To say that Jesus loved to do His Father’s will is an understatement. Christ taught that His staple food was the will of God in John 4:34. “ ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His workʼ ”. While it could be understood as hyperbole, it can also be understood contextually as literally stating His dependence on the will of the Father more than on food. If one thinks about it, all of society, commerce, economics, and global trade revolve not around money but the largest expenditure of money: food. At the core of every existence is the drive to sustain oneself. While this drive is cushioned in the developed world with other luxuries, the developing world is quite cognizant and constantly mindful of this need. Christ states that more than meeting the fundamental needs of human life is the basic need to obey the will of God.
This will is understood to be more than a blessing here and there and the answering of a prayer of mine and yours. God’s will encapsulates the salvation of the world (John 6:38–40). In order words, Christ saw the salvation of the world as more important than life itself—love beyond life. Not only was this the largest and most zoomed-out plan of God, but also Christ took delight in it, seeking the pleasure of the Father in this macro-narrative of a plan (John 8:29). He prayed about it daily, as exemplified in the line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, KJV).
But in one particular moment the fate of the world came to a standstill. It was a night in Gethsemane when, though He was God, His humanity made Him vulnerable. Christ had previously acknowledged that He could not do the will of God by Himself and didn’t seek to do His own will (John 5:30). At Gethsemane, though He asked for the will of God, Christ wanted it to pass from Him (Matthew 26:39–44). In fact, this is what He prayed for three times.
Though the conditions of the temptation are drastically different, the parameters of the temptation are the same with us. We will never be called to be tempted as Christ was in the intensity and magnitude of the crucifixion. But we are tempted to avoid God’s will and to have our own way. We are tempted either to be partially obedient, dilatorily obedient, or disobedient altogether. The secret to our minuscule conundrums (as well as to the divine plan of salvation for humanity!) is Christ’s statement, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).
Not only the prerequisite to knowing God’s will but also the strength to do God’s will are found in the denial of self-will and the seeking of His. Once this heart assent is calibrated, the strengthening grace of heaven accompanies the surrendered heart to success, just as it happened to Jesus Christ.