Taste buds sprang to life as the sweetness of the fruit danced around in their mouths. Maybe the serpent was onto something. Of all the trees in the garden, why this one? What was so special about this tree that they must refrain from eating its fruit? Maybe the serpent was right. If it looks good and I want it, why would God withhold it from me?
The only commandment the Old Adam flawlessly keeps is fearing, loving, and trusting in self above all things. The prayer of the Old Adam is simple, short, and to the point — My will be done.
The will and Word of God were discarded in the garden. As they bit into the fruit God had commanded they abstain from, their eyes were opened. Their will was done. Their faith, love, and trust in God had been broken. The choice Adam and Eve made brought fear, death, and suffering.
God willed that we would love him by trusting and obeying his Word. Instead, we have thrown his Word aside. We do not cherish his Word as we should, rather, we look to our own desires and seek ways in which to accomplish our own sinful will. However, the Lord’s love and his will are not hindered by sin. God does not desire the death of the sinner.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, the Second Adam, prayed. He prayed the prayer the Old Adam refuses to pray. He placed himself under the will of his Father. He did what the Old Adam cannot do. He did not doubt God’s love, rather, he feared, loved, and trusted in God above all things, even to his own death for us. “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
God’s will for the Second Adam was not simply to abstain from eating from a certain tree. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him” (Isaiah 53:10). God’s will was for Christ to suffer, to go to the tree of the cross and hang in our place. The mercy of God for us placed the burden and punishment of the fall on Christ. God’s will was for our salvation in Christ.
God’s will is not sparkly, flashy, exciting, extraordinary plans for your life—at least not in the Old Adam’s eyes. So, what is the will of God?
Martin Luther described the will of God as, “When God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will which would not let us hallow God’s name nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh; but strengthens and preserves us steadfast in His Word and faith unto our end.”
The Lord’s will for us looks like a cross. It looks like water and sounds like God’s Word. It smells like bread and wine which hold the body and blood of Christ for us. God’s will is to kill the Old Adam and raise us through the gifts in Word and sacrament through the work of Christ for us.
Thy will be done. As we hear the Gospel, as we are brought to repentance and faith, as we receive the gifts, God’s will is done in us. We can now pray, as Norman Nagel beautifully writes, “Help me out of refusing to be loved so much. Let your body and blood have their way with me so I know how incredibly You join me and love me to death and by Your death win forgiveness for me, who is accepted, embraced, joined with You.” Not mine, but Thy will be done.
Kathy graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a B.A. in Media Design. She is currently a writing contributor with Christ Hold Fast, Higher Things, and Coffee by Gillespie, as well as a freelance graphic designer. She is the co-author of The Sinner/Saint Lenten Devotional from 1517 Publishing.