SCRIPTURE: Luke 22:39-46
“…not my will, but yours, be done.” (v. 42)
To find out what is the will of God and to do it whole-heartedly I want to begin this study with one of my favorite musicals put on film, one that most people are familiar with – The Sound Of Music.
“How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
How do you solve the problem? The answer is easy – you make her someone else’s problem! (Captain Von Trapp).
Here’s a girl who’s always getting herself in trouble! She’s always off doing her own thing! She doesn’t conform, she doesn’t follow the rules – but she desperately wants to!
Maria was a square peg in a round hole….she wasn’t where she was meant to be, doing what she was meant to do. Does any of this sound familiar?
On a spiritual level, do you sometimes feel that you’re off “doing your own thing”–not really doing what you’re meant to be doing? Do you sometimes think that you are trying as hard as you can to be holy; you’re trying your best to do all that is expected of a good Christian–but you never quite seem to make it? How many times have I personally been in these instances and looked up and yelled:
“HELP ME! Give me solace, Lord!”
Spiritually speaking, perhaps you find yourself as a square peg in a round hole and ask yourself are you where you are meant to be? Are you doing what you were meant to do?
After watching the movie clips. the Reverend-Mother asked Maria a very significant question, “What is the most important lesson you have learned here…” Maria’s response was very profound I thought, “To find out what is the will of God and to do it whole-heartedly.” If someone asked me what one lesson have I learned in life I would have to say I have learned “to seek out God’s will and then do it gladly–even if I don’t want to do it!”
In the scripture referenced you can read a moment in the life of Christ about His Father’s WILL and His own WILL where they seem to be at odds with each other.
To put this in context, Jesus was fully aware of His impending death. He had just spent time in the upper room celebrating the Last Supper with His disciples, preparing them for what was going to happen.
Jesus had now taken them to the Mount of Olives to pray.
The text tells us that this was a regular thing for them to do–but on this particular night, there seems to be a particular tension among them.
For the disciples, the Last Supper had just been a confusing and emotional time. Jesus had been talking about feeding them with His body and blood, there had been a fight over who was the most important disciple, and Jesus had scolded Peter for asking about the restoration of the nation–and even gone on to tell that Peter would be about even knowing Him–the Peter who Jesus would build His Church upon. And just before the disciples had left to go to the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them to arm themselves with swords!!!
On the Mount of Olives Jesus commanded them to PRAY–
But the poor exhaustive disciples, like Maria in the Sound of Music, didn’t live up to what was expected of them.
They tried to be “good Christians,” they tried to pray, but sleep got the better of them.
For Jesus, the stress of the situation was obvious, in sweating buckets. I can almost hear the anguish in His voice as He prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…”
Jesus wanted one thing, but His Father wanted another…
At this moment Jesus wanted to be spared the physical pain and agony, the ridicule and embarrassment, the provocation and aggravation that was to come–God wanted Him to go through it–so the rest of the world could be reconciled to Himself.
Jesus wanted to be spared the defilement of taking on the sins of the world–BUT this was God’s WILL for Him–
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (NIV).
And now God’s GRACE…
Those poor disciples!!! The loved Jesus with all their hearts. They wanted to please Him, wanted to follow Him–and they did so earnestly. They wanted to obey Him and live out His leading, even if they didn’t always get it right. We probably could say that their “hearts were in the right place,” for they faithfully followed Jesus, even though His teachings didn’t always make sense. The faithful followed Him, even when they messed up–and when they messed up, they tried hard not to make the same mistake twice.
As for Jesus, He was the dutiful Son!
He knew that His Father knows best.
He knew that His Father’s WILL superseded His own will.
He could submit to His Father’s WILL and believe that “all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28)
The dutiful Son loved His Father –
He trusted His Father, He knew that His Father would work everything out for the best.
Jesus was willing to PRAY, “Father, I don’t want to do what you are asking me to do–but I’ll do it anyway if you really want me to!”
How much LOVE, how much TRUST do you need to have in someone before you can say that to them? I had to think about that for a moment–think how much He loved me to be willing to die for me, for us! How much He trusted His Father’s will–to be obedient unto death!
Surely Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus was willing to do God’s WILL before His very own…
JUDGMENT in the World –
Ask yourself, Am I like Maria? Are you like the disciples?
Maybe you’re struggling within the basics of Christian living–perhaps you just can’t stick to this praying and Bible reading every day– “I just can’t seem to find time in my busy life; getting the kids ready in the mornings, keeping the house straight, fixing meals and then doing it all over again each and every day!”
Maybe your struggle is with THE CALLING–maybe you have sensed God calling you out to a particular task, but you don’t want to do that!!!
Given that my calling is teaching, I’m thinking specifically of a call to teach–but there are many other calls and vocations from God too. Whatever our struggle may be, we must “…find out what is the WILL of God and to do it wholeheartedly.”
GRACE in the World –
The GOOD NEWS is that we can know the WILL of God for us, and the Bible tells us how…
Romans 12:1-2 says,
So the KEY is to present ourselves as living sacrifices–a SACRIFICE is simply something that has been offered. Something that has been given to God.
Have you given your life over to God…completely? Isn’t that the first step to take as you seek to discover God’s WILL for your life?
The next step is to… “not conform to the pattern of this world”–we are to be TRANSFORMED by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.
“I DARE TO BE DIFFERENT”
Len Ballentine’s chorus says,
I dare to be different, I dare to believe;
I dare to be different, God’s Spirit receives.
I dare to be different, my life sacrificed;
I dare to be different by living like Christ.
Do I “dare to be different”?
Do you “dare to be different”?
Do you dare to SACRIFICE your life to live like Jesus?
In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, he tells us that only by offering ourselves–that being available and living a life that’s different from the world around us, that we actually gain the ability to discern what God’s perfect will is for us.
There’s an old cliché that says, God doesn’t look at our ability, rather He looks at our availability.
HOW AVAILABLE ARE YOU?
IS THE LORD THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE?
IS HE THE KING OF YOUR VERY BEING?
My prayer for you is found in the chorus of one of my favorite Praise songs, Reign In Me:
When we sing the words we are surrendering, we are sacrificing ourselves to God. We are making ourselves available to Him. We are yielding to His will.
How about you? Are you willing to make that sacrifice, making yourself available for Him to use you in any situation?
PHOTO IMAGES: Google Image Search
Music Videos: YouTube.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); or where noted in the photo/images, or in the text.