SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FATHER'S WILL
by Steve Dreier
We are taught in The Urantia Book that "One is free to choose and act only within the realm of one's consciousness. (377:5)
The sincere study of The Urantia Book has produced, for many of us, a genuine expansion of consciousness, introducing new possibilities for choice and action, particularly with respect to God. The concepts we have about the Universal Father must necessarily condition our experience of relationship with him. When God is smal1 and far removed it is difficult to rely upon him to any great extent. But the Universal Father of The Urantia Book is found to be infinitely loving, infinitely powerful, and the closest and dearest friend any of us shall ever know. We are given a philosophic foundation upon which we may exercise a level of childlike trust in God which far exceeds what was previously possible for us.
But philosophy is not faith. This expanded life with the Father is not automatic; we must each choose to have it. Each of us is a freewill being, at least with respect to that which is spiritual. We are not compelled to either seek or do the Father's will; it must be a matter of voluntary, genuine, and wholehearted personal choice. We are obliged to confront and answer the question: Do we really want to do the Father's will?
What do we know about the Father's will? Quite a lot really, at least in the general sense. We know that the Father's will involves such concepts as truth, beauty, and goodness; it is associated with the positive elements of relationship: love, service, devotion, mercy, kindness, loyalty, patience, sincerity, etc. We know that his will is not self-centered or self-seeking but outgoing, sharing, and giving. And we know that it utterly transcends our human conception of these values, for it is the kind of will which loves and serves even a so-called enemy. In the will of God there is no provision for human intolerance or unfairness, not to mention anger, hate, and revenge.
On the contrary, the Father's will implies a devoted life of unselfish and wholehearted service which is freely given as, when, and where required. But it is not sentimental or foolish. It does not condone idleness, immaturity, or the pursuit of that which is evil. The Father's will requires real courage, persistent effort, and above all, a living and personal faith. We know it is a high ideal, a grand and inexpressibly glorious purpose, and that it can really be understood only by being lived. And we further know that it is ours for the asking, if we truly desire to have it. Whatever the specific and personal nature of the Father's will for us, it is certain to be reflective of these general qualities.
So, do we really want to do the Father's will.? Do these generalities provide us with enough information to formulate a decision? Of course what is being asked may seem impossibly high; we may fear that we are not capable of living life on such an exalted level of loving service. Many of us have probably experienced enough of our own faults and failures to cause us to doubt our ability to live in such a manner, even if we sincerely wanted to. The real question, however, is not can we do it but rather do we really want to do it? Do we want to give ourselves to the Father to love and serve as he directs, and with all that this implies? There are two ways of answering yes to this question: partial and wholehearted. The partial acceptance of this offer is not hard to come to; we all have the desire to seek the Father's will to some degree. But the wholehearted and unstinted response is quite another matter. In the face of well-known human limitations, mind alone is likely to be of little use. Only a genuine and trusting personal faith in the amazing promises of the Father can really free us to accept the privilege of the wholehearted doing of his will. "But I say to you in all sincerity: Unless you seek entrance into the kingdom with the faith and trusting dependence of a little child, you shall in no wise gain admission." (1536:4)
Battle doubt with faith.
Are we capable of living as the Father asks us to? Jesus consistently taught that the ability to do the Father's will could not be self-attained. He always taught that such an ability was a gift, a bestowal, or an endowment, freely given by the Father to each of his children who sincerely desires it and who will, in faith, ask for it (see p. 1609). The Father never asks us to do the impossible. If we really trust him and decide to do as he asks, he will provide us with all the tools we require to accomplish his assignments. Just how this can be is not mind-comprehensible; these are spirit transactions and they transcend the capacity of our minds. Nevertheless, whoever sincerely desires to live the will of God and who will, by faith, accept the Father's gift of spiritual power, is certain to experience the reality of these promises. The chief barrier to this realization is doubt. "The believer has only one battle, and that is against doubt--unbelief." (1766:4)
While the doing of the Father's will is accomplished by the endowments of the spirit, the purpose of this bestowal of ability is not the attainment of a life of static and blissful ease. When the power of doing God's will is given, it is for the actual doing of that will. It is certain that all who have the faith to accept this greatest of all gifts will immediately be assigned to the Father's service. It is equally certain that this service will be difficult and demanding. Yet at the same time there may also be experienced the "peace which passes understanding." Difficulty and tranquillity might seem an incompatible combination when examined by the logic of mind.
But in the faith experience of those who have chosen to wholeheartedly seek and do the Father's will these elements often find an inexplicable and transforming union. There is no knowing just where the Father's leading is going to take us, except to say that it will certainly lead down vigorous paths of genuine self-forgetfulness, wholehearted loving service, and divine assurance. "In entering the kingdom, you cannot escape its responsibilities or avoid its obligations, but remember: The gospel yoke is easy, and the burden of truth is light." (1766:3)
Again, are we really interested in doing the Father's will? It is a commonplace observation that human beings, given a choice, will focus their attention upon matters which interest them. Some people have an interest in sports, so they devote considerable time to thinking and talking about sports. Others are interested in music or movies, and they think and talk about these things. But who consistently directs attention to the Father's will? Do you observe that when students of The Urantia Book gather together, whether for study or fellowship, that the frequent topic of serious inquiry is the knowing and doing of the Father's will? And in our family life, with our close friends, or with passing acquaintances, do we often consider and discuss the Father's will?
Jesus was always thinking and talking about the Father's will, and we are called to follow him. Can we expect to make progress in this domain without giving regular and genuine attention to it? "Even to approach the knowing of a divine personality, all of man's personality endowments must be wholly consecrated to the effort; halfhearted, partial devotion will be unavailing." (30:4)
Those of us who have, at this early date, been brought to The Urantia Book are a truly blessed generation. We have been called out to be champions for the Universal Father - our Father - the God of all creation. We have been offered the unparalleled opportunity to live the remainder of our lives as representatives of the Father, to know and do his will. Many of our fellows sit in darkness, in near complete ignorance of even the existence of this kind of life, but for us it is an immediate possibility. We have a matchless text to inspire and instruct us, we have a multiplicity of spiritual forces to guide and sustain us, and we have each other. What more do we require?
It is hoped that future days will witness a growing preoccupation on our part with the question of knowing and doing the Father's will. This inexhaustible subject sorely needs the attention of sincere and interested sons and daughters. It is also hoped that we shall learn to use more of our time together to encourage one another to go forward on this endless journey, to continually grow in our willingness and ability to always say: "It is my will that your will be done." The doing of the Father's will, then, is first a question of wholehearted desire, next of the faith acceptance of spiritual power, and lastly of continued seeking of the Father's way.
The will of God can be done by anyone who truly desires to do it. Would the Father ask us to do that which we were incapable of doing? But we must be willing to seek his guidance continually and to rely upon him completely. If we truly want to love and serve, if we really wish to work for the establishment of the unseen Father's universal family, then we can and will be empowered to do so. This empowering is the rebirth of the spirit; one is born again. Everything becomes new. These are the liberated sons and daughters of God, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the free and liberated members of the infinite family of the Universal Father.
A service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship