Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Wow, can you believe this study is just about over! It’s crazy how fast time can go by. Well let’s dig into our last verse.
Do you ever struggle with knowing the will of God? I do. Should I buy a used car or a new one? Should I attend this conference or another one? Should I homeschool my kids? Should I have more children? Should we adopt? Should I marry this man? How should I discipline my children? Which church should we attend? Should I change jobs? What should I study in college? Should I eat these Cheettos? The list could go on and on.
We have a lot of questions throughout our lives–goodness, just throughout our day!–and we all want to know, “What does God want me to do?” The questions is good. But some of us have a tendency to think it’s really hard to know the will of God. As if it is something hidden that we must dig for. As if it is something we might miss.
I want us to take a step back and consider the two primary ways God’s will is taught in Scripture. There is his will of purpose and his will of precept.
God’s Will of Purpose
“But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)
God’s will of purpose is his sovereign control of all things. We will call this his “sovereign will” or his “will of decree.” In other words, what God has determined to do he does. He cannot be stopped and this will cannot be broken. It always comes to pass. This will is sometimes called God’s “secret will” (Deut. 29:29) because we do not know what it is until it happens, unless he tells us what he is going to do. ie. the return of Jesus Christ.
God’s Will of Precept
God’s will of precept are the things he commands us to do. Think–the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, all the commands in the New Testament, etc. This is God’s will for us to obey. This will does not always come to pass, as we disobey God all the time.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.”
Here we have a very specific instance of what God commands of us: holiness, sanctification, sexual purity.
Phil 2:14 says,” Do everything without complaining or arguing.” This is another example of God’s will for us. For me. For you. It’s also an example of a command that we disobey.
Keeping in mind the two ways we should be thinking of God’s will (purpose and precept) let’s take a look at verse 10 in the Lord’s Prayer. When it says, “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is talking about God’s will of precept (commands). He is saying that in heaven God’s will is always perfectly carried out and obeyed, but it is not so on earth. Our prayer should be that earth will be made more like heaven. That we would not pick and choose which of God’s commands we feel like keeping, but that we would be willing do anything God asks of us. Anything!
Now back to the question about how do we know what the will of God is for our lives? The simplest and truest answer is we find it in scripture. Does the Bible tell us which house to choose? Yes, and no. No, it won’t give you the address, but we are given guidelines regarding how we should handle money, love our neighbors, etc. So we can ask ourselves questions like:
What are our motives for buying this house?
Is it a need?
Are we trying to keep up with the Joneses?
Do we have the money or will we live above our means?
While the Bible is filled with precepts and principles we will often times still need to wrestle in order to figure out what we should do in certain circumstances. But remember that God has promised to give us wisdom if we ask him. He has given us his word, his Spirit, and a counsel of godly people in our churches. He has not left us alone or ignorant.
While the Bible carries with it many commands, it is not primarily a book of precepts. It is a book of promises. The promise of God is that all who are united to Jesus by faith are made holy and blameless. It is only after we are rescued from our rebellion and cleansed from our impurity that we can delight in God’s will.
When you pray the Lord’s Prayer, and say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” you are not only praying that righteousness would reign in the world, but you are offering yourself to God, embracing his will, and committing yourself to delight in his ways. You can do this because you no longer fear being condemned for your sin. Jesus has cleansed you. You are now free to follow God with the assurance that even when you fail, Jesus is your righteousness. So pray your “anything” prayer and see God work in amazing ways in your life.
Looking To Jesus,
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