Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 10- Thy Will be done

(woodcut of Burning of Bucer's books- including works of Calvin)

3/10- Lord’s Prayer 3rd Petition- Thy Will be Done On Earth as it is in Heaven (Mt. 6:10)

Calvin: We are therefore bidden to desire that, just as in heaven nothing is done apart from God’s good pleasure, and the angels dwell together in all peace and uprightness, the earth be in like manner subject to such a rule, with all arrogance and wickedness brought to an end. And in asking this we renounce the desires of our flesh; for whoever does not resign and submit his feelings to God opposes as much as he can God’s will, since only what is corrupt comes forth from us. And again by this prayer we are formed to self-denial so God may rule us according to his decision. And not this alone but also so he may create new minds and hearts in us.” (III.20.43)

In a sense God is already king. He rules in His providence and out of his love. But in another sense (talked about in this petition), we are not there yet. His kingship comes more completely when we submit our wills to His will. As noted earlier, Calvin ties “thy kingdom come” to “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When God is truly (fully and really) king, then his will will be done.
In heaven everything is done for God’s good pleasure. There is peace, obedience, and joy there that is not yet on this earth. I remember Jesus’ words recorded in John 19:22- “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” Today the official poll results came out- since 1990 the number of Americans believing in Jesus Christ has dropped from 86% to 76%. This means a ten percent drop in people who think that God has a will for them, that God cares for them, or that there is forgiveness for sins and ultimate meaning in life. How we should be heart broken over this! How we need to pray that people grow in their desire to seek His will, and to find it. How we need to share our faith so that more will know that God’s will can be done on earth as it is in heaven. In tough economic times, it is extra sad that a growing number of people are giving up on their faith that can give them strength in tough times, and that they are teaching their children that there is no ultimate hope in life.
The way we work for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven is to deny ourselves and our will so that God’s glory and God’s will may be made evident. I know for me, it is hard (even as a minister) to share my faith. Yet, it is so important, that I see the need for me to deny my comfort, my shyness, my fears, and do what God has commanded me to do- pass the faith on to others. We do need to seek to please Him above others or ourselves. In fact, the real gist of this petition for Calvin is that we may learn to love what pleases Him and hate what displeases Him.

This is the conclusion of the first part of the Lord’s Prayer. Calvin notes that these things will come to pass whether we pray for them or not. Yet it is good to pray these petitions as to do so is to testify that we are God’s servants and children. Those who will not hallow God’s name, or pray for his kingdom and will to be done, are not likely true servants of God.

Prayer: Lord, today, not my will but your will be done. Today, may I seek to cast myself aside that I may honor you. Amen.

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