In His teachings, Jesus touched on many aspects of the Christian life. He shared stories and parables with His followers, and through scripture we have many important lessons on how we should conduct our lives as Christians. One of the most recognisable teachings from Jesus is how to pray.
“This, then, is how you should 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)
Jesus teaches us to pray for the will of God and for the everlasting Kingdom. The will of God is placed in this prayer before so many things we strive for and work for each day.
The will of God comes in this prayer even before our daily needs of sustenance and forgiveness, because it is first and foremost what we are designed to accomplish on earth. We are designed to honour God’s name, further His kingdom and seek His will. We cannot honour the name of the Lord and dismiss His will. We cannot build His kingdom without seeking first what God wants His kingdom to be like through us.
Think of a soldier gearing up for battle. The soldier puts on his boots, checks his supplies and reports for briefing. The soldier does not land in enemy territory and run out guns blazing. The soldier first learns what the mission is and then acts.
Our kingdom building, God honoring activities should be based on the same understanding. We can never hope to be the true hands and feet of Christ if we do not first seek Christ in the movement of these hands and feet.
Sometimes it is easy. Our will accidentally aligns with God’s will. Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, shelter the vulnerable; those things are simple enough for the most part because we may recognise the need and feel compelled to help others by doing these things. It gets harder when our will is different from the will of God. When we want to go but God says wait. When we want to rebuke when God says love. When we want to stay when God says follow. We can be called out to do scary things, out of our comfort zones and then we are worse than a cement mule carrying an elephant in a backpack.
When our own will is broken, our true beauty shines through. We can never reach our full potential until we shine with the will of God.
This truth came to me in a rather strange way. My parents were avid divers and one day when I was a child, I came across a massive glow stick that was part of their scuba gear. My dad saw how curious I was about it, and showed me how beautiful the phosphor glowed once the little glass vial inside was broken.
Many years later I bought a tube of glow sticks for a birthday party and unfortunately they were really awful quality so their glass vials didn’t break and the chemicals inside never reacted to give off the mesmerizing glow that I so loved. I stared in disappointment at them, thinking how sad it was that their true potential was lost because the glass vials were almost impossible to break. This is when the thought came to me that the potential to accomplish such wonderful things for the kingdom of Christ is in all of us, but so often, we swap the will of God for the will of our own hearts. So many people go through life with only the slightest sparkle of their true potential because they refuse to let their will be broken.
I still think of the will of God each time I see a glow stick and often times I have found great comfort in this small reminder when I face great disappointments in life. The will of God is beautiful and true, and in the pursuit of it, our own glass vials will sometimes be smashed so the mesmerizing will of God can shine through to light the way for others.