Dale Appleby

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Weekly Reflections

Your will be done. 7 Feb 10

Your will be done.

“Your will be done.” Sometimes this is a cry of resignation. Sometimes the best explanation we can work out for some difficult event.  Sometimes it is code for “God this is your fault and I am very angry!”

It is also a key phrase in the Lord’s prayer that we repeat so often. But there it is qualified: “the way it is done in heaven.” That changes the meaning considerably. God’s will is always done in heaven. And as far as we can tell, it is done with speed, willingness, zeal, happiness and joy. The inhabitants of heaven love nothing more than to do God’s will.

Which is always good, always perfect, always just right. The prayer prays that this will will be done on earth in the same way – with joy, speed, zeal, thankfulness.  The model heavenly example is that of the Son who willingly became human in order to accomplish the purpose of the Triune God.

He is also the earthly model. More than once Jesus said he was just doing what the Father sent him to do. He was the perfectly obedient one, who carried out God’s will.  Which brings us back to the cry of resignation, “not my will but yours be done.”

Was it a cry of resignation? Perhaps it was a cry of commitment. What is the difference? In one case it seems we have no choice, no power to change anything, we just surrender. Of course there are always choices.  Not necessarily to avoid a bad situation, but certainly choices about how to respond to it.

In the other case there may be the same set of choices, but we decide that we want to do what God wants. Doing God’s will is a choice. But what is his will? What does he really want?

Most of all he wants people to worship him. To treat him as God. To worship him by loving him. To respond to his love by loving and obeying him. By doing what he has left us in the world to do: being like our Father, messaging the world with the news of his Son, building up his body.

Who can do that? Only those who have been set free to serve by the Spirit. They are like angels, eager to do God’s will because they know it is the ants pants of living.

Dale

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