Doing His Will
Rev. John Wesley
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:l0b
“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This is the necessary
and immediate consequence wherever the kingdom of God is come-wherever God dwells
in the soul by faith, and Christ reigns in the heart by love.
It is probable, many, perhaps the generality of men, at the first view of these words, are apt to imagine they are only an expression of, or petition for, resignation; for a readiness to suffer the will of God, whatsoever it be concerning us. And this is unquestionably a divine and excellent temper, a most precious gift of God. But this is not what we pray for in this petition; at least, not in the chief and primary sense of it. We pray, not so much for a passive, as for an active conformity to the will of God, in saying, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
How is it done by the angels of God in heaven? Those who now circle his throne rejoicing? They do it willingly; they love his commandments, and gladly hearken to his words. It is their meat and drink to do his will; it is their highest glory and joy. They do it continually; there is no interruption in their willing service. They rest not day nor night, but employ every hour (speaking after the manner of men; otherwise our measures of duration- days, and nights, and hours-have no place in eternity), in fulfilling his commands, in executing his designs, in performing the counsel of his will. And they do it perfectly. No sin, no defect belongs to angelic minds. It is true, “the stars are not pure in his sight,” even the morning stars that sing together before him. “In his sight,” that is, in comparison with him, the very angels are not pure. But this does not imply that they are not pure in themselves. Doubtless they are; they are without spot and blameless. They are altogether devoted to his will, and perfectly obedient in all things.
If we view them in another light, we may observe, the angels of God in heaven do all the will of God. And they do nothing else, nothing but what they are absolutely assured is his will. Again, they do all the will of God as he wills, in the manner which pleases him, and no other. Yea, and they do this, only because it is his will; for this end and no other reason.
When therefore we pray, that the “will of God may be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” the meaning is that all the inhabitants of the earth, even the whole race of mankind, may do the will of their Father which is in heaven, as willingly as the holy angels; that these may do it continually even as they, without any interruption of their willing service; yea, and that they may do it perfectly; that “the God of peace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, may make them perfect in every good work to do his will, and work in them [all] which is well pleasing in his sight.” “Give us.” For we claim nothing of right, but only of free mercy. We deserve not the air we breathe, the earth that bears us, or the sun that shines upon us. All our desert, we own, is hell: but God loves us freely; therefore we ask him to give what we can no more procure for ourselves than we can merit it at his hands.
“This day.” For we are to take no thought for the morrow. For this very end has our wise Creator divided life into these little portions of time, so clearly separated from each other; that we might look on every day as a fresh gift of God, another life, which we may devote to his glory; and that every evening may be as the close of life, beyond which we are to see nothing but eternity.
Compiled by Al Bryant, "The John Wesley Reader", Word Books. This book is currently available on the used book market. Please check the used book venders for this book at IMARC.