Last week’s blog was entitled “Bragging About God“. I looked at the first line of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus used as a template to teach His disciples to pray: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Mathew 6:9). I believe that Jesus prayed that first because a human being’s greatest need is to experience God’s presence and working in one’s life. In order for that to happen, we need to cultivate:
- a heart attitude in which we revere God, and
- a lifestyle in which we increasingly live according to God’s ways.
GOD’S KINGDOM IS REAL – AND NOT IMAGINARY
In the second line of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches His followers to pray that ” God’s kingdom would come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mathew 6:10). I believe that the way God’s kingly rule is most often experienced on this earth is when God’s people more and more allow their hearts and lives to be ruled by God’s indwelling Spirit. The Judeo-Christian faith teaches that human beings are created in God’s image. Among other things, this means humans have the capacity to have a personal relationship with God. It also means we are called to be servant-leaders as we carry out God’s will and purposes in our family and marital relationships, in our lives as workers, neighbours and citizens.
A common misconception in our culture is that being “religious” or a follower of God is somehow something impractical and divorced from the everyday realities of life. The biblical conception of the godly life as a life that truly honors God is exactly the opposite. When Jesus exhorts His followers to pray for God’s name to be hallowed and for His kingdom to come to earth and for His will to be done, He means for the answers to these requests to be realized in the gritty details of everyday life.
I believe that God’s kingdom comes when we seek to be faithful to Him by emulating His character in our lives by yielding to the indwelling Holy Spirit in the warp and woof of everyday life. I believe I have experienced the Lord’s kingly presence most powerfully in my relationships with family members, co-workers and the baseball players I coach. This is where I live, where I spend most of my time and energy. It is no surprise, then, that this is where God wants to manifest His loving, kingly presence in my life.
“I EXPERIENCED AN ANSWER TO JESUS’ PRAYER…”
I believe that last night, after the completion of a baseball game, I experienced an answer to Jesus’ prayer that God’s kingdom would come to earth. The s
ituation involved frustration that had developed over the last couple of weeks between a player and myself. This caused the player’s parents to be frustrated with me, as well. After the game, my co-coach Andy, the player and his parents and I had a talk to clear the air. It was a respectul discussion during which grace reigned. Apologies were extended both by the player and myself and I have full confidence that the relationship that I have with him and his parents will be stronger than ever.
GOD’S KINGDOM IS HERE…BUT NOT FULLY YET
I believe that God’s kingdom will fully come to earth when the King, Jesus, will return in His second coming. When He comes, there will be no more death, no more evil, no more alienation and brokenness in our relationships. All will be healed. This is Good News or Gospel. But also part of the Good News or Gospel is that we can presently experience Jesus’ kingly presence and grace. We can begin experiencing the healing of ourselves and our human relationships. I believe the grace of God can enable us to cultivate a loving relationship with our spouse, growing and respectful relationships with our children, and even with the players we coach and the workers with whom we work. The kingdom of God is very real and not some imaginary tooth fairy kingdom.
This is the good news of Jesus Christ!