Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Thy Will Be Done

γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶἐπὶ γῆς·

“May your will be done on earth as (it is) in heaven.”

Strengthen us by Your Spirit according to Your will, both in life and in death, in the midst of both good and evil things, that our own wills may be crucified daily and sacrificed to Your good and gracious will. Into Your merciful hands we commend all for whom we pray, and all who are in need, praying for them at all times: Thy will be done. Lord, in Your mercy…hear our prayer.[1]

Whenever a godly Christian prays, “Dear Father let Thy will be done.” God speaks and says, “Yes, dear child, it shall be so, in spite of the devil and all the world.” 

This consolation and confidence we have that the will and purpose of the Devil and all of our enemies shall and must fail and come to naught, however proud, secure and powerful they know themselves to be. For if their will were not broken or hindered, the Kingdom of God could not abide on earth nor His name be hallowed.[2]

The Lord’s Prayer invites us not to retreat from the world in fear and pain, to anaesthetize or indulge ourselves.  The Lord’s Prayer invites us to join the struggle, to see justice and peace prevail. Thus, we pray, “Thy will be done Lord.” 

“It’s God’s will!”  Ever hear that little phrase? How do we use this phrase? Do we use it as an excuse? Have we ever caught ourselves saying: “well, it must have been God’s will.” Do we use these words to help us explain the unexplainable, or to make sense of what simply does not add up?  What is the good and gracious will of God?

I.    There are enemies whose counsel and will are opposed to the will of God. In this season of Lent as we focus on our need and the Savior’s solution we pray that God would break and hinder every evil will.  To be sure, the counsel and will of the devil, the world and our flesh are all opposed to the will of God.

A.  The devil is actively opposed to the will of God. Peter reminds us, “be alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (5:8) When Adam and Eve fell headlong into sin; they were lied to and betrayed by the devil.

B.   Not only is the devil actively opposed to the will of God.  The world also stands hostile to the Savior.  John writes in his first epistle, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (v.17)

C.   Then there is the flesh – which is also diametrically opposed to the will of the Savior. Paul reminds us in Romans 7, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature…” (v.18)

TRANSITION:  So, what is it that we should pray for when we ask that God’s will be done?

II.    We ask –

A.   That God would break and hinder the evil counsel and will of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. St. Paul reminds us in Romans 16:20, “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” Notice what Paul tells us – the God of peace will crush Satan.  That happened on a hill called Golgotha, when the Son of God, on a cross, cried out, “it is finished!

There, at the cross, Jesus crushed Satan – And “under your feet,” daily He breaks the devil’s power through the power of His Word and Spirit. So we can say with Paul in Romans 8, “we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.”

B.   We also ask that God would strengthen and preserve us steadfast in His Word and faith unto our end; so that we may at all times do His will gladly as the angels in heaven also gladly do His bidding. 

Peter reminds us how the Lord protects and guides us when he writes that we are destined for glory.  He reminds us that we have, “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4-5)

It is by the Word that we are directed and protected. In Psalm 119, David writes, “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.”

C.   We ask that God would in all suffering keep us faithful to our end.  It is through the cross and suffering that you and I are brought into the kingdom of glory.  We are tempted at every turn. Our faith, at times, is battered and weak. We can become frightened and worried. How do we know that we will remain faithful unto the end? Listen to what Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12 “and (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Then Paul goes on to explain what that means to him personally – “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (v.9)

St. Paul writes: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape. That you may be able to bear it.” (v.13). Consider Job, the Lord was challenged by the devil that he would break if temptation and heartache came his way. But God would not allow the devil to destroy him. 

So it goes with you.  God knows your limits. He will not allow you to be pushed beyond the brink. God will perfect in you His good and gracious will.

Direct our lives to conform to Your will. Govern history so that your plan of salvation in Christ may be fulfilled. Bring all Your elect to stand before Your throne, made new in Your image and perfectly conformed to Your will, the loving children of a loving Father.

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Divine Service Setting Five, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] Luther’s Large Catechism

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