Summary: We must understand the nature of God’s will. Jesus thought of the will of God as the sovereign wisdom and justice and goodness by which all things are governed.
Thy Will Be Done
A seminary student was at least honest when he filled out a questionnaire to provide information concerning his experience and preference for a profile to be used in helping him locate his first pastorate. One question asked, “Where would you like to locate?” In reply the seminary student said, “Anywhere the Lord leads – in Georgia.”
We must understand the nature of God’s will. Jesus thought of the will of God as the sovereign wisdom and justice and goodness by which all things are governed. This is an utter contrast to the attitude that considers the will of God to be that which a cold, cruel fate imposes. Some associate the will of God only with tragedy, when in reality the will of God is something to be embraced rather than endured.
We put too much confidence in our own wisdom. The heavenly Father does not wish to crush our will and make us into slaves. Instead, he wants to eliminate the discord and the destructive tensions of life and to enable us to live a lift of harmony and beauty. To surrender to his will is to purify, exalt, and enrich our will.
We fear God’s will because we fail to take the long look and recognize that life does not cease when death comes. God sees on both sides of the curtain that we call death.
Wise parents insist that children be studious. These parents know the value of preparation by experience. The principles and guide rule these parents establish for their children are not indications of a desire to restrict the development and suppress the happiness of their children, but rather to bring out the best that the children are capable of doing. Even so it is with the will of the heavenly Father.
I. A confession that we have departed from God’s will
a. If we would properly understand the petition “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” we must confess that we have departed from God’s will.
i. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6)
ii. We have departed from God’s will in our conversation, our conduct, our choices, and our careers.
b. This confession acknowledges that our failures and frustrations are the result of our ignoring God’s will.
i. Here is the real cause for our inward unrest, our frustrations, our recurring unhappiness.
c. By praying this prayer, we acknowledge humankind’s responsibility for the mess in which the world finds itself.
II. God has a will for this earth
a. God is not absent from what he has created, he is very present in our world.
b. The universe itself is constantly obedient to the will of God.
i. The clouds float through the sky in peaceful obedience to his will.
ii. The stars burn and glisten against the night according to his will.
iii. The planets roll in their mighty orbits and revolutions according to his will.
c. The angels perfectly obey the will of God in heaven.
i. There is no interruption in their obedience because of sin.
ii. No resistance to hi swill because of temptation.
iii. No flaw in the doing of his will because of weariness.
iv. No pain or guilt in their actions because of a rebellious will.
v. The obedience of the angels is free, constant, spontaneous, and happy.
d. The heavenly pattern of submission to the will of God is to be our pattern here on this earth.
i. To the degree that we follow the heavenly pattern of submission to the will of God, to that same degree we cooperate with God in the bringing of his kingdom here on earth.
ii. He would have us to experience the holy happiness and harmony of a heavenly life here.
iii. This is the abundant life that Jesus Christ is eager to make a reality for each of us.
e. It is with this purpose in mind that Jesus sets before us the proper pattern for our prayer habits.
i. Our first concern is to be with God’s will.
ii. God’s way, and God’s work.
iii. When God’s will and God’s way, and God’s work have their proper place in our attitudes, ambitions, and actions, the deepest needs of our lives will have already been supplied.
f. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” he was giving them the divine blueprint by which they were to build a significant life of achievement that would bring complete satisfaction to their hearts and lives.
III. The Plea behind the Petition
a. This petition is a plea for help in making the divine will a regular of our attitudes.