August 16, 2022 Samuel Lindsay

Your Will Be Done

Your Will Be Done

The next thing Jesus teaches us to pray is "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Mat 6:10).


God's will is a matter of great consternation to many people. But it doesn't need to be!


Please, please, please do not obsess over all your life choices continually asking "Is it's God's will that I take that job? move to that house? marry that person? eat this ice-cream? etc..." God doesn't reveal intricate details in every moment on what you should do. Instead he gives you agency, a conscience being reformed by His Spirit and His revealed will from Heaven in the word of God. That's what you need to make those tough calls. Use the resources He's provided! Seeking more quickly devolves into superstition and mysticism.

More on godly decision-making some other time...


God's Will

With that off my chest, let's talk about God's will for a few moments. God's will is often looked at from a few different angles. For our purposes here, lets look at God's revealed will and what I'm calling His ordaining will.


God's revealed will is what God has commanded or promised. If God has promised to save His people, that's His will. If God said "Don't murder", that's His will for us.


But,


We know that there are things that happen that are against God's revealed will, yet intended and used by God. The Father, "who works all things according to the counsel of his will" (Eph 1:11), had Jesus "delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God" (Ac 2:23). So while the Romans and Jews sinned by executing the innocent Jesus, (going against God's revealed will), they were carrying out God's plan. That's what I'm calling God's ordaining will.


We cannot know God's ordaining will in each specific circumstance, but we can know how we should live. We can know "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Ro 8:28) but that may not give us insight into the specifics of why God allows natural disasters, dictators and "untimely" deaths.


Nevertheless, while we don't know the specifics, we can rejoice that God is at work for our good through his ordaining will. And we also know that God's revealed will (promises and commands) are for our good.


When we pray "Your will be done," we are happily asking for all of God's purposes to come to pass, both those which he has already promised, and the purposes which we don't yet know or understand. We know that He is good, and the rightful ruler over all, so we want His reign to take complete hold over everyone and everything.


We fail to follow God's revealed will at times; we sin. Our neighbours sin too, sometimes against us. Our governments don't obey God's will in every respect, nor do churches. On top of that, some of God's promises have not yet been brought to completion. So we pray that all of these things will be overcome when we say "Your will be done."


On earth as it is in heaven

Earth is the word the Bible uses for the realm in which we live, as opposed to the place where God and His host live called heaven. Heaven is conceived as a place that is above and beyond us - out of reach. Whereas the earth is the realm of living humanity and a place that has been infected by sin in a way that heaven has not.


While there is transmission between these two realms, such as Christ Jesus who became flesh on earth, or angels sent from heaven, or people appearing before God in heaven, the general idea is that God and his host live "up there" and we live "down here".


Heaven, being the domain of God, is a much holier place. It is a place where God's leadership and reign are unquestioned. His commands are carried out. His will is done. His glory is revealed.


This is not the case on earth at the moment, where there is plenty of rebellion and treason towards God's reign. Jesus already taught us to pray "your kingdom come" and now this petition is a request to see the reality of that kingdom manifested in the world around us, where we live.


We hope and long for a world where God's name is hallowed, where His righteousness reigns, and where His love pervades all. We basically hope for heaven to invade earth and make the place where God's lives that same place where we live (Rev 21:3).


Jesus Makes it Happen

We see in Jesus the ultimate example of a person who desires that the Father's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He prayed to his Father while he contemplated the weight of the task that stood before him; to atone for our sins. Yet Jesus said:


“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Lk 22:42).


He was willing to take the cup of the wrath of God if it meant that God's will was done. That was a preeminent concern for Jesus. Thank God that he did obey the Father, because he redeemed us from the Grave!


But, Jesus ask us to follow in his footsteps. While we don't earn our salvation by obedience, we still lay our lives down as a worshipful sacrifice to accomplish God's revealed will. We are called to give all even be ready to suffer for His sake, just like Jesus did (1 Pe 4:19).


A prayer that "God's will be done" means, at least in part, that we would individually carry out God's will insofar as it depends on us. Are you ready to pray this prayer and bend your life to His will?



"Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, 

     and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, 

     he will see his offspring and prolong his days, 

     and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand(Is 53:10).


"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Heb 13:20–21).


Samuel Lindsay