Do we realize the full implication of these words? We pray for God’s Will to be done. But do we really mean it?
Mt 6:10 thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Are we really ready for God’s will to be done in our lives?
Not God’s will – as we have created Him.
God’s will – for which He has created us.
This is part 6 in a series of 10 looking at the Lord's Prayer, as given to us in Matthew 6:9-15.
You can view the entire series by clicking on the link just under the title line. Or, you can see the entire series list in the right sidebar.
In this post, we’ll look specifically at part of Matthew 6:10. God’s Kingdom was discussed in Part 4. This time, we’ll look at praying for God’s Will to be done on earth.
On a related note, it’s hard to believe it’s been this long, but four years ago I wrote something called Thy Will – or my will – be Done?
That one was also related to another one called Quantum Computers – Quantum God?
I invite you to check them out for background information.
So let’s start with an easy situation.
When our will and God’s Will coincide, of course we’re more than willing for God’s Will to be done!
He is giving is exactly what we want.
But – is that really the case? Or do we have even the “easy” situation wrong? In fact – do we not have it exactly backwards?
He’s not giving us what we want. At least not in the sense of us wanting His Will to be done.
In fact – if we truly want His Will to be done – then we should properly look at this “easy” situation as one where we want what He’s giving us.
All the words are the same – but the difference in order is huge.
He is giving us exactly what we want.
we want exactly what He is giving us.
Take a closer look. Try copying / pasting the words on your computer. There is no difference in the words used. Just the order.
And that second order puts God first – where He belongs.
When our will matches God’s – it’s because our desire is for the “right” thing.
It’s not because we necessarily wanted that thing – whatever it is – but because we wanted what He thought was best for us.
Let’s look at a not so easy situation.
Let’s say there’s something that we like to do. We think we could “take it or leave it” as far as whether or not we continue to do that thing.
But then it becomes evident that God’s Will is for us to stop doing that thing.
Can we really stop doing it – whatever “it” is?
Then – let’s assume that we actually stop doing “it”.
How do we now feel about not doing it any more?
Are we really OK with not doing that thing?
Or do we hold some level of resentment about what God’s requiring of us?
And if we are feeling resentment – how strong is it?
How much does it affect the rest of our lives?
How long will it last?
How will it affect other instances where our will and God’s Will are in conflict?
Was it really a “take it or leave it” situation to begin with?
Or – are we in the situation of the rich young man in Matthew 19 –
Mt 19:16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?”
Mt 19:17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
Mt 19:18 “Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, “ ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’’”
Mt 19:20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Mt 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mt 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Mt 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
The young man probably thought he was doing pretty much what was required of him to go to Heaven. But then he found out that wasn’t true. With all the money he had, he likely thought there wouldn’t be anything required of him that he couldn’t “take or leave”. But then Jesus asked for him to give up the money. All of a sudden, the young man goes from thinking he’s got an easy path to Heaven – to walking away from that path entirely.
It didn’t have to be money. Yes – money is the most common problem for us. But it could be anything.
As long as we think we’re OK with doing something – it’s easy to say we can live without it. But when we’re asked to not do / have that thing anymore – will we still think it’s something we can do without?
Let’s look at a difficult situation.
It’s not really too hard to find that difficult situation.
As we just saw, even something we thought would be simple to stop – can easily turn into something we don’t want to do without.
At this point – just imagine the last thing you want to do in your life – whether it be something you want to do, but would have to stop – or something you really don’t want to do, but are asked to do.
Are you willing to – in that worst case scenario – give up your most precious desires / enter into your worst case life situation – because you know it’s God’s Will?
Even though it’s 180 degrees opposite of what you want?
If even the “not so easy” situation can turn into a worst case scenario, what chance is there for the difficult ones?
As we saw – even in the “not so simple” case – even when we do submit to God’s will – there can be some resentment.
That’s not surprising.
In fact – I’d expect it.
I’ve felt it myself.
The question is – what comes after that?
How will it affect us – our relationship with God – and with other people?
And then – in the difficult situations – as I said – what chance do we have?
Continuing the example of the rich young man –
Mt 19:25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
The disciples were at the point where we are now. What possible chance do we have to actually submit our will to God’s Will?
Jesus’ response –
Mt 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
And we see the key.
Looking at an individual “thing” that we must do / not do – we don’t have a chance. With man this is impossible
But if we can truly submit to God’s will – no matter what – then anything is possible. but with God all things are possible
Sounds easy – if we don’t look too closely. But the disciples did look more closely – as we will –
Mt 19:27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
But look at exactly what Peter said. There’s something the disciples have already done. Something that maybe we haven’t done yet.
We have left everything to follow you!
Do you see it?
The disciples have already left everything – in order to follow Jesus.
They already did what I said above –
they have already submitted everything in their lives – including their wills – to follow Jesus.
Whatever He asks – they are ready to do.
