THE PRIORITY OF GOD'S WILL

© Rosemary Bardsley 2016

As Jesus indicated in his instructions about how to pray, the Bible identifies a third priority: the priority of the will of God [Matthew 6:10b]. We are to pray 'Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven' and when we engage in this prayer we are committing ourselves, whether we realise it or not, to living according to God's will.

There is much said and taught about ‘finding the will of God’ as if it is some hidden, esoteric thing that is difficult to unearth; but the Bible is quite clear about what the will of God is. We do not have to find it. God has already told us what it is:

It is God’s eternal purpose to save people through the death of Christ [Galatians 1:3-4; Ephesians 1:9; 3:11; Hebrews 10:9-10]

It is that all should honour the Son as they honour the Father [John 5:23; Philippians 2:9-11]

It is that we believe in Jesus Christ [John 6:29; Acts 22:14]

It is the salvation of the lost [Matthew 18:14; John 1:13; 2 Timothy 1:13 (KJV); James 1:18 (KJV); 2 Peter 3:9]

It is the eternal security of those who believe in Jesus Christ [John 6:39,40; 17:24]

It is his commands recorded in the Scripture – that is, our sanctification [Ephesians 5:17; 6:6; Colossians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff; Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 2:15; 4:2]

This priority of God’s will means that:

We recognize that it is God’s will, not ours, that made us his people.

We honour Jesus Christ as God.

We follow the example of Christ who obeyed God’s will revealed in the Scripture.

We follow the example of Christ who submitted to his Father’s will revealed in the Scripture.

We understand that a true relationship with God is demonstrated by obedience to his will contained in his moral commands.

We make all of our plans knowing and trusting that his will may over-ride those plans.

To implement this priority in our lives, every choice we make will be governed by the questions:

Does this choice tie in with the moral commands of God recorded in the Bible?

Am I ready to obey his word, even when it hurts?

In areas of personal life decisions: Am I leaving room for God, in his love, omnipotence and omniscience and in his sovereign purpose to interfere and intervene in my plans?

The three priorities that introduce the Lord's Prayer - God’s glory, God’s kingdom and God’s will - challenge the human quest for power. They remind us forcibly that it is God, not us, who is in the position of power and authority, that the whole of our life must be committed to honouring him, not to seeking our own glory, to promoting his kingdom, not our agenda, and to submitting to his will, not rebelliously or even thoughtlessly doing our own thing.

Here, in pursuing these three priorities, we chose to submit to God:

We forego our perceived rights and set about fulfilling our God-given responsibilities.

We lay aside our self-seeking, self-promoting mindset and seek and promote him - his glory, his kingdom, his will.