The will of God is not something to be debated, but rather to be done.

Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
                                                 Matthew 6:10 NKJV

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best--as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
                                           --The Message Bible


Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Help me to believe
          that the ideals of the spirit
          are not a far-off dream,
          but a power to command my loyalty
          and direct my life
          here on our real earth. 
                                           --Walter Bowie

                                  Thy Will Be Done

The will determines behavior. We talk about willpower, and the will to
survive, succeed, conquer and win. It brings to mind moral courage,
self-discipline, strong convictions and purpose. Yet to be willful is to
be stubborn, undisciplined, and pigheaded! Then there's ill will, which
is another negative, and willy-nilly which sounds like it's all over the
place and lacks a stable center. Strong willed may describe a hero,
or a child having a temper tantrum in the candy aisle. And freewill is
a gift from God, but gets us into a peck of trouble.

The will is a confusing subject, especially in religious circles. Good, bad
or indifferent; the will of God is used as an umbrella for many things,
and probably quoted most often to explain the negatives of life which we
are not able to understand. To ascribe illness, death and misfortune to
God's will is an innocent attempt to comfort the sorrowing and tell them
to accept, adapt and bravely go on with life as best they can. It is not a
theological pronouncement of God's culpability. Just by praying "Thy
will be done", we admit that God's purposes are not being fulfilled.

Jesus spoke to that dilemma in Luke 13:10-17. He justified his Sabbath
day healing to the complaining leadership at the synagogue by saying
the woman had been bound by Satan for eighteen years. When Jesus
laid his hands on her, she was freed from her bondage. To me this
indicates that sickness and woe originate from sources in conflict with
God. Therefore we are able to rightly claim it is God's will that people
be well, and not weighed down by misery.

So don't blame tragedy on some all-encompassing will of God.
However, when in unfortunate circumstances, take comfort and
strength from God's ever-present Holy Spirit who will enable you to
endure the pain and gain a victory over all those things that try to hold
you down. Be assured--God is for us, not against us. Defeat is not
of God; triumph is.

God's will holds many mysteries, but this we do know. Jesus told us
to pray, "Our Father, . . . thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
God's will is done in heaven because the utmost and continuous
desire of everyone present works in unison with the heart of God.
I guess that's what makes it heaven. And Jesus told his disciples,
"As in heaven, so on earth."

There's a simple period punctuating that sentence as though there is
nothing out of the ordinary about it. But I want to give it an exclamation
mark because just the thought breeds an exciting possibility. We are
able to experience on earth an early portion of God's heaven if we
consistently unite our will with God's!  

Whether or not you believe people are able to know specific, individual
details of what God wants for us, focus on this. In broad general terms
the Bible gives us the big picture. The main themes in the Old
Testament are God's justice, mercy, patience, and faithful loving-
kindness. These are the things which make for heaven. It can all be
summed up in two commands: love God above all else, and love
others, friend and foe, as you love yourself. Do this, and you will live;
these are the words of our Lord. Make these words the constant rule
of your life, and God's will, as in heaven, so on earth, will be done
wherever you have influence.

We learn a lot about people and what they want out of life by spending
time with them. The same is true of our relationship with God.
Walking with God, following Jesus, praying in the Spirit--these are all
images which convey our desire to know the purposes of God
regarding our lives. We could get distracted by getting into a complex
discourse on what God's will is, or keep it simple. We may question
all the things we don't understand, or put into practice what is clear.
Which is this: The best way to love God is to love God's other children.

The Creator's grand design is to make us players on the field of life,
and not just spectators. Victors, not victims. God's will is accomplished
on earth to the extent that we cooperate and work together with our
loving heavenly Father. It is our great privilege and honor. God gave
us freewill so that we might joyously choose to do God's will, on earth
as it is in heaven!


Use the following questions for small groups, journaling, further
study or reflection.


Icebreaker: Name something you accomplished through sheer willpower.


In what areas of your life do you feel "driven"?
            Is "driven" a positive or negative concept for you.   Explain your answer.
            If someone is called and lead by God's spirit, is that the same as
                        being "driven"?


When God's will is done on earth, people and situations are not reformed,
but transformed.
            What is the difference between reform and transform?
            Give some examples of transformation.


Did you ever know with certainty that you were doing God's will?
            If so, share something about that experience.
            How is a person able to discern the difference between what they
                        want to do and what God wants them to do?
Is there such a thing as "yesterday's will of God"?
            If there is, it implies flexibility and adaptability instead of constancy.
            So how do you explain the changing nature of God's purposes for you?


Jesus gave us the big picture--love God and our neighbor.
            How do you take these general precepts and make them specific?


Focus on what you know and what is clear; don't get distracted by unknowns.
            Is this good advice for those trying to do God's will?   Why or why not?
In what manner shall we do God's will? Start with "lovingly" and "willingly"
             and see how many more adverbs will answer this question.


Before we ask anything for ourselves, Jesus taught us to have an active
concern for the will of our Father in heaven.
            How do we do this?
Does heaven have house rules?
            If so, name some of them.


In Britain during the difficult years of World War II, a pastor named Leslie
Weatherhead wrote a book entitled, The Will of God. In three chapters
he described these separate aspects:
            God's Intentional Will;
            God's Circumstantial Will;
            God's Ultimate Will.
1) The original goodness which God intended for his creation was thwarted by evil;
2) There's a will within God's will which uses evil to produce good, and
            provides creative meaning for people in adverse circumstances;
3) God will not fail to bring all the broken pieces together, forming a thing of beauty,
            and nothing will be lost. 
                        Do you find his words helpful or not helpful?
                        How do you explain the presence of evil on God's good earth?

                                Prev                                                           Next