LOOKING FORWARD

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Photo by Ryan Johns on Unsplash

 

Do you ever feel stuck? Maybe a little depressed? We all do from time to time. Some people deal with this feeling by getting a new haircut, a high-tech toy, or a major purchase (like a car or boat). Those who feel more desperate may consider changing their job or even their spouse. But such radical changes rarely result in long-term satisfaction. Rather, I’ve found that living a more meaningful life includes doing these small but proactive things every day: Continue Reading

v. 10 “… on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

In verse 9, Jesus commands us to hallow his Father’s name. In verse 10, he calls us to live in the light of his coming kingdom; specifically, by learning to live here as we will live there.

 

There is no human in heaven against his or her will. Everyone there has chosen to live in joyful, reverent obedience to its King. This unconditional surrender is an act of the will, made possible by grace through faith in Christ. In contrast, for the time being, earth is still the battleground for the wills of men and women. So by definition, every heart in heaven has conformed to God’s will. And why would they choose otherwise? For in God’s presence, they are overwhelmed by his glory and omnipotence. His light and love illuminate everything. The apostle John was given this vision of the New Jerusalem: Continue Reading

10 “…your will be done,”

 

Jesus instructs us to pray for the ultimate manifestation of his Father’s kingdom: a world where God’s will is fully honored and obeyed. So what is the relationship between doing God’s will and being a citizen of his kingdom?

 

Contrary to what we may have been told, our status as God’s children is not determined by our behavior. We can’t earn God’s acceptance simply by doing his will. If we could, there would be have been no need for Christ to die on the cross. Rather, God accomplished our adoption into his family by sending his Son to pay the ransom for our unrighteousness. Most religions, including some factions of Christianity, teach that we only belong to God if we believe and behave. In contrast, the Bible Continue Reading

v. 10 “Your kingdom come,”

 

Jesus clearly understands his Father to be the Creator King of heaven and earth. His kingdom comes in us as we individually and collectively submit ourselves to his lordship. But this transformation isn’t just personal or communal; it’s eschatological. History will culminate in the subjugation of all the nations of the earth under God’s authority. For the world in which we are living is not the world we were created to enjoy. We are living in a fallen kingdom.

 

In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve in his own image and gave them dominion over this world and everything in it (Genesis 1:27-29). By sinning, Adam and Eve forfeited their authority to a fallen angel, Lucifer, who became “…the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2). Christ, our new Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22, Hebrews 4:15), is tempted by this same devil at the onset of his ministry. Satan offers to give Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor… if you will bow down and worship me” (Matthew 4:8-9). Continue Reading

 

v. 9 “...hallowed be your name,”

 

In the Ten Commandments, the Lord warns his people to regard him with careful reverence, not abusing or blaspheming his name (Exodus 20:7). The Jews took this so seriously that they would omit the vowels when spelling God’s name in order to guard against any possible misuse.

 

In Eastern culture, your name wasn’t just what you were called; your name was who you were. Your name embodied your character, your lineage, and your authority. When God gave Adam the responsibility of naming all the animals and birds he had created (Genesis 2:19-20), he was actually giving Adam dominion over their existence. Names had great power and significance.

 

The Old Testament names for God convey—among other things–his sovereign authority (Yahweh), his might (El Shaddai), his mastery (Adonai), his provision (Jehovah-Jireh), his peace (Jehovah Shalom), and his healing (Jehovah Rapha). These names communicate God’s utter otherness, his consuming glory, and his divine power.

 

At the outset of his Prayer, Jesus instructs us to “hallow” God’s name. Although hallow isn’t a household word, most modern translations utilize this Old English term because it conveys the idea of “holding holy” or venerating that which is sacred. Continue Reading