What is the will?
That we are to pray that the Father’s will be done is an indication that God Himself possesses a part of Him that can make choices. The idea of praying for God’s will to be done is simply another way of saying that we prefer the will of God to override our own decision making. In other words, God should teach and inspire us to make the choices he prefers.
Based on the word of God, man consists of three parts. These are the body, soul and spirit. When we talk about the will of a human being, we are not necessarily talking about a particular part of the human being. Rather, we are talking about the ability to make decisions or choices. Choices are the result of knowing as well as feeling. Therefore the will is really a combination of the spirit (part of man that knows) and soul (part that feels) working to produce an action that can be manifested by the body via actuation in the mind.
Marriage: the Will of God
We already know from scripture that God is the originator of the marriage institution. God both created marriage and designed it with a specific intent. It is therefore written, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). This scripture tells us about the design underlying marriage and secondly, it tells us that God chooses who should be together.
If we reason according to the Word of God, it stands that if God’s design for marriage is for two people to become as ONE FLESH, then there must be something about the wills of both husband and wife that enables this process to literally manifest as He intended. How does this work? And what was God’s intent, given that marriage is not something that is done in heaven as Christ stated when he said, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).
The Ordering of Wills
In marriage, it is obvious that you are dealing with two wills. There is the male will versus the female will. Whose will should prevail in the day-to-day affairs of marriage life? That is easy. God’s. And that is why He taught through His Son Christ that we should pray for His will to be done in earth as it is in heaven. Ideally, both the male will and female will are to be subsumed under the direction of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s direction. Now for God’s will to literally be done in the marital home, He must be allowed to order the steps of His people. The Word of God tells us, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).
Given that it is only a “good” man whose steps are ordered by God, it is proper that only good men and women get married. Divorce is so rampant in our generation because so many people who either do not understand marriage, or have never submitted their will to God for their steps to be ordered by Him, enter into a flawed concept of marriage that refuses to give God His rightful place in blessing the marriage covenant and everything else that flows from it. This is not to say that even blessed marriages cannot experience crisis. They can. However, because they are ordered of Yahweh, even if they should fall, they will be upheld by the living God.
So how does God order the will of His people? He does it based on knowledge and wisdom. It was earlier said that the will or ability to make a choice is based on the spirit man, the soul and the body working according to knowledge. If a marriage is to be successful, it must be founded on knowledge or what the Word of God describes as truth. No amount of emotional desire can sustain a marriage. Only knowledge can produce marital results that were originally intended by God.
Headship and Authority
Naturally, because of the presence of evil in the world, the will of human beings does get perverted such that, God’s will does not come first as it should. This problem started in the Garden of Eden and depicts an ongoing problem in many marriages today. The perversion of human will in the Garden of Eden began with the woman’s will being exercised independent of male headship, and subsequently, the male’s will being exercised independently of God. This perversion of the wills literally brought about the marital disorder we see on the earth today.
In order for the perversion of, and resulting clash of wills to be effectively dealt with, there is a simple need. Yes, it is a very simple need: woman, keep your place…men, take your place, both with respect to God. Woman is not the inspirational source of a man. Rather, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. Too many men in western and other cultures are given to looking for their answers to household questions from their wives. Women can be very inspiring, but ultimately, they are not God. If a woman becomes your inspiration for marriage, she will ultimately become the God that you worship.
As far as headship is concerned, God, the designer of marriage spoke these words concerning the grand scheme for headship, via His holy apostle. It is written, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). In the eyes of God, His Christ or “anointed one,” is the head of every man. This means that whether a man is born again or not, Christ is His ruler. Men, turn to your God-given ruler for counsel. When it comes to females, their literal head is THE man. In the context of marriage, this is the husband. In the context of family, this is the father. And in the context of the congregation, this is the priest.
Another term we shall introduce into our article is authority. What is it? It is the ability to originate words that have the legal force of power. In the relationship between a man and his wife, authority originates with God the Father, has been delegated to His Son Christ and is manifested in the work of the Holy Spirit. In a marriage, the authority of the Word must come from the man as he is given the headship over the woman as part of the divine order. Therefore, when God seeks to do a thing in the family unit, He will manifest authority through the male first. This truth has been lost to many in the western church today. The result has been a clash of wills among many married couples and church families.
The Love Covenant: God’s Will
To conclude on this matter of the will of God in marriage, let us visit a very important piece of scripture that outlines the framework for marriage, LOVE. So that there is no confusion, marriage love, as depicted by the Word of God, is love that is submitted to the will of God. Marriage love first loves God and then manifests this same type of love towards a spouse as God leads.
It is written, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:22-28).
Wow!! Wives are to place themselves under—this is what it means to submit—their own husbands, just like they place themselves under Christ. In other words, Christ measures your submission to him in terms of your submission to your own husband. Needful to say, submission is an act of humility. It requires and proves that you are dependent upon God. As well, the Bible requires submission to Christ in everything, just as in the case of submission to a husband.
So what about husbands? They are to love their wives. Love is an act of humility that requires the skillful use of the Word of God to set someone apart and to cleanse them. Most men know the flaws of their wives. They know them very well. Despite this, the Bible commands that they love their wives and literally give themselves for them, which really means to give up their lives for them.
Since submission and love are both acts of humility, they deliver both husband and wife from the plague of self-will, and instead, enable them to accept the will of God. These two acts are the basis of the love covenant called marriage. The next time you think of marriage, ask yourself a serious question: did you give up your will to God? Or is your household full of the clash of wills?