XLV. THE WILL OF GOD
`Thy will be done, as in heaven so on earth.' -- Matt. 6:10
The glory of heaven, where the Father dwells, is that His will is done there. He who would taste the blessedness of heaven must know the Father who is there, and do His will, as it is done in heaven. (Dan. 4:35)
`Heaven is an unending holy kingdom, of which the throne of God is the central point. Around this throne there are innumerable multitudes of pure, free beings, all ordered under powers and dominions. An indescribably rich and many-sided activity fills their life. All the highest and noblest that keeps man occupied is but a faint shadow of what finds place in this invisible world. All these beings possess each their free personal will. The will, however, has in self-conscious freedom, by its own choice, become one with the holy will of the holy Father, so that, in the midst of a diversity that flashes out in a million forms, only one will is accomplished -- the will of God. All the rich, blessed movement of the inhabitants of heaven has its origin and its aim in the will of God.'
And why is it then that His children on earth do not regard this will as their highest joy? Wherefore is it that the petition, `Thy will be done as in heaven,' is for the most part coupled with thoughts of the severe, the trying elements in the will of God, of the impossibility of our always rejoicing in God's will? The cause is this: we do not take pains to know the will of God in its glory and beauty, as the emanation of love, as the source of power and joy, as the expression of the perfection of God. We think of God's will only in the law that He gave and that we cannot keep, or in the trials in which this will appears in conflict with our own. O let us no longer do this, but take pains to understand that in the will of God all His love and blessedness are comprehended and can be apprehended by us. (Gal. 1:4; Eph. 1:5,9,11; Heb. 10:10)
Hear what the word says about the will of God: and the glorious things that are destined for us in this will.
`This is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son and believeth on Him should have eternal life.' The will of God is the rescue of sinners by faith in Christ. He that surrenders himself to this glorious will to seek souls shall have the assurance that God will bless his work to others; for he carries out God's will, even as Jesus did it. (John 4:35; 5:30; 6:38,40)
`It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.' The will of God is the maintenance, the strengthening, the keeping of the weakest of His children. What courage shall he have who unites himself cordially with this will. (Matt. 28:14)
`This is the will of God, even your sanctification.' With His whole heart, with all the power of His will, is God willing to make us holy. If we but open our heart to believe that it is not the law, but the will of God, something that He certainly gives and does where we permit Him, then shall we rejoice over our sanctification a stable and sure. (1 Thess. 4:3; 5;23)
`In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.' A joyful, thankful life is what God has destined for us, is what He will work in us: what He desires, that He certainly does in those who do not withstand Him, but receive and suffer His will to work in them. (1 Thess. 5:18)
What we require then is to surrender our spirit to be filled with the thought, that what God would have He will certainly bring to pass when we do not resist Him. And if we further consider how glorious, and good, and perfect the will of God is, shall we not then yield ourselves with the whole heart, that this will may bring itself to accomplishment in us? (Rom. 12:2)
To this end, let us believe that the will of God is His love. Let us see what blessings in the word are connected with the doing of this will. (Matt. 7:21; 12:50 John 7:17; 9:31; Eph. 5:17; 6:6; 1 John 2:17) Let us think of the glory of heaven as consisting in the doing of God's will, and make the choice that that our life on earth shall be. And let us with prayer and meditation suffer ourselves to be led of the Spirit to know this will aright. (Rom. 12:2; Col. 1:9; 4:12; Heb. 10:36; 13:21)
When we have thus learned to know the will of God on its glorious heavenly side in the word, and have done it, it will not be difficult for us also to bear this will where it appears to be contrary to our nature. We shall be so filled with the adoration of God and His will, that we shall resolve to see, and approve, and love this will in everything. And it will be the most glorious thought of our life that there is to be nothing, nothing, in which the will of God must not be known and honoured. (Ps. 42:9; Matt. 26:39; Heb. 10:7,9)
O my Father, this was the glory of the Lord Jesus, that He did not His own will, but the will of His Father. This His glory I desire to have as mine. Father, open mine eyes and my heart to know the perfection, the glory of Thy will, and the glory of a life in this will. Teach me to understand Thy will aright, then willingly and cheerfully to execute it; and where I have to hear it, to do this also with filial adoration. Amen.
1. To do the will of God from the heart in prosperity is the only way to bear this will from the heart in suffering.
2. To do the will of God, I must know it spiritually. The light and the power of the Spirit go together: what He teaches to see as God's will, He certainly teaches all to do. Meditate much on Rom. 12:2, and pray earnestly to see God's will aright.
3. Learn always to adore the will of God in the least and the worst thing that man does to you. It is not the will of God that His child should be proved thereby. Say then always in the least as well as the greatest trials: It is the will of God that I am in this difficulty. This brings the soul to rest and silence, and teaches it to honour God in the trial. On this point read the chapter, `Is God in everything?' In the excellent little book, `The Christians Secret of Salvation.' *
4. When God gave a will to man, He gave him a power whereby he could accept or reject the will of God. Child of God, pray, open your will to receive the will of God with its full power, and to be filled with it. This is heavenly glory and blessedness, to be conscious every day: my will is in harmony with God's will; God's will lives in me. It is the will of God to work this in you.
* [The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, by H .W. S. F. E. Longely, chap. 8 p. 83. -- Translator]