Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:9-10
When Jesus gave us the pattern of how to pray He was sure to include, “May Your will be done.” Who’s will is Jesus talking about? He’s talking about the Father’s will. He prays that the Father’s will would be done on earth, just like it is done in heaven. Why? Because heaven’s perfection is the result of the Father’s will being done. The more we allow the Father’s will to be done, the more our lives will be filled with the essence of heaven.
Many people are resistant to God’s will. They live under the delusion that if they could only accomplish their own will in life, then life would be good. But they are badly mistaken. God’s will always brings about the most happiness in our lives, although not always instantly. But God isn’t as concerned about the instant as we are. He knows that even if we must suffer temporarily, we will be glad when the suffering is through, for ‘what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.’ Romans 8:18. The great things that God has in store for us will far surpass any suffering we incur on this earth to the point that it will be completely forgotten.
Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. – Isaiah 65:17
So why do people resist the will of the Father? The adversary of our souls is hard at work. He seeks to deceive us as to the character of the Father. He’s done it since the beginning, and will continue his lies to the end. In the garden of Eden his tactic with the woman was to persuade her into believing that God wasn’t looking for out her best interest. He convinced her to believe that God was trying to hold something back from her. His lies persuaded her to reject the will of God and pursue her own will. It didn’t turn out too good for her. Especially so when she had her first kid!
God is always looking out for our best interest, just as much as a loving parent does their children. But God has one up on human parents because He knows everything. Your parents might not know what will truly make you happy, but God does, and if you trust Him completely, He will bring about joy in your life that no person or circumstance could ever take away.
Besides rejecting the will of God the way that Eve did, there are other reasons people resist the will of God. Some resist out of fear. Some resist out because they don’t feel worthy or forgiven.
Moses resisted God’s will for his life because he felt inadequate. Jeremiah resisted God’s will for his life because he felt like he was too young. Isaiah resisted God’s will for his life because he felt too sinful. Solomon eventually rejected God’s will for his life because of women! King Zedekiah rejected God’s will for his life because of fear. The fear of man not only cost him much pain, but it also cost him the lives of his sons, who were executed in his sight (See Jeremiah 38 & 39). Many Jewish leadership in Jesus’ day rejected the will of God for there lives because of the fear of man. They loved the praise of men more than they loved the praise of God (John 12:42-43).
Why are you resisting or rejecting God’s will for your life? His will is plain before you. He has written it in his book for the world to see. His will is for you to drop your own life and follow His Son, Jesus. “But,” you might say, “this is my life. I want to do with it what I please.” Let’s say that it is your life (which it’s not because all you have is from God). Would it not be wise to put your life into the hands of One who knows you better than you know yourself? Would it not be wise to give your life into the care of the One who never fails? There is no wiser thing to do.
“But,” you might say, “there is this thing I want to do, or there is this person I want to be with, and I know, or I am afraid, that it is not the will of God for my life.” Yes, when you follow Jesus you will be required not just to give up one or two things for God, but to give up your entire life to him. He may require you to sell all you have and to give to the poor. He may require you to leave your extended family and go to a foreign country as a missionary. He may require you to give up many pleasurable things that you do so that you might have time to do service in the kingdom of God. But know this: No person that has ever given up everything into God’s trust has ever regretted it. God is the perfect care-taker of your life. He will fill your life to overflowing. He will fill your life with good things, and you will never know more joy or happiness then if you served Him.
When Jesus was praying the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew chapter six, things were going pretty well for Him. He was out doing the will of God: healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Most christians would be overjoyed to be used by God in such ways, and to pray ‘Thy will be done,’ would be easy. But what about when ‘thy will be done’ is much harder? Jesus set the example for us in this, as well. Look at Jesus, our example, as He faces the soon reality of His suffering and death in the garden:
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” – Matthew 26:36-42
The bible says that his ‘soul was crushed with grief to the point of death.’ Why? Why was He so sad? Could it be because He was wrestling so greatly with His decision to go to the cross? He didn’t have to go to the cross. Jesus said that no one took His life away, but that He offered it up willing. He could have walked away. At no other time in His life were His carnal desires so contrary to the will of God. In His flesh, He wanted so much to be spared from the torture of His death. The agony of His prayer was this wrestle between the desires of His flesh and the desire of His heart, that is, to do His Father’s will. He finally emerges from this prayer with victory over His flesh. He confidently rises up to face His accusers with the mantra burning strong inside His heart, “Thy will be done!”
Jesus knew that the Father’s will was the best course of action. It was hard for Him to see that when faced with such suffering. But now Jesus is exalted at the right hand of God. The agony of the cross is finished, and Jesus looks gladly at His former pain and says, “I’m glad I did it, because I did it for you, my child.”
Can you see it, too? Can you see that His will is always best? What desire or fear are you struggling with that is keeping you from the will of God? Go to Him in prayer. Agonize over the fact that your desire to do your own will is greater than your desire to do God’s will. Ask God to strengthen you and help you. And like Jesus, pray repeatedly, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” You will find that the more you are submitted to the will of God the happier you will be. As you are seeking God’s kingdom, He’ll be busy filling your life with joy that is unspeakable, and full of glory!