Matthew 6:10 “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God wants to save everyone. God wants people to love each other. Someone might be tempted to ask, “Who would want to oppose that?” But we know the sad answer to the question. Everyone does in some way or another. You don’t need the moral decline of our world detailed for you. Even the majority of the entertainment available is little more than glorifying sex and violence. A twenty-year-old survey taken in Germany asked people about the value of each of the ten commandments. Only four of the ten were considered important by the majority of those who responded. The one considered least important? “You shall have no other gods,” the very first and greatest commandment of all.
This battle between God’s will and man’s is taking place closer to home than we like to admit. Don’t we find ourselves in the same struggle with the Apostle Paul? “I know that the nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19). What is it that we want? Do we waste God’s gift of sexuality outside the bonds of marriage? Our Lord wants it used only in marriages to make them strong, the foundation for strong families. Surveys suggest that Christians struggle with this sin as much as the general population.
We are affluent people. How often wouldn’t we rather waste our time and money surrounding ourselves with trinkets and luxuries and pleasures instead of investing in the future of our children, the spread of the gospel, or the needs of our neighbors? If we followed God’s will in the matter, we could not only benefit society but swell the population of heaven! Too easily we get wrapped up in how others are catering to our needs, and where we fit in the pecking order of those with whom we associate. Our Lord seeks selfless servants–people whose highest joy is found in serving someone else, no matter how thankless or even hostile that person might be!
My will battles God’s. His will doesn’t come naturally to me. So Jesus must teach us to pray, “Thy will be done.” Only he can lead us to pray “thy will be done” from the heart. He does so by the gift of faith.
He starts by preaching the gospel to us. Jesus takes me by the hand and walks me through his life. He makes me see his miracles of love. As he does so, he promises me that this is not just the kindness one very good man showed to a leper, a cripple, an outcast, a grieving father and mother, a broken sinner, or a hungry crowd many years ago. This is an earthly demonstration of the love with which God in heaven still loves you and me.
He shows me that there is nothing he would spare, no cost too high for him to pay, to save us from our sins and make us his very own. There is nothing more precious in all the universe than the one and only Son of God. Yet God would literally crucify his own Son to save me. Along with this incredible love come so many promises to take care of my needs and bless my life and cover me with his protection. His goodness finally overwhelms my unbelief and transforms my stubborn will as it gives life to the miracle of faith.
That is not to say that we have already been transformed into heavenly perfection. My old will still defies God’s. But by the gift of faith God has also given us a new will. It not only agrees with God’s, and wants his will to be done. It longs for everything on earth to conform to God’s will from the heart. It can’t help but go to God in prayer and plead with him, “Thy will be done.” By faith God has changed us to want and to do what he wants us to do.
This, then, is how God gets his will done on earth: he loves his enemies into his friends, he forgives stubborn rebels into joyful servants. They, in turn, take the power of the gospel and share it with others, so that the miracle of faith can happen again and again, and more and more are transformed into willing workers. In the end, this is the only way that God’s will can be done, because only those who love and trust him from the heart are ever doing what God wants, no matter how people may behave on the outside.