I was walking along the seashore today in conversation with God when I received new insight into the Lord's prayer. This is such a familiar passage in the Bible and most of us know some version of it by heart. On average you will find that as believers we have heard many sermons on it, done Bible studies on it, read poems and other articles on it, and have been confronted by these words on countless occasions. Today's blog does not aim to take anything away from what you have heard before, but rather to add to it. It is by no means a difficult concept to grasp or even entirely new. On the contrary, it is extremely simple. Yet, if you understand this with more than just your head, you may get to know something about the heart of God.
In this manner, therefore, pray:It occurred to me today that this prayer is actually somewhat of a one-liner. Jesus truly asks for only one thing in this prayer. Previously when I read this prayer, I would read it as if it were a prayer list; do this, do that, give this, give that, etc. Today I suddenly realized that Jesus asked for only one thing, on which He then expanded in the rest of the prayer. He asks that our Father's will be done. What is our Father's will? He teaches us, His younger, largely ignorant siblings what that will is.
Our Father 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 forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)
It is our Father's will to provide for us. It is His will to forgive us. It is His will that we should forgive others. It is even His will to set this forgiveness of others as a standard for the forgiveness we ourselves will receive! It is not His will that we be led into temptation. It is His will that we should be delivered from evil.
Did you hear God's heart in Jesus' prayer? Did you learn something about our Father that you had not known or realized before? This is why Jesus expanded on His initial words of "Your will be done." How did Jesus know the will of our Father? What made it so perfectly clear to Him? I believe the secret is locked up in the comparative statement, "as it is in heaven." This is where Jesus came from. Heaven was Jesus' 'hometown.' What a stark contrast to heaven earth must have been!
Can you imagine for one second that anybody is lacking in food, clothing, shelter, or any other way in heaven? No! Because it is God's will that everyone should be provided for. He arranged creation so that nature will reproduce! Can you imagine anyone in heaven going around saying how they are not talking to this one or that one, how someone just isn't their kind of person, belittling each other, degrading each other, bullying each other? Can you imagine someone adamantly refusing to forgive some slight or oversight, looking out for Number One in heaven? How that number must diminish in the presence of God! How that slight must shrink in the presence of the Almighty! How that grudge must wane when confronted by God and His mercy, forgiveness, kindness, love...
Now let me get to temptation. Do you know that I have actually heard these words interpreted as God having the ability (will) to lead man into temptation, and that we should ask for deliverance from this action/will of God? Warped, I know. How do I know? Because I have seen a glimpse of our Father's heart. Jesus' death and resurrection, his forgiveness and restoration, has made it possible for me to have a relationship with God. More than that. The gift of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for me from one moment to the next to know what is the perfect will of God, if my borrow from Paul's words.
And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2 NKJV)There is no evil to be found in God. God can not lead you into evil, because evil will flee from God. Remember how the demons reacted in fear to the presence of Jesus? God has nothing to gain by leading you into temptation. If He were to do that, He would be acting against His own interests and He would be nullifying the work that Jesus did on the cross.
but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. (James 1:14 NIV).The reason the world is in the state that it's in, is because man has decided to seek his own will, to do as he likes, to set himself up as number one, and to follow his own whims. Jesus recognized this 2000 years ago, give or take a few. When He uttered the words "on earth as it is in heaven," He was speaking from experience. He was familiar with a contrasting setup where God's will was done.
I want to ask you to challenge your own ideas and concepts of God to see how much of that 'image' of God is your own making, and how much of it is truly God. You can know God. He is real. He will answer and let Himself be known by those who search for Him with a pure heart. You can not meet me if you bring your own ideas about who I am to the meeting. You can only meet me, if you arrive with a clean slate on which I can teach you about myself. The same goes for God. Put aside all those preconceived ideas and notions you have about Him and learn to know Him for Who He truly is.
Our Father's will be done in your life as it is in heaven.
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