When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we pray that God’s will be done. It’s hard to say what God’s will is. We often pray for God’s will for our lives when we’re trying to discern if we should make a big decision or commitment. We somehow make sense of a particular situation and are able to discern how we should proceed – and know quickly if we’ve made the wrong decision.
What was God’s will for Jesus’ life? We often say that it was God’s will that Jesus be crucified. We believe that if He was crucified then God could raise Jesus from the dead and that was God’s ultimate plan. I admit I have a problem believing in a God who would will the death of His own son.
I think God’s only will for Jesus was that He live the fullness of the human experience. Unfortunately, the human experience includes suffering and death. Perhaps God didn’t have the forethought plan to kill Jesus when He was born. Perhaps Jesus was crucified because we, humans, willed it.
Jesus embodied the will of God. The will of God is that the word of God be spoken and lived. Jesus spoke the word of God because He is God and what He spoke was from God. He also lived the word of God. What He said, he did. Jesus both spoke and did the word of God.
The best definition of sin is the disjunction between speaking and doing the word of God. What we say we are going to do and ought to do is not what we do. We say we want to follow Christ. We wake up every morning with the intent of being a true follower of Jesus and lie down every night confessing that we were unable to live up to the expectation.
We are sinners. We are unable to live up to the standard of being a disciple of Christ. We are not perfect; Christ is perfect. God knows that we try and gives us grace to bridge the gap between what we can do and the true nature of a disciple.
The unbelieving world judges the church for being hypocrites, for saying one thing and doing another. That’s because they don’t understand the nature of sin. Yes, we try to be worthy of being called a disciple of Christ, but we are unable to obtain perfection. The truth is even those 12 disciple guys were unable to live up to the calling – we remember the 3 times Peter denied knowing Jesus and we remember that the disciples abandon Jesus when He was arrested. Unbelievers are unable to see that grace is what spurs us on to keep trying to be faithful to God.
The will of God is not that we be perfect. The will of God is that we seek His guidance, attempt to speak and do His word, and to allow the glory of His grace to fill in the gap between what we are able to do and what God expects. I think the will of God is that we try and confess when we fail. We allow mercy to do the rest.