What is God’s will?
For weeks now, we have studied the Kingdom of God — how he sought to establish it since creation here on earth and finally its consummation at the end of time. We learned how his kingdom came through Christ and lives on through true believers. Now we read in Matthew 6:10b we are to pray for God’s will to be done. More specifically, done on earth as it is being done in heaven. At first pass, this sounds like a statement of the obvious. Of course, we want God’s will done here. Of course, his will is being done in heaven. What a nice fluffy, comfy thing for us to pray, right?
OK then, article complete.
But, before we go, may I suggest a few thoughts on God’s will? When we pray like this, what do we mean by God’s will? Talk about pandora’s box! “God’s will” is the subject of debate, division, deception and much discussion. Books have been written, sermons preached, bible studies taught and so on. All because we want to know the will of God.
Is understanding the will of God really so hard? Is his will so elusive or mysterious? I do not think so. The confusion comes in when we try to make what we want or what we will to bend or redirect his will. The challenges arise when we look inward instead of outward. That is, when we do not deny self. We try to force a round peg into a square hole. Our will imposed upon God. That never resolves out well. You see, if our prayers are self-centered in benefactor, then we have wholly missed what God’s will is. Praying, “your will be done” means exactly that. That the will of the Almighty God be done. So, we’re back to “what is the will of God?”
Here are the characteristics of his will from his revelation through scripture:
His will is perfect, he is always spot on. Proverbs 16:4 reads, “The Lord works out everything to its proper end — even the wicked for a day of disaster.” And Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” This is the way to know his perfect will.
His will is peace seeking. John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” And Ephesians 6:15 tells us, “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” God’s will is seeking peace with his creation.
His will is best, because he knows all, which means he knows better than we do about the future. Psalms 40:5 proclaims, “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” Look at what God planned throughout creation. From butterflies to the unusual fish of the ocean to the variable climates to various human races. Indeed, Father Knows Best.
His will is sovereign, it will be accomplished, which is victory for us, not defeat. Just because our will is subordinate to his, does not mean to become a limp noodle. William Barclay said, “When we are to pray, “Thy will be done,” we are not praying for resignation; we are praying for triumph.” Romans 8:28 encourages us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” And Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” His sovereignty means we share in his victory.
In this, our first step of examining the scriptures about God’s will, we found that it is: perfect, peace seeking, best for us, and is sovereign through to triumph. There is more the scripture reveals, however, let us take a few characteristics at a time in order that we might contemplate them for understanding and application. We will examine four more characteristics next time.
Let us pray “Your will be done” with these ideas in mind.