“Thy Will Be Done”: Chapter 3 – Doing God’s Will, Our Union with Jesus
Part 3 in a series
By Andrew Murray
“Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12: 50.
How many Christians there are who long greatly for a more intimate fellowship with the Lord Jesus. The thought of a fuller experience of His love, of His abiding presence, of His mighty power to save from sin and self, greatly attracts them. They often wonder that the longings and the prayers of years appear to avail so little. They are ready to turn to anyone who they think can help them to discover the secret of what they have sought in vain, the full manifestation in their heart of the love and the power of Christ. Come, my reader, turn today to our Blessed Lord Himself, and let Him tell you His open secret. The way into the most intimate union with Christ is very simple: doing the will of His Father. Of one who does this He says: the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.
What does this mean? A brother or a sister is one who is born of the same father, shares the same love, and home, and care; bears in some measure the same likeness in disposition and character; is bound to his other brothers and sisters by these ties in a common love and manner of life. When Christ calls one of us a brother or sister, it means nothing less. Like Him we are born of God; the Father’s life, and love, and likeness are in us, as in Him. As the Elder Brother, He gives to us and shares with us all He has; He pours out on us all the love with which the Father loves Him. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. He delights in our relationship to Him, in our welfare, in our society. He only lives to find His happiness in us, and in what He can do for us. The one thing He longs for is that we should know and claim our relationship, should come to Him and be free with Him as no brother or sister ever was.
Let us pray for the quickening of the Holy Spirit to make all this a reality. Just think of what a joy would come into the believer’s life if he truly realised this: Jesus loves me as a brother, yes me, just as I am, all unworthy and sinful. He loves me as a brother. No elder brother ever watched over a weak younger brother so tenderly as my Elder Brother watches over me. He wants me to know it. He gives the command: “Say to My brethren, I ascend to My Father and your Father.” He wants me to know it; He longs that I should live with Him as a brother in the Father’s presence; He is able and willing to make the possibility a reality. He invites us to come and say in tender reverence, O my Holy Elder Brother — I dare scarce say, and yet I may and I will — I am Your brother; You are my Brother. He can enable us to realize it, and abide in His presence all the day and every day.
And what is the disposition of heart that can claim the blessing and abide in it. Read again: “Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.” The Lord opens here to us the deepest secret of His own life as Son of God on earth. He came as man to prove the blessedness and the glory of doing the will of the Father. In His human life this was the one disposition that lay at the root of His power to conquer sin, to satisfy God, and to save us. Doing the will of God is the only possible way, on earth or in heaven, of pleasing Him.
Thinking as God thinks, loving what God loves, willing as God wills, doing what God says — how could we think that there is any way but this to the fellowship or the favor of God? Of Himself Jesus said: “I have kept the commandments of My Father and abide in His love.” The law for the Elder Brother is the unchangeable law for all the children: doing the Father’s will is the only true mark of being a child. And so it is the one condition of being admitted to the full experience of a walk in all the joy that the Brotherhood of Jesus can bring. Doing the will of the Father is the bond of union with Jesus.
The converse is also true. Union with Jesus gives the power to do the will of the Father. We begin with “willing to do His will,” and do it as far as we know and can. When this is really done with the whole heart, we come and claim the promise of being admitted consciously into the love and society of the Elder Brother. In true relation with Him, studying His example, drinking in His Spirit, receiving His strength, we get larger insight and greater love of God’s will, and begin to long to live in it wholly even as Jesus did. And so we go from strength to strength, the doing the will fitting for the brother-life, and the brother-life fitting for the doing of the will. In ever closer union with Him, the Elder Brother imparts to us, in ever deeper measure, the secret of His own blessed life in the will of God.
And what is that secret? It is found in the words our Lord so frequently uses — “the will of My Father, which is in heaven.” Christ was only able to do and suffer as He did, because it was all to Him each moment the will of a loving Father. The will of the Father was nothing but the experience of the love of the Father: therefore He delighted, therefore He was able, to do it. Many Christians never learn to understand the difference between the Law of God and the Will of God. The law is given by a Ruler, and when embodied in a statute book may be kept or broken, with very little thought of personal relationship to the Lawgiver. For this reason the Law has no power to secure obedience. Christ speaks of the Will as the Will of the Father — the expression of a personal, living communication, in which the Father’s voice and presence is ever known, and the Will never for a moment separated from Him whose it is. It was the ever-present Love of God showing His will, and the ever-blessed enjoyment of that Love, that enabled Christ to be obedient even unto death. It is this alone can enable us to do the Father’s will. The grace once for all to yield ourselves to do only that will; the faith to believe that in the fellowship and by the power of Christ such a life is possible; the joyful devotion to Him to walk as led by His hand, and like Him to do the Father’s will; these all come as a believer seeks to know the life of a brother of the First Begotten Son.
It is indeed a change in the life of a believer, when he fully grasps and experiences the difference between the Law of God and the Will of the Father. He sees how the only power to do the will is the unceasing experience of the Father’s presence, His loving voice, His guiding eye, His inspiring love. He sees how that was the life Jesus lived, how nothing less is the life Christ lives in us. He learns to understand how doing the Father’s will is the one blessing into which faith is to lead us, the one secret of abiding union with Christ Jesus. Go out, my soul, into your work this day, and let your life be transfigured by the one thought: Like Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, I live to do the Father’s will.