Free Bible Study Magazine
The following is an extract from Daniel’s new book ‘Live Before you Die’. Buy book now. Reproduced by kind permission.
“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). I think we often overlook the significance of what happened in Gethsemane, but as it relates to our redemption nothing could be more important. If Calvary is the door to salvation, Gethsemane was the hinge. Here the eternal future of humanity hung in the balance. It was here that our fate was decided. All history depended on this moment.
Where Adam failed in the Garden of Eden, Jesus prevailed in the Garden of Gethsemane. And the key to Christ’s victory here was the secret of His whole life, embodied in those seven immortal words, “Not my will, but thine be done.” The Roman soldiers seized Jesus and crucified Him, but they could not take His life, for He had already laid it down in Gethsemane. “No one takes My life from Me,” was Jesus’s confession, “but I lay it down of Myself.” You cannot kill a man who is already dead! It is here that we find the next great secret for discovering God’s will for our lives—the secret of the surrendered will.
We must begin by recognizing that: there may be a difference between what we want and what God wants. With this awareness we must constantly make sure our will is surrendered to His. Many times people embark on the journey to discover God’s will having already made up their minds about what they think God wants them to do. And often what they are actually seeking is divine validation of what they desire. If you truly want God’s will for your life, you cannot simply pray, “Your will be done.” You must include, “Not my will.”
In the last chapter we discussed the first secret to discovering God’s will, which is to seek the kingdom first. And we studied the Lord’s Prayer, in which Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come. In this chapter I would like to emphasize the second part of the same sentence in the Lord’s Prayer we focused on previously. Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come,” and with the same breath continued His petition by saying, “Thy will be done” (Matt. 6:10). Those phrases may seem to address two completely separate topics, but they actually go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
To understand the correlation between God’s kingdom coming and His will being done, let us first consider what a kingdom is. In ancient times kings ruled with absolute sovereignty, and their word was law. A kingdom was the realm in which a certain king’s authority was recognized and obeyed. Let’s take a more contemporary kingdom. The American colonies were at one time under the rule of the king of England, and for this reason he was able to collect taxes from the colonists. Even though the king was separated from these American subjects by great distance, they were a part of his kingdom because they were under his rule. But when the American colonists rebelled and won independence from the empire, they no longer obeyed the wishes of the British king. His will was no longer their concern; they weren’t a part of his kingdom and therefore not under his authority.
There are many people who for some reason think that whenever the Bible talks about the kingdom of God, it is referring to “heaven.” But when Jesus taught about the kingdom of God, He had something more in mind. If a king’s kingdom is the realm in which his will is observed and obeyed, then the kingdom of God is present wherever God’s authority is acknowledged and submitted to. Therefore, when Jesus prays, “Your kingdom come,” He is inferring what He states explicitly in His next breath, “Your will be done.”
But the prayer of Jesus is not like Burger King’s motto. Jesus isn’t saying, “Father, have it Your way as everyone else has it their way.” Jesus was praying for God’s will to be done exclusively—the way it is done in heaven. All other wills bow to the divine will, God’s authority is recognized and submitted to, and everything comes into alignment with what the Father desire.