Every Sunday at the close of our service, we say the Lord’s Prayer together. During that prayer, there is a line that goes “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Lately, I wonder if we have fundamentally misunderstood what that means.
We see the world around us falling further and further into sin. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, there have been over 60 million innocent babies slaughtered in the womb. Gay marriage has been legalized and Christian business owners are being prosecuted for not wanting to actively participate in those ceremonies. Meanwhile, the church has still been praying “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We are being told that biology no longer exists and that a person is whatever gender they say they are. There are men now competing against women in sports, and robbing them of championships, scholarships, etc. because those men claim they are women and no one seems to have the courage to say “This isn’t right!” We have still been praying “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
We are increasingly being drawn into a culture that promotes drugs, premarital sex, partying, and all the things the church has typically stood against. Our nation has become increasingly divided over politics while church leaders have even been promoting political leaders as if they are some messianic figure. There have been riots in the streets for years, and even one at the capitol building, yet, we have not stopped praying “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
It does not seem like this prayer is out of line...after all, this is the way Jesus told us to pray...so why aren’t seeing the kingdom of God come? Why isn’t God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven? Surely none of this sinful behavior exists in heaven. Is it because the church has not had enough faith as we prayed? No, I don’t think so. I think we just fundamentally misunderstand this line in the Lord’s Prayer. What if we are making the same mistake that the Jews made when they thought about what the kingdom of God was?
“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, honor, and a kingdom, so that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all languages might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
This prophecy of the coming messiah is the reason Jesus calling himself “son of man” was so significant. It also was fundamentally misunderstood. The Jewish people expected the messiah to come to earth, overthrow earthly kingdoms, and establish a new government on earth. That’s why Jesus was ultimately rejected and crucified. They did not understand the kingdom Jesus had actually come to establish was a spiritual one. I think that we Christians, at least in the United States, have begun to fall into this trap of thinking...looking to try to establish God’s kingdom by voting in godly leaders into positions of power in our government.
While I certainly believe we should be voting for godly people and actively trying to overturn sinful and ungodly laws, I think we can often miss the point while doing so and we can also get discouraged as we see our politics, government, and culture slip further and further in chaos and sin. It almost feels like we aren’t doing a good enough job to establish God’s kingdom on this earth. It’s almost as if we feel that our calling is to make a sinful world not be sinful anymore.
2 Timothy 3:10-17
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who want to live in a godly way in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil people and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.
What if the kingdom of God coming...what if God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven...what if those things meant something much deeper than we understand?
What if the kingdom of God coming...what if God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven...what if those things meant something much deeper than we understand? What if the kingdom Jesus came to establish wasn’t an earthly government? What if the kingdom of God existed in us? What would that mean? “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” What if, instead of trying to establish God’s kingdom on earth through our earthly governments, we tried to BE God’s kingdom on earth?
What if, instead of constantly condemning our leaders, we prayed for them? What if, instead of demonizing people who disagree with us politically, we demonstrated our love towards them, as fellow human beings and people who have been created after God’s image and that Jesus died for? What if, instead of starting with our differences, we started with kindness and compassion for those who are just as lost as any of would be without God getting ahold of us? What if, instead of trying to change the world, we tried to change our response to it?
New Beginnings Family