The Will of God
In the life of our Lord as a Man on earth, the will of God was of paramount importance. On four occasions, at least, we learn how the will of God regulated His whole life. According to John 6:38, He came down from heaven to do the will of Him that had sent Him; this was the supreme object of His life. In John 4:34, His meat was to do the will of Him that sent Him; here is intimated the satisfaction of His life. Once more in John, 5:30, He sought not to do His own will but the will of the Father, and here we have a revelation of that which was the secret motivating power of His life. Finally, in John 8:29, He did only those things that pleased the Father, for the will of God was a perpetual practice in His life.
The apostle Paul, in the second chapter of the epistle to the Philippians, states three things that marked the dedication of Christ to His Father’s will: He presented Himself, He emptied Himself, He humbled Himself. In presenting Himself, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation. This simply means that He would not stand upon His dignity as God and refuse incarnation; His language was, “Lo, I come (by way of incarnation) to do Thy will, O God.” In the next step downward, He emptied Himself, not of Deity, for He never ceased to be God, but of the outward manifestations of Deity, which He veiled in the body of His flesh. In so doing He renounced the praise and the adoration of all heaven. Thus in the form of a Servant, He was obedient to the Father’s will. The final act of His gracious descent is seen in that He humbled Himself, even to the death of the cross; and, although, obedience to the Father’s will meant a vicarious death on behalf of sinners, yet He delighted in it. Throughout, this, our Lord’s dedication, we see His submission to the will of God, His obedience to it, and His delight in it. As the Author and Finisher of faith, He is the pattern for all His people. Oh, that we might aim at following His steps! Let us consider together several very important things:
WHAT THE WILL OF GOD DEMANDS: There comes a crisis, into all of our lives, when we stand face to face with the will of God. Shall we yield to His will, or do otherwise? When the followers of the rejected David went down to the cave, he became a captain over them. (1 Sam. 22:2) This meant that the will of their captain prevailed, for their will was lost in his; consequently, under his training these men of distress, of debt, and of discontentment, became mighty men. In love to Christ, let us make God’s will the governing principle of our lives (John 14:15).
WHAT THE WILL OF GOD MEANS TO US: It will mean, in the first place, substance to our lives (Jas. 4:13). Life is a vapour without it; aimlessly we live, and time passes away leaving no permanent results for God. With this substance, His will, life will no longer be a vapour but a tangible testimony for the Lord. It also will mean food for our spirits (John 4:34). Like our Lord, although in a smaller measure, we will say, “My meat is to do the will of My Father.” Complete satisfaction comes from doing the will of God. Life will be no disappointment, when we are thus wholly dedicated. Similarly, it will mean illumination for the mind. (John 7:17): “If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine.” What is the secret of knowing the will of God? Surely this, that we do it. We are told of this secret in Romans 12:1-2, according to which, the good and acceptable and perfect will of God is known, only, when, in the light of God’s mercies, we yield our bodies as living sacrifices to Him. There must be the complete surrender of our personalities to Him. Our bodies have been likened to an instrument of ten strings, upon which we may bless His holy name (Psa. 33:2). It has been said that we have two eyes to behold His glory, two ears to be tuned to His voice, two hands to be dedicated to His service, two feet to walk in His way, a mouth to praise Him, and a heart to love Him. Do our lives lack harmony, does discord fill us with pain and disappointment? Let us put the instrument of our lives into the hands of the Great Musician, and let Him, with His delicate fingers, sweep across the broken strings, and awaken the slumbering cords again. Moreover, it will mean a rest for our souls (Matt. 11:29). His yoke was His submission to the Father’s will. He offers that yoke to us, and in our acceptance of it we will find His peace and rest.
WHAT THE WILL OF GOD WILL DO: First, it will give specific service (Isa. 6:8; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:1-7). It is profitable to notice some of the steps in Isa. 6, experienced by the soul in the acceptance of the will of God: a vision of Christ (vv 1-5), a consciousness of our own lowly estate (v. 5), a remembrance of Calvary (vv. 6-7), an ear sensitive to the language of heaven (v. 8), and a heart response to God’s call, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I; Here am I; send me” (v. 8). Before us, Paul sets a vision of the same glory, and cries, “Seeing we have this ministry we faint not.” It is the ministry of reflecting the beauties of Christ to others, the ministry of the radiant face. In the light of that glory, he would walk uprightly, handle the Word of God honestly, and unveil Christ to all, so that, should the gospel be hid from any, it would only be from those who wished to be blinded by the devil ( 2 Cor. 4:1-7). God has a plan for every life, a place for each one of us to fill for Him; we can only fulfil that purpose by accepting His will, by yielding to the leading of the Spirit in order to do that which God has planned. In second place, it will sweeten our lives by a closer walk with God. During His life our Lord Jesus had three circles of friends; there was an outer circle of seventy, an inner circle of twelve, and an innermost circle of three. To that innermost group, the secrets of Christ were revealed, for an intimacy was enjoyed by them that was not known to the others; they beheld His compassion (Mark 5:37-43), His glory (Matt. 17:18) His agony and conflict (Mk. 14:32-42) as none of the others did. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that they became pillars in the Church, and a mighty force for God in the world. As we commune with Him, we shall assimilate His own beautiful character; as we daily take His yoke, we will learn, “That the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him,” and that nothing worth while is withheld from the friends of Christ (John 15:15). Finally it will give us assurance amid the perplexities of life. We will learn to trace each act of discipline to the wisdom of our Father, and in every sorrow we will see the evidence of His love.
WHAT THE WILL OF GOD DESIRES: Primarily, it desires our sanctification, “This is the will of God even your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3). This is more than mere separation; it is being set apart for holy uses. We are to purge ourselves from sin that we might be vessels unto honour, meet for the Master’s use. It matters little whether we be vessels of gold or of silver which serve before the eye of the public, or vessels of wood or of earth that serve in obscurity. We must ever remember, that to serve Him at all, we must cleanse ourselves from all evil, completely emptying ourselves in reality in order to be filled with His divine fullness (2 Tim. 2:20-21). It likewise desires our appreciation, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thess. 5:18). Our lives should be a continual thank-offering, and our appreciation should ever be expressed in whole-hearted devotion to Christ. Lastly it desires our submission. “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him” (1 Pet. 4:19). He who permits the adversities that test faith, will preserve that faith in the trial, and every victory gained by His grace in the trial of faith, will be to our praise and honour and glory at His appearing (1 Pet. 1:7).
“O wonderful grand will of God.
With triumph now I make thee mine,
And faith shall cry a joyous yes.
To every dear command of thine.”