Not My Will But Thine Be Done
Man's greatest honor and privilege is to do the will of God. This was what the Lord Jesus taught His disciples. He once said “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21). He also said that "whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Matthew 12:50).
This emphasis was duly passed on by the apostles to their generation. Peter declared that God sets men free from sin so that they can do His will (1 Peter 4:1-2). Paul asserted that believers are created anew in Christ Jesus so that they can walk in a path God has already mapped out for them. When he therefore exhorted the Ephesian Christians he said, "Wherefore become not unwise, but understanding what is the will of God. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10; 5:17). To the Colossian Christians he said, "that he cease not to pray for them, and to beg that they may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding:" He told them that his co-worker Epaphras was also "always solicitous (or fervent) for them in prayers, that they may stand perfect, and full in all the will of God." (Colossians 1:9; 4:12). The apostle John taught "that the world passeth away, and the concupiscence or the lust thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 John 2:17).
This emphasis is unfortunately rare in our day and generation. That is one of the many reasons we see the shallowness and powerlessness of the average Christian today.
Men are urged to come to Jesus merely to receive forgiveness. In apostolic times, people were told that forgiveness of sins was to be only a prelude to a life dedicated to the fulfilment of the whole will of God.
Acts 13:22 seems to imply that David was called "a man according to God's own heart" because he would do all of God's will. David himself tells us elsewhere that he "desired the will of God." (Psalms 40:8). He was not a perfect man. He committed many sins, some very serious ones, for which God had to punish him severely. Yet God forgave him and found pleasure in him because basically David wanted to do all of God's will. This encourages us to believe that in spite of all our imperfections, we too can be men and women after God's own heart - if only our hearts are set on doing His will.
The New Testament urges believers to walk as Jesus walked, following His example. The guiding principle of Jesus' entire life and ministry was to do the will of His Father. He never moved until His Father told Him to. And when He did move, neither the threats of His enemies nor the pleadings of His friends could stop Him from doing what His Father required of Him. "His meat, His daily food was to do the will of the Father that sent Him" (John 4:34). As men crave for food to nourish their bodies, He craved to do the will of the One Who had sent Him.
Every believer should have a similar hunger to fulfil all the will of God. How easy it is to pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," and then to do just as we please, without seeking God's guidance in our daily lives.
God's Plan is the Best. It is better then any Plan we may have.
It is the height of folly not to seek God's guidance. If you were alone in the middle of a thick forest on a pitch dark night, not knowing which way to turn, you would be glad to have with you someone who knew every inch of the forest and whom you could trust fully. You would soon follow without question whatever way he took. It would be foolish to ignore his advice and to move on your own into that dark and dense forest, full of hidden dangers. Yet many of us do just that sort of thing.
The future that lies before us is darker than anything on earth could possibly be. We can see nothing ahead. Yet we have to move forward.
We sometimes come to crossroads in our lives, where we have to make decisions with far-reaching consequences. Decisions such as the choice of a career and a husband or wife affect our entire future. How are we to decide at such times? We know nothing of the dangers and the hidden pitfalls along each path. We know nothing of the snares Satan has laid for us. And yet - we have to decide which path to take.
It would therefore be not only desirable but necessary for us to have someone beside us at such times whom we can trust fully, who knows the entire future. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we have just such a Person, and He is more than eager to guide us along the safest and best path.
The Bible teaches that God has "prepared and ordained certain good works that we should walk in them." A specific plan for each of our lives that he created us for. (Ephesians 2:10). He has planned a career for us, chosen a mate for us and even planned where we should live and what we should do each day. In every case, His choice must be the best, for He knows us so well and He takes every factor into consideration. It is wisest then to seek His will in all matters - major as well as minor
It is not only foolish but dangerous to follow the reasoning of our limited intellects and the dictates of our emotions alone. Unless we are gripped by the conviction that God's plan is indeed the best, we are not likely to be in earnest about seeking it.
Many have made shipwreck of their lives by failing to seek the will of God right from their youth. It is indeed "good for a man, when he hath borne the yoke from his youth." (Lamentations 3:27). In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus invites us to take His yoke upon us. What does it mean to take the yoke? Oxen that are used to plough fields are kept together by a yoke upon their necks. When a new ox is to be trained to plough, it is yoked together with an experienced ox. The new one is thus compelled to walk in the same direction and at the same speed as the older ox.
This is what it means to take the yoke of Jesus upon us. We shall have to walk with Jesus in the path that pleases Him, never rushing ahead to do anything without His leading, nor lagging behind when He calls to some new step of obedience. Few understand this meaning of the yoke. Fewer still are willing to accept it. The ox is forced by its owner to take the yoke upon its neck. But Jesus invites us. There is no compulsion here. How foolish we are to reject this invitation! We would rather take the heavy yoke of our own self-will with its accompanying frustrations, defeats, and regrets, than the light yoke of Jesus that brings true liberty and deep rest!
In todays English Jesus is saying "Come to Me and I will give you rest - all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear My yoke ....and let Me teach you (as the older ox teaches the inexperienced one) ....and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens" (Matthew 11:28-30).
We read of Enoch that he "walked with God" (Genesis 5:22) - i.e., he did not rush ahead nor lag behind, but walked in God's appointed path as one under the yoke - for three hundred years. As a result, God testified that He was pleased with Enoch's life (Hebrews 11:5). This is the only way that we please God - by living and moving under His yoke, in His perfect will. Only thus shall we be able to stand before Him without regret when He comes for us either at death or at his second coming.