His Holy Will
HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAYS 49
What does the third request mean?
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven means,
Help us and all people to reject our own wills and to obey your will without any back talk. Your will alone is good. Help us one and all to carry out the work we are called to, as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.
DEVOTIONAL: NOVEMBER 12-18
His Holy Will
It is a Christian’s great privilege to know God, to enjoy Him and to bring glory to His name! As the Psalmist states: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1). Therefore, Jesus taught us to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If we genuinely know the Father through the Son, if we enjoy who He is for His love and faithfulness, then we will bring Him glory through submission to His will.
Two words help us understand God’s will: character and commandments. The Father’s character is the foundation of His commands, and His commands are an expression of His character.
First, the Father’s character is the foundation of His commands. It is captured well in this rhetorical question: “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)? The whole Bible reveals that the Father is for us. He reveals to Moses that He has “seen the misery” of His people, has “heard them crying out,” is “concerned about their suffering,” has “come down to rescue them,” and will “bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land” (Exodus 3:6-7). He fulfilled those words by sending His Son, Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23), and they are alive in our hearts today through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, God in us (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Therefore, we, too, are the recipients of His love and faithfulness. He sees our condition, hears our cries, is concerned for our lives, has come down in Christ, and is leading us to a good place by His Spirit. Today He continues to rescue lives (Colossians 1:3-14), restore fellowship (2 Corinthians 5:16-21), renew hearts for holy obedience (Ephesians 2:1-10), and will rejoice when we are brought to His new heavens and earth (Revelation 21:1-4).
Second, the Father’s commandments are an expression of His character. He commands chastity in order to protect children, women and men whose dignity is stolen through another’s self-indulgent sexual fantasy. He forbids theft in order to protect human security. He forbids the inappropriate use of words because they are too often used to leverage self-interest. God’s commandments, however, do more than forbid. They are a call to advance the dignity of all people, to guard and advance our neighbor’s good name, and to work for the common good. They reveal that God is for us. King David, therefore, voices his delight: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statues of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-8). The Father rescues and restores us in His Son, and by His Spirit renews and equips us for joyful and holy obedience (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Let’s also take a moment to embrace a word of caution. The gospel teaches that good works are the fruit of grace – an exercise of grateful love because we have first been loved (1 Peter 1:3-2:3, 1 John 4:19). Yet, Christians still confuse the relationship, acting as if works earn salvation, contribute to salvation, or secure a bright future when we die. Please be assured that they don’t. So, let’s not enslave ourselves again to a religion of fear that attempts to be “good enough” for God. Rather, let’s rest in “the righteousness from God” that “comes through faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22).
Let’s courageously pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It is the Christian’s great privilege to know God, to enjoy Him and to bring glory to His name! As the Psalmist states: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1).
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn
Sunday, November 12
Prayerfully read John 6:25-51. Jesus taught that He came to earth to do the Father’s will (v.38). How does His obedience serve as the foundation and model of your obedience to the will of the Father?
Monday, November 13
Prayerfully read Matthew 16:13-28. Jesus taught: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (vv.24-25). We all turn away from God’s will to our own will. What areas of your life require repentance – turning from your will to God’s will? What are the obstacles to such repentance? What are the potential joys of living in obedience to Him?
Tuesday, November 14
Prayerfully read Ephesians 5:1-20. Jesus taught that the “first and greatest commandment” is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37-38). How do you give daily expression to your love for the Lord?
Wednesday, November 15
Prayerfully read Romans 12:1-21. Jesus taught that the second greatest commandment is like the first: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). How do you give daily expression to your love for your neighbor?
Thursday, November 16
Prayerfully read Galatians 5:1-25. The fruit of the Spirit (vv.22-25) has often been described as the character of Christ being forged in God’s children. Describe the growth and development of Christ’s character in your life.
Friday, November 17
Prayerfully read Philippians 3:1-14. The Catechism teaches: “Help us one and all to carry out the work we are called to, as willingly…as the angels in heaven.” Describe your willingness to live the Christian life as described by Paul: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Where is the fruit of that commitment most visible today?
Saturday, November 18
Prayerfully read Matthew 25:14-30. The Catechism teaches: “Help us one and all to carry out the work we are called to, as…faithfully as the angels in heaven.” Every Christian demonstrates areas of strength and weakness in faithfulness to God. Where do you need to grow in faithfulness? How will engage in a process of repentance and renewal to grow in faithfulness?