amalekites. (1 Samuel 15:23). Saul forgot that it was God who made him king over the people, he refused to obey the Lord and because of his transgression was removed out of his place.
6. Self-will brings injury to others. Pharaoh of Egypt would not let the children of Israel go. His own people begged him to release the Israelites but he refused until his own land was devestated by plagues and the first-born of every house in Egypt died as a consequence. Pharaoh was a man filled with pride and self-will. He saw the power of God-- and he refused to obey the Lord and so God hardened his heart some more. Pride always goes before a fall and self-will accompanies pride.
Exodus 10:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him.
Exodus 10:7 And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?
In the end, he lost his wealth, his first-born son, and his army.
7. Self-will means a loss of blessing. The prodical son learned the hard way the difference between the swine troughs and the father's table, and between the far country and the homestead. (Luke 15:16,17). There is forgiveness with God, as with the case of the prodical son, but he still had reaped what he had sown and discovered that self-will leads to a loss of blessings and wasted years. As Believers in Christ, we are not under wrath but under grace, but we too can forfeit many blessings simply by not yielding to God.
We could go on and on with examples in the Bible of the Kings of Israel and Judah, who were rebellious in self-will. Not to mention Jonah, who learned the hard way, the consequences of self-will. Barnes writes in his commentary concerning Jonah:
"...he acted, as people often do, who dislike Godâ€™s commands. He set about removing himself as far as possible from being under the influence of God, and from the place where he â€œcouldâ€� fulfill them. God commanded him to go to Nineveh, which lay northeast from his home; and he instantly set himself to flee to the then furthermost west. Holy Scripture sets the rebellion before us in its full nakedness. â€œThe word of the Lord came unto Jonah, go to Nineveh, and Jonah rose up;â€� he did something instantly, as the consequence of Godâ€™s command. He â €œrose up,â€� not as other prophets, to obey, but to disobey; and that, not slowly nor irresolutely, but â€œto flee, fromâ€� standing â€œbefore the Lord.â€�
After being swallowed up by the great fish, Jonah repented of his sin in the belly of the fish and God had mercy upon the prophet and the great fish spit Jonah out...but he learned the hard way that self-will is a sin. When we say, "my will," in opposition to God's will, it is a very dangerous condition of the heart. Yet our blessed Savior-- the Lord Jesus Christ, was obedient to the Father in all things: "My meat is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work." And the Book of Romans tell us to yield ourselves unto God:
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
And it is God who empowers us, as Believers in Christ, to do His will: Hebrews 13:21: Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Let us always pray in the manner in which the Lord Jesus taught us: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven..."
1Jn 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us...
Bibliography: "Five Hundred Bible Readings" by F.E. Marsh