God’s Will for Us
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
In these verses, we see Jesusgiving His disciples a lesson on prayer. I don’t know about you, but for me prayer is one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines–perhaps because Satan despises it so. You can be sure that anytime you desire to be in God’s Word or spend time with Him in prayer, Satan is going to be trying to distract. His distractions, coupled with our own flawed self, calls for a firm resolve to accomplish effectively this precious gift of prayer. Scripture tells us:
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
So what did Jesus teach His disciples about prayer? He begins by telling them to have faith in God. What does He mean by that? It boils down to an unwavering trust in God’s power and unfailing goodness. We can have faith in God because, quite simply, He is worthy of our faith. He can be trusted. Has He ever really let you down? Has He walked with you through every valley? Has He always been faithful in the past? Are not His mercies new every morning? Yes, He can be trusted! Our difficulties arise when we desire what is not His desire for us. James says it so succinctly:
You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3)
God is not Santa Clause, the Good Fairy, or some other sort of magic genie that is sitting around waiting us to express our wishes. Neither does He fulfill the Burger King slogan of “Have it your way.” He is far too loving for that. He who formed our inmost being, who knit us together in our mother’s womb, knows what is best for us. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He enjoys bestowing bounty on His children. He loves to say “Yes” … but when the answer is “No” or “Wait” we can be sure a greater good is being accomplished in our lives. Remember, Jesus at one time received a “No” from His Father:
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
In our verses for today then, what mountain is Jesus describing that we can be assured of moving if only we believe that we have received it? It begins by having an understanding of God’s heart which comes from knowing God’s Word. When Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, He told them to pray:
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God desires earth as it was before the fall–the beauty (no death), the purity (no sin), the unstrained relationship with man (no selfish flesh)–heaven, so to speak, on earth. He desires for us to be conformed to the image of His Son–whatever it takes–so that we can point others to Him. God desires for none to perish, but for all to come to repentance. He does not delight in death, even of the wicked. I have found by simply praying God’s Word back to Him, my desires come in line with His. You see, it is not about us, it is all about Him. God alone is to be glorified.
Take It to Heart
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him. (Psalm 145:13-20)
“Acceptance of God’s will brings peace.” (Amy Carmichael)