“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” is from the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray. It is a way of saying the same thing twice. God’s kingdom is that reality where what God wants done is done. Sometimes this happens here and now on earth and we get to see it. Maybe Jesus says it this way (twice) because we have such a hard time yielding our kingdoms to the perfect and unshakeable kingdom of God. Our kingdom is where what we want done is done. Our culture tends to focus on self and things of earth: money, sex, power. People lose their lives to these false gods all the time. If you get a little raise, lose a few pounds, and are given a promotion, you feel better. If you lose money, gain weight, and lose status, you feel worse, sometimes shame that often leads to isolation that leads to depression.
Those who are raised with Christ are encouraged to a greater life, “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God…As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” (Colossians 3:1-15).
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” Perhaps a more comforting way of putting it is by Dallas Willard, “Hell is not an ‘oops!’ or a slip. One does not miss heaven by a hair, but by constant effort to avoid and escape God.”
You are invited right now to live with God right where you are. God knows your address. If you are mad at God, know that God is not mad at you. Jesus came that you and everyone would have abundant life. This beautiful abundant life is only possible through being connected to Jesus in God’s good kingdom. This of course means yielding your own kingdom. Yet, Jesus promises if you seek first God’s kingdom, then everything else that you need will be provided by our loving heavenly Father.
Unfortunately, I often experience people coming to church or coming to God not seeking God’s kingdom, but seeking their own kingdom and hoping God will get on-board with their agenda. “God, I need this job.” “Jesus, make her love me.” “Spirit get me out of the job I asked for last week.”
Reminder: God’s kingdom is where what God wants done is done. Some people look for churches to affirm what they already believe. This is dangerous and self-defeating. If you already know everything to know about God, then you are God. God created us dependent on the Holy Spirit and one another. “Love one another” is our commandment. Notice it is not “love one another if.” Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also, should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
If someone were to look at your life today or over the last 90 days, would they know that you are a disciple, student, learner, and follower of Jesus by the way you love all the people around you? This is our work, to love and serve others as Christ served on the last night of his life washing the very feet of those who would deny him, betray him, and desert him. He did not ask the disciples if they were worthy. He washed their feet.
A lot has been made of the decline of the church in America in the last few years and the growing crisis of division and hostility in our nation. Let us hear again the words of our Master Jesus, “Love one another.” The problem is not millennials, boomers, technology, or politics. Our problem is a lack of love. Start at home. Start now. What the world needs now is love.