By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross
We’ve been trying to understand how to hear from God and know His will. We noted that studying the Scriptures and prayer are two of the most frequent and consistent ways that God communicates with His people. We continue our examination of The Lord’s Prayer this week with the purpose of hearing from God. This is the prayer that used to be recited in school, taken directly from the Bible. The phrase we will examine is “Your kingdom come.”
The gospel Jesus preached in his ministry is summed up in Mark 1:15. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Notice that there is no mention of what Christ did for us on the cross or the denial of self to follow Jesus; all this is true and very important, but it is the work of Christ and our response to his lordship that accomplish a specific goal: the fulfillment of God’s eternal and perfect kingdom. The grace extended to us by God through Jesus Christ is intended to capture us for a better kingdom–God’s kingdom. But when we don’t think about that first or understand it, we end up trying to get in the way
In Mark 9:30-37, Jesus told his disciples that he would soon be captured and killed. They didn’t respond with concern or remorse. Instead, they argued amongst themselves about who among them was the greatest.
Unfortunately, we all tend to pursue the establishment and glory of our own kingdoms where we are lords and rulers of all. In some sense, we all hope to accomplish a situation such as that described in the parable of the rich fool: And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19). We want to create for ourselves some vision of our own utopia where we have all we need, our labor is easy and fruitful, our family members meet our expectations, and all things work together to keep us happy and fulfilled.
There are several problems with that model.
One problem is that we lack the ability to control circumstances and people (others and even ourselves). Look how hard we work to win a rodeo and look what happens to our attitude when we buck off a bull or bronc we were determined to ride or miss our catch after hours at the practice arena. We can do all we think we can to win, but it’s never guaranteed no matter what effort we put into it. As much as we try to control the outcome for a win, we can be badly hurt or killed. This is a fallen world, we are fallen people, and we are not Sovereign God! Another problem is that our perpetual happiness and fulfillment is rarely ever good for us or for mankind collectively, nor is it glorifying for God – the very purpose for which we were created.
In Luke 12:32, Jesus said to his disciples, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Jesus didn’t come to exercise his authority and power to make my little kingdom work, but by grace to welcome me as God’s child into a much better kingdom than I could ever create under my broken leadership and pathetic power. Only in the kingdom that Jesus invites us to can we experience eternal life, peace, and joy.
God, I repent of trying to be a sovereign ruler over my own warped mini-kingdom. May your glorious eternal kingdom come in me and through me today.