…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10 NIV
when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a 7-point prayer item. Yet it wasn’t the ‘bless me Lord’, or ‘let my enemies fall down and die’ kind of prayers. It was a simple worship, prayer for obedience to God, humble plea for provision, reciprocated forgiveness, protection from evil, and adoration to God. Of course, Jesus didn’t give them the prayer as a creed merely to be recited in worship services or at family devotion tables. He gave them what should become the focus of every sincere prayer and what should characterize a life devoted to God:
…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
What then is the meaning and implication of ‘thy Kingdom come’.
How the Kingdom Comes
What is at the heart of this petition? How do we know that the kingdom has come to the life of an individual, a community, or a nation?
The clause that follows reveals the answer… when God’s will as it has been revealed is being obeyed and carried out in that life, community or nation, as it is done in heaven.
It is when God takes rule over a life, a community or a nation. The Kingdom comes when men are living in conformity to the will and eternal counsel and purpose of God – in their thoughts, words and actions. It is when Christ rules and reigns in the heart of men as Lord and savior.
God is king in heaven. There He is fully obeyed. His will is done without reservation or hesitation. Multitudes of angels and glorified saints minister to Him in humble adoration and joyful service. But on earth, Satan the deceiver of the whole world leads a rebellious mankind to disobey God. He sits over the kingdoms of the earth and he has one goal: to see that the will of God is not done on earth as in heaven, to lead all nations to their ultimate destruction.
‘Thy Kingdom come’ is not only a matter for prayer, it is a matter of personal life and devotion. It is a matter of spiritual warfare – because Satan and the kingdom of darkness are constantly opposing the will of God on earth. It is also at the center of the apostolic mandate – because until men believe the gospel and accept Christ as Lord and savior, they are unable to obey God. It is also the hope and ultimate end we look forward to, when Christ will finally win the victory and restore all things to God, when all the kingdoms of the earth will become the kingdom of our God.
Until the kingdom comes to the life of an individual, until Christ reigns and rules in the heart of a man, he cannot expand it to others. For no man can expand a kingdom that he does not belong to.
In order words, we must receive the kingdom in our hearts first, before we begin to pray for the kingdom to come and the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The first step towards receiving the kingdom
Before the advent of Christ and the revelation of the kingdom, God sent John and his message was repentance. When Jesus began preaching, his message was ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matt. 4:17).
Before the kingdom will come to a life, a community or nation, there must be repentance. Repentance is acknowledging that we were wrong and lost. Repentance is turning away from sin and Satan to God. It is renouncing our citizenship in the kingdom of darkness.
It is saying we are sorry for our sins, for forsaking God. It is confession of our sins to God. It is forsaking our sin. It is changing our mind and attitude and returning to God.
But we are not called to repentance alone, it is repentance and faith towards God (Acts 20:21, Heb. 6:1). We are not only sorry for our sins, but we believe also the gospel of God. We believe that Christ is the son of God and was sent to save us from our sin by the shedding of his blood. Repentance without faith towards God is mere remorse and cannot lead one into the kingdom. It is faith- that is believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that opens wide the door of the kingdom and salvation. It is that faith that brings the reality and power of salvation to our lives.
It is then that we see that all our sins are forgiven. We experience the witness that we are now sons of God, we receive the spirit of Christ, we have our names written in the lamb’s book of life and become new creations in Christ (John 1:21, Rom. 8:14-16, 2 Cor. 5:17). We at that moment become born again and are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God (Col 1:13-14).
At this point the kingdom has come in our lives!
Thy Kingdom come- a life devoted to the will of God
When we become again, we realize we now belong to a new kingdom- the kingdom of heaven. And what must become the priority of our lives is living to do the will of God.
The kingdom lifestyle is a lifestyle of doing the will of God. A life in which the kingdom has come is a life that has obeyed the gospel and is doing the will of God. And what is the will of God?Tweet
Even Christ when he came in to the world said “Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll– I have come to do your will, my God’” (Heb. 10:7). He also said “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will (John 6:38). He showed what the kingdom life is about – doing the will of God. He demonstrated this life of devotion to the will of God in everything for the years he lived on earth. His was a life of absolute surrender and trust in God. He did nothing that was not the will of God.
The kingdom lifestyle is a lifestyle of doing the will of God. A life in which the kingdom has come is a life that has obeyed the gospel and is doing the will of God. And what is the will of God? According to 1 Thess. 4:3 the will of God is our sanctification.
The meaning conveyed in the word ‘sanctification’ is deeper than our everyday use of the word. According to the Bakers Dictionary of the Bible, to sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. A pen is “sanctified” when used to write. Eyeglasses are “sanctified” when used to improve sight. In the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God’s design and purpose. Jesus while on earth was sanctified to do the will of God. We also, when we believe in Christ, are sanctified of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus (I Pet. 1:2).
We are set apart for holiness, sexual purity, and separation from the world (1 Thess. 4:3, Heb. 12:14). This sanctification is done by God himself through his Spirit and the Word of truth (2 Thess. 2:13, John 17:17). We cannot sanctify ourselves, God does the work of sanctification when we believe. This work however is not only at the point when we believe but also a continual work by His Spirit and His Word (Rom 12:1-30). As we continue to believe and look on the lord – in repentance, in prayers and in his word- we are transformed daily into the likeness of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:16-18).
Therefore, the Kingdom has come to my life, when I dedicate my life to doing the will of God, when I live every day to obey God and do his will. The kingdom has come when Christ becomes Lord, when he reigns over my heart and controls and directs all thoughts, words and actions. The kingdom has come to my life when I yield my spirit, soul and body to obey Christ, when I use the members of my body as instruments unto righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:14). It means self is dethroned from my heart; it means sin and Satan are dethroned. It means there is no throne, no idol, no man, no woman and nothing that rules and reigns in my heart besides God. It means the Spirit holds absolute sway over us and we are so filled with Christ that everyone sees him only and always living in us.
The implications of this in practical life is real and far reaching. It means when we wake up in the morning, we recognize that we are not our own, but belong to the king. As such, we consciously dedicate ourselves to carry out his will. We trust him daily as we go about our daily task to live in us, to think the right kind of thoughts, to speak his words and do the things he will have us do. As servants of the kingdom, we literally wait on him in prayer and in communion in his word to lead and direct our affairs.
It implies Christ takes over to dictate and direct our relationships, our finances, our careers, our finances, and all our going out and coming in. It means Christ determines how we use our time, energy and resources. It means we lose our right to live for ourselves but for God and his will. This is true devotion to God, and we see it exemplified by Christ and the early apostles.
It is when this has become our daily experience that we say the kingdom has come in our lives. And it is only then that we can pray that prayer and labor with God to extend the kingdom to others. We cannot be praying that the kingdom will come, and that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven if the kingdom has not come to our lives, and if we are not living in obedience to the will of God. Perhaps we should pray for that first in our lives, that the kingdom- God’s absolute rule and lordship- will come to our lives and we will live of a daily devotion to doing the will of God.
May God have His way in our lives, may his kingdom come, and his rule extend to every area of our lives. Amen.