God wants what is best for those in heaven to be accomplished in our lives on earth. But we want what is best for us on earth.
Christians often go to “Nicodemus pastors,” seeking the will of God. We want to know whether to accept this or that job-offer. We want to know if we should marry Joseph or Kunle. “Which one will enable me to fulfil my destiny? Which is God’s will for my life?” we ask.
“Nicodemus pastors” are well-schooled in the ways of men. They throw up coins in prayer asking “heads or tails?” “Which job pays more? Which suitor has the better prospects? Which choice will yield the bigger tithe and thanksgiving offering?”
“Nicodemus pastors” can always be trusted to be ignorant of the will of God. They deceive men into believing the will of man is the will of God. This makes them enemies of the souls of men. Jesus says: “Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves.” (Matthew 7:15).
Beware of men
The things of men are not, and can never be, the things of God. The things of men always run contrary to the things of God. God says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Nowhere is this difference between God and man more clearly defined than in matters of will. The will of God is completely different from the will of men. For an extended period of human history, the will of God was not done on earth. It was only done in heaven. Therefore, Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10).
Passport to heaven
It is of the utmost importance for everyone to know and do the will of God. Christians have this erroneous tendency to sub-contract everything to Jesus. We claim Jesus has accomplished all the eternal requirements for us. We talk of being saved by the completed works of Jesus on the cross. However, Jesus spends more time telling us what we need to do by ourselves than he does telling us what he will do for us.
Jesus will not do the will of God for us. We have to do it for ourselves. Failure to do this has eternal repercussions. Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). Simply put, if we don’t do the will of God, we cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
Nevertheless, when Christians go to God in prayer, it is often in order to ask him to enable us to do the will of the father on earth, as opposed to the will of God; the Father in heaven. This is because we assume the will of the father on earth is the same as that of the Father in heaven. However, if we don’t know the will of God, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven because we won’t do what we don’t even know.
What is the will of the father on earth? It all depends on the father. Some earthly fathers want their children to get an education and become doctors, lawyers and engineers. Others want them to get married and give them grandchildren. As there are many fathers on earth, so are there many different wills of earthly fathers. But there is only one Father in heaven and he has only one will. That one will is not the will of any of the fathers on earth.
Gift of God
Indeed, the will of earthly fathers is anathema to the will of God. When we see how rich and successful Lionel Messi is from playing football, we conclude that playing football must be the will of God for his life; after all, he is very good at it. When we see how prolific Tiger Woods is at playing golf, we conclude that his proficiency at golf is a gift of God. Then we ask God to reveal our own gift to us, so that his will can also be done in our lives.
But playing golf or football can never be the will of God for any man. Playing golf or football is of little or no interest to God. As a matter of fact, the ability to play golf or football is too mundane to be even the gift of God. These so-called gifts are of zero eternal consequence. They do not promote God’s righteousness or ensure eternal life.
There are many counterfeit “gifts” that bring glory to men. But there is only one true gift of God. That one gift is the Holy Spirit. In differentiating earthly fathers from the heavenly Father, Jesus says: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).
Jesus teaches that rather than exulting in the pride of life arising from this or that possession, we should ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. He said to the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10). The Holy Spirit is the living water. (John 7:38-39). Without him, no one can do the will of God.
Looking unto Jesus
The earthly father sent his son to the University of Lagos because he wanted him to become a doctor. While at the university, the son wrote him a letter asking if he should join the Debating Society or the football team. These choices are of little interest to the father. He is only interested in his son becoming a doctor.
It is the same with God, our Father. In the final analysis, our mundane preoccupations are of little interest to him. God is only interested in us doing his will. Before Jesus, the will of God was not known on earth; therefore, it was not done. Jesus was sent from heaven to reveal the mystery of God’s will. Thus, he declared to incredulous Jews: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38).
Before Jesus came, men were doing such things as going to school, taking up employment and getting married. Therefore, none of these things have anything to do with the will of God. According to Jesus, the will of God requires what is done to God’s specification in heaven to be done also on earth. But no one is going to school or getting married in heaven.
In short, God wants what is best for those in heaven to be accomplished in our lives on earth. But we want what is best for us on earth. Moreover, we do not understand that in order for the heavenly will to be accomplished in our lives, our earthly will must be relinquished. (CONTINUED).