In the Lord’s Prayer we utter these words:
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”(Matthew 6:10 KJV)
Many of us have been reciting these words since we were children . . . but do we really know what we are praying for? Do we understand how dangerous and radical these words really are? Do we realize how the truth of these words actually lived out in our lives would turn our world upside down?
Why is this so? Because, as children of Adam and Eve, our sinful nature would infinitely prefer to build our own little kingdom, rather than build the Kingdom of God. And this self-centeredness does not cease when God grants us the faith to become children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7); even after we are saved by God’s grace, that old sin nature still fights to continue construction on its little kingdom of one (Galatians 5:17).
So . . . what kingdom have you been building lately? “Thy” kingdom? . . . or “my” kingdom?
You won’t know whose kingdom you are advancing simply by measuring it against the challenges, obstacles, persecutions, and storms you may be facing. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you’re doing God’s work! Everyone on this side of the grave faces trials for countless reasons. But when you face these difficulties for the glory of Jesus Christ, you can be sure you are working toward the expansion of His Kingdom and not yours.
Working for the expansion of God’s kingdom means death—death to self and our own desires. Instead of ordering our own lives, we take our orders from another . . . and His name is Jesus Christ. He tells us to go where we often would rather not go. He tells us to speak up when we would rather remain silent. He tells us to plug into the lives of others when we would rather remain unplugged. Yet it is only in this kind of death that we actually find life! Death to self leads to life in our Savior, and life in our Savior leads to expanding His Kingdom, not ours.
When we earnestly pray for God’s kingdom to come we are asking God to reorient our hearts away from the love of self to the love of God and others—all others! And it is only the grace of God that can accomplish the monumental task of removing self from the throne of life and putting Jesus there.
As a pastor, I often coach others through difficulties in life; people will ask me, “How do I overcome this?” I’ll often encourage them to unpack this portion of the Lord’s Prayer. This is the place where we begin to slay the sin in our hearts. Desiring God’s will above our own is the secret to slaying sin—all sin—as we surrender control of our lives to the One who nailed them all to a cross.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!