On Earth As It Is In Heaven

How many of us know the Lord’s prayer by heart? How many of us have repeated these words, without really thinking about what they mean– without thinking they actually might require action of us in the process.

Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

And so it begs the question: Do we have a clue of what we are praying? When we are praying this prayer, do we honestly understand that when we say “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” , we need to be FORGIVING. Do we honestly understand that when we say “do not lead us into temptation”, we need to be actively avoiding the traps of our mind that we know will be leading us directly into those very temptations? Do we honestly understand that when we say “Your kingdom come, Your will be done”, we need to be willing to step out when He calls us?

But here’s the clincher.

Do we understand that when we say “on earth as it is in heaven”, that we are telling God we want this place we call earth to look like heaven itself, and by saying that we must take action in order to achieve that purpose?

God doesn’t want us to just survive this life, constantly waiting for the next one, when we could be bringing a little more wholeness, a little more peace, a little more God to the one we have now. Sure, this is not our home. Heaven is the only place of perfect peace, rest, and wholeness. Scripture says:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.– Matthew 5:1-12″

But here’s my question… Should these blessings be saved only for eternal heaven? I understand that we can’t inherit the kingdom of heaven now, here. But, I believe that the those who mourn should be comforted here. I believe that those who are peacemakers should be honored. I believe that those who hunger for righteousness should be filled here (not with earthly things, but with more of the Spirit). I believe joy can be found, not only in heaven, but here on earth.

I believe the kingdom of heaven should begin here. And I believe that’s where we come in.

We can be comforters, encouragers, worshipers.

But not only that, we can demonstrate what God will pour out on us at the last day. Because God will restore us to perfect unity with Him, we can take action and live out this stuff now. We can restore the orphan to families, we can love the least of these, we can bring peace to the restless, show love to the broken.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”– Romans 12:14-21

This is heaven on earth.

Choosing Strength

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.”– Psalm 27:13&14

How often do we look at someone and say “they are stronger than me, I never would be able to handle that.” OR how often do we look at ourselves and say, “This is too much. I am not strong enough.”

Here’s the thing, though. The bible never says “If you have a strong personality or you are strong-willed, then be strong and courageous.” No.

In Joshua 1, God makes it very clear by saying,

“I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (v. 6-9).”

God is saying choose courage. Choose strength. But it’s not strength based on personality or personal experience or any of the tricks we would like to be able to pull out of our hat. Choosing strength is choosing to live sourced by the Spirit.

It’s about being willing to be broken, awestruck, humbled, and in wonder of a God who so lavishly loves us. It’s about accepting His will, His lead, His choice for our lives and following accordingly. It’s about crying tears of desperation and sacrifice and the laying down of our life, so that He might be proven faithful. It’s about trust in the midst of confusion, worship in the midst of struggle, joy in the midst of pain.

And it doesn’t look like a textbook definition or what the world might expect most of the  time.