In order for us to do the will of God, we must know the way, the truth and the life.
The will of God was not done on earth before Jesus came because Jesus is: “the beginning and the ending of all things.” (Revelation 1:8). Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). This means, as far as God is concerned, we did we not have life before Jesus came. The life we had was the counterfeit life. It was the life of men and not the life of God.
There is a fundamental difference between the life of men and the life of God. The life of men is temporal. The life of God is eternal. The life we had before Jesus was dead to God. The life Jesus gives is alive to God. Jesus said to the Jews: “Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32-33).
Nevertheless, many Christians continue to hold on to the only life we know, which is the life of men. We reject the life we don’t know: the life of God. Similarly, many continue to insist that the will of men is the will of God. The problem here is that insistence on the one jeopardises the other. Those determined to do the will of men cannot do the will of God. Those determined to safeguard their temporal lives are automatically disqualified from God’s eternal life.
Jesus says this again and again, but lovers of temporal life refuse to listen: “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:35-37). This is a cardinal principle of salvation.
However, when we go to God in prayer, it is often because we are determined to save our lives. We may not be asking for the whole world, but we are frequently asking for a significant part of the real estate. We ask for lands, houses, husbands, wives and children; not realising that these are actually some of the costs we have to pay for eternal life. Jesus says: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29).
Issues of life
The will of God, the Father is not even the will of Jesus, the Son. Jesus admits this. He says: “I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” (John 5:30). Therefore, in seeking to understand the will of God, we need to observe Jesus very carefully. Since Jesus came to do the will of God, anything Jesus did not do while on earth cannot be the will of the Father.
If Jesus did not deal with such issues as unemployment, inadequate schools or housing shortage when he was on earth, it means addressing such issues does not involve doing the will of God. In the final analysis, God does not really care about unemployment, inadequate schools or housing shortage. Yes, he indulges us by sometimes answering our prayers about such issues, but they have nothing whatsoever to do with his will. If addressing such issues were the will of the God, Jesus would have addressed them.
Does God want this world to be a better place? Not particularly! This world is not the kingdom of God. (John 18:36). Indeed, “all that is in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16). Jesus did not come to make this world a better place. He came to prepare a people for a better place.
The more focused we are on God’s kingdom, the less this world matters. No matter what we do, this world will not get any better; it will only get worse. Therefore, Jesus gives us a promise, which Christians prefer to ignore. He says: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Is it the will of God for us to be pastor of a church? No! There were pastors before Jesus came. Is it the will of God for us to preach the gospel? No! Is it the will of God for us to perform miracles and do many wonderful works of God? No! God only has one will and it is none of these.
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. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Jesus reveals here that many will prophesy in his name but will still not do the will of God. Others will cast out demons and do many wonderful works in his name, and yet they will still not do the will of God. In short, even doing works of righteousness does not constitute doing the will of God. When we do such works, we should not jump to the conclusion that we are operating at the centre of God’s will.
At Gethsemane, we see a major struggle between the will of Jesus and the will of God. “(Jesus) knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.’” (Luke 22:41-42). Even here, the will of the Father had yet to be done because Jesus says: “Not my will, but yours, be done.”
So what precisely is the will of God and how did Jesus do it? Jesus says:
“This is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life- that I should raise them at the last day.” (John 6:39-40).
The will of God is that men should lay down their lives in exchange for eternal life. Jesus fulfilled the will of God when he said “it is finished!” on the cross and gave up his spirit. Thereafter, he became the first man to be raised to eternal life.
Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). In order for us to do the will of God, we must know the way, the truth and the life. (CONTINUED).