Because they have already put following His will at the top of their list of things to do.
Have we done that?
But we could – with His help.
It’s not an easy thing for us to do.
It’s a really good thing that we’re forgiven. Even when we don’t always put His will at the top of our to do list.
The catch is – as we come to love Him more and more – it will start to bother us that we’re putting our will above His.
And then we’ll ask for His help to put His will above ours.
And we will get better at it.
But we’re still human.
On earth as it is in Heaven
OK – let’s make this really difficult. We’ve seen the potential issues here on earth. But let’s not forget that we’re praying for God’s Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. This implies that the way things are in Heaven is what we ultimately want. And – since Heaven is presumably where we want to be after we die – the way things are done in Heaven should be pretty important to us.
We’ve seen how difficult this whole “God’s Will” thing can be while we’re alive. What about after we die? After we die – there will be no such thing as doing what we want and being forgiven when we don’t. It’s a place where – as Peter so aptly put it –
Mt 19:27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you!
“everything” includes putting God’s Will above ours.
This begs the question – do we have the faith and trust in God that we’re willing to do this – forever?
The rich young man didn’t. And walked away from it.
In the end – what would we do?
This reminds me of one of my favorite books, The Great Divorce, by C. S. Lewis. The overview of this book on barnesandnoble.com says –
C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil. 1)Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis | 9780060652951 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Without giving away too many details about how the events in the book take place, what we see in it is a number of people who are given an opportunity to choose between Heaven and Hell. One would expect that all of them would obviously choose Heaven. However – that’s not what happens. Some get a small peak at Heaven, and leave. Others actually refuse even a visit to Heaven to see what it’s like before rejecting it.
Some may feel that as Christians – at least people who claim to be Christian and who supposedly have a relationship with Jesus – would certainly choose Heaven. But it seems that’s not true either. Take a look at this –
Ten Healed of Leprosy
Lk 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
Lk 17:14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
Lk 17:15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Lk 17:17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
All of Jesus’ parables have a deeper meaning. If this one is telling us about those who have had an encounter with Jesus – and those who are willing to acknowledge Him – it doesn’t bode well for us. Only one in ten was willing to do that in this parable. Ten percent. Not good odds.
No wonder Jesus said –
The Narrow and Wide Gates
Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
It’s not that the gate is so small that only a few can find it. No – it’s more like the gate is as wide as it needs to be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t need to be very wide. It doesn’t need to be wide if 9 out of 10 people take the road to destruction with the broad gate – and only one in ten choose to make the effort required to find the narrow gate. What makes this even more sad is that the only effort “required” in order to find that narrow gate is to ask God for help – which requires only that we believe Him.
In spite of all the talk about doing good works to get into Heaven, Jesus refutes all of that with one simple sentence – and tells us all what the “work” is that we need to do –
Jn 6:28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jn 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
So where are we? In a way – back at the beginning.
Thy Will Be Done
And let’s add one word to that –
Your Will Be Done Always
Realize that’s the goal – for God’s will to be done. For our will to be in line with His. For our will to be changed to match His.
Once we realize that when we say those words – Thy Will Be Done – means allowing Him to change our hearts so that what we want aligns with what He wants –
Then we are in the situation Jesus said above –
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
This series started with a post titled – This then is how you should pray….
It talked about how it’s not just the words that matter. It’s understanding what those words mean.
So when we pray – just saying “Thy Will Be Done” isn’t what’s important.
It’s understanding the meaning behind those words.
It’s understanding the implications – both short term (while we’re alive) and long term (eternity) of those words.
So when we pray – we should feel free to say those exact words – but also feel just as free to take Jesus literally – using the word “how” rather than “what” – and add whatever words we need to express the help we need to align our will with God’s Will.
Also remember the earlier verses – like “Our Father” – and recognize Him and give Him glory and praise for being our Father and loving us.
And remember – His name is hallowed – and exactly what that word means.
And remember that our goal is the same as His – for His Kingdom and Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven – with all that goes with those desires.
Yes – our prayers will get longer. It won’t be just a few short verses.
But our prayers will be so much more meaningful when we expand on those words. When we make them personal to us. When we make that personal connection between us and God. After all – He already knows what we want. And what we need. More on that later. But for now – also realize the importance of making following God’s Will the number one item on our to do list. And acknowledging that to Him. And asking Him for help.
Otherwise, the odds aren’t in our favor. If we take God for granted, our future isn’t looking too good.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
If we appear to start off right, as did the ten who were healed, but don’t do anything after that, were we really “healed” in the fullest sense of the word?
“Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Take careful note here – all ten were cleansed, but only one was made well by his faith.
Even though all ten started off well – only one was really made well, and that only by faith.
Who’s will are you praying for?
God’s will – as you have created Him?
Or God’s will – as He really is?
Hope to see you on the other side of the narrow gate.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis | 9780060652951 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble|