The Secret To Jesus’ Prayer

the secret to Jesus' prayer.  kevinwestmusic.net

Not My Will

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was in anguish as He asks the father if there was another way, besides the cross, for the redemption of humanity; then He prays, “Not my will but yours be done.”

I was thinking about the phrase “not my will, but yours be done.” That feels very difficult to pray with any sincerity. Jesus was facing death and separation from God’s presence and was able to find the strength for this prayer. What can bring someone to the place of being able to say, “not my will, but yours be done?” To give up control. What can make a person in the face of
job loss
financial loss
or death of a family member (especially prematurely) say not my will, but yours be done.

Who Are You?

The answer, at least what I came up with, seems to be a correct/accurate sense of identity. Who am I? Who are you? Most of us would have a hard time answering that. Maybe we would say, I’m a Father, Mother, Lawyer, Accountant. I’m a student, humanitarian, social media influencer. Others may say I’m nothing, awful, no good, a sinner.  

As our first thought, most of us wouldn’t say I am a very precious, beloved child of God.

We’ve heard we are loved, but we don’t believe that we are loved — loved in our worst state — beyond anything we can imagine. We don’t believe we are His precious child. Therefore, we always doubt that His intention for us is good. Or, we misunderstand what it means for God to have good intentions for us — thinking that good implies no pain and the American dream.

So, when the bad comes, we don’t know what to make of it. We think we’ve done something wrong, or God is not good, but either way, the feeling is: God   doesn’t     love       me.

Maybe the Bible can help us?

There are many, many Bible verses about God’s love for us. (Here are a few to get you started) If you have been a Christian for any length of time, they will sound familiar to you. However, it just doesn’t seem to matter. We are stuck in the misconception that either A) I have to earn God’s love or B) “blessing” = God’s love. Therefore the converse must be true; hardship/pain = God doesn’t love/I’ve done something wrong/I’m being punished.

So even though we may know what God’s word says, we still believe the lie. The lie is all we know; it’s been spoken over us many times. And we reinforce it in our hearts and thoughts by repeating it back to ourselves. We’ve knit it into who we are and cannot break loose.

In his commentary on the Gospel of John, William Barclay wrote, “And as Paul had it: ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?’ (Romas 8:32). No man can look at the cross and doubt the love of God, and when we are sure of the love of God, it is easy to say, ‘Thy will be done.’” 

Maybe this is where breakdown occurs — at least, so often, it is for me. We look at the cross but still doubt God’s complete love. Thus, we cannot say, “Thy will be done,” because when the worst comes, we doubt God loves us.

Performance-Based Love

I’m realizing more and more the way a performance-based society has infiltrated our thinking of God and, specifically, God’s love for us. We see our primary objective with God as avoiding sin. But God says our primary objective is to let God love us — and to abide in that love. That’s so important I’m going to repeat it: our primary objective is to let God love us — and to abide in that love. Every other attempt at righteousness/holiness/good behavior is just us gritting our teeth trying to make something happen.  

Eugene Peterson said it this way, “In the Christian life, the primary task isn’t to avoid sin, which is impossible, but to recognize it.”

We are trying to attain something we already possess (unconditional love & acceptance), but in a way we were never meant to achieve it (by doing the right thing).

I disagree with Barclay when he said, “thy will be done” is easy, although I understand His point. Jesus didn’t think it was easy in the garden. I’ve never found it to be easy either. However, when you know that you are 100% loved by God — and nothing can ever change that — then you can trust in Him. You can trust in His goodness, even when what may be in front of you doesn’t seem good. You can trust that God can get you where you want to be (and where He wants you to be). And then, you can find the strength and courage to say, “not my will by yours be done.”

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. — Romans 8:28

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