I think most people recite the Lord’s prayer without giving much thought to what they are actually saying, particularly the part, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Do we really want God’s will to be done in our lives? Is this truly our heart’s desire?
I find most people are fearful of the thought of God’s will being done in their lives. But do we know what that really means and do we understand where God’s will ultimately will take us?
Do we want God’s will to be done?
But what does it mean to be in the center of God’s will, and to follow God’s will? What most people don’t realize is that God’s general will for us is primarily laid out in the Bible. For instance, it is God’s will that we be honest, that we be unselfish, generous and kind. It is God’s will that we be faithful to our spouse and that we be humble and forgiving.
These are not arbitrary laws that God pulled out of the air. They fit our design and enable us to function well.
A five-year-old trying to drive a car
Tim Keller addresses this in his new book, Making Sense of God. He says:
Imagine that you see a car being driven down the road. You look into it and see there is a five-year-old driving it. What will happen? It will be disintegration of some sort – the car is going to run into somebody, run into a tree, or destroy a fence. Why? Because although it is a good car, it is not designed to be driven by a five-year-old. When God says, “Here are the Commandments, the moral directives: Don’t lie, don’t be selfish, don’t bear false witness,” those directives come from your designer. And therefore they aren’t busywork. To break them is to violate your own nature and to lose freedom, just like a person who eats the wrong foods and ends up in a hospital.
For example, the Bible says: Don’t bear a grudge. Many years ago I was talking to a teenage girl in my church who was angry at her father for a number of very warranted reasons. She said, “I know that God says I have to forgive, but I don’t want to.” I began by agreeing that God requires forgiveness of his followers. “But,” I said, “I want you to consider that God is our creator, and so his commands are never meaningless or arbitrary ‘busywork.’ His obligations are always in the end our liberation.” If her father succeeded in making her bitter toward him, it would mean he would continue to shape and control her life. It would, perhaps, distort her view of men in general, it would make her more hard and cynical, and it might have many other effects. I said, “The best way to be free, to ensure that the wrong he has done to you does the least damage, is to forgive him.” She later told me that the conversation had been a turning point for her.
If you are made in the image of God, who is a forgiver, then it is a directive – you must forgive. In the short run it can feel good to be angry at somebody who has wronged you, or to pay them back. But in the long run what is going to happen? Disintegration. It can hurt your body to be angry. It can certainly hurt all your relationships, making it harder to trust and commit. It can distort your whole life.
Keller seems to be quite clear, that when you disregard God’s moral directives, you are going against the grain of your own nature, you are living outside the will of God. It is like that five-year-old trying to drive the car, it just doesn’t work. However, when we seek to be in the will of God, we are living in harmony with our design. We are living the life we were meant to live.