Sermon: Your Will, Or God’s?
Scripture: Matthew 6:10
In this week’s lessons, we learn what it means to pray that the Lord’s will be done, rather than ours.
Theme: God’s Word
Now someone will say, “That is all very well and good, but what does that have to do with me?” Well, it has everything to do with you. For happiness and joy will come to your life only as you allow God to bend your will to His.
Last week, in talking about God’s kingdom, I asked the question, “What is God doing in this age?” I answered that God was taking persons of every imaginable condition, and from every part of this globe, and turning them into men and women like Jesus Christ, in other words, into men and women to whom God’s kingdom comes. In the light of this week’s discussion, we can see that it would also be possible to say the same thing in this way. We could say that God is taking persons with sinful and rebellious wills from every imaginable condition of life, and from every part of this globe, and then by means of the new life that He gives them freely through the Holy Spirit, bringing their wills into perfect conformity to His own. Such persons are learning to will as God wills. The day will come when they will be able to say, as Jesus did, “I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). Now they pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Now what is God’s will? That is a valid question. For someone will say, “I agree that I should want God’s will, and to some degree, thanks to His new life within, I do want it. However, what is God’s will? How can I, a sinful person, know what a holy and righteous God requires?” There is only one answer: We may know the will of God by coming to know the Word of God. And we know the Word of God only as we study it and the Holy Spirit throws light upon its pages.
In his excellent study of prayer, Andrew Murray writes,
The great mistake here is that God’s children do not really believe that it is possible to know God’s will. Or if they believe this, they do not take the time and trouble to find it out. What we need is to see clearly in what way it is that the Father leads his waiting, teachable child to know that his petition is according to God’s will. It through God’s holy word, taken up and kept in the heart…1
In the Bible, God’s will is expressed in great principles. Take John 6:40 as an example. I believe that this verse can be called the will of God for all unbelievers. Jesus says, “And this is the will of him [that is, God] that sent me, that everyone who seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” If you are not a Christian, God’s will for you begins here. In one sense, all of God’s will is wrapped up in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, and God will not take you on to other things until you believe in Him. He will not teach you spiritual calculus until you have mastered rudimentary math.
Other great verses that also speak of the will of God explicitly are Romans 12:1-2. These are an expression of God’s will for a Christian. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to the world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Any Christian can accept as an unchangeable principle the truth that anything that contributes to his growth in holiness and the surrender or renewal of his mind is an aspect of God’s will for him. Likewise, anything that hinders his growth in holiness is not.
1Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer (Westwood, NJ: Revell, 1967), 163.
How do we come to know the will of God?
What is God’s will for unbelievers?
What is God’s will for Christians?
Application: Are you growing in holiness and being renewed in your mind? Are there practices or interests in your life that do not promote godly thinking and character?
Key Point: We may know the will of God by coming to know the Word of God. And we know the Word of God only as we study it and the Holy Spirit throws light upon its pages.
For Further Study: To learn more about the will of God, download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “God’s Good, Pleasing, and Perfect Will.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)