“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36–40 ESV)
How can you command love—especially in our culture where the word “love” is misapplied to describe everything from how you feel about your cat to your allegiance to your country? We love our dishware and we love our children. The same word is used. Love is often viewed as a feeling or an emotional wave that comes over us. So we describe love as something that can happen at first sight. Love is applied to sexual relations between a man and a woman. Then we come to a text like this and we could think it’s a command to feel about God like I feel about my cat or my wife. The argument goes that if love is a feeling then it can’t be commanded; it must flow mysteriously and organically from within us. How can God command a feeling?
“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 also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:7–13 ESV)
The Extent – On Earth as it is in Heaven
This little phrase could be applied to all three previous clauses, “hallowed be your name,” “Your kingdom come,” and “your will be done.” But it most specifically applies to “your will be done.”
Jesus provides a measurement. Heaven! Heaven is where God’s decreed will and revealed will are perfectly fulfilled. By whom? The angels to start with. God’s every will is their every delight. Many of us like Chick-fil-A where they are trained to respond to every question with, “My pleasure.” If Chick-fil-A feels like heaven to you, it is in that respect. It is the angels’ highest and greatest pleasure to do God’s will. They do his bidding immediately. They fulfill his desire fully without any internal sinful tension.
Who else is perfectly fulfilling the will of God in heaven? The saints of God. Gossipy Mrs. A. in heaven speaks kindly. Angry Mr. B in heaven is loving. Miss C. who used to struggle with addiction is free to love God more than anything. Mr. D. who had a little bit of a potty mouth now hallows God’s name. In heaven, nobody prays, “your will be done” because they don’t have to.
Only on earth is God’s will defied and denied. That’s where we live and in our own hearts we feel the tension every day between my will and God’s will.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
‘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 also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’” (Matthew 6:5-13 ESV)
“Your KINGDOM come.”
Here is our now familiar word as we have been teaching on the kingdom of God for several months.
We have to understand the kingdom of God to ever properly understand the kingdom of man. We were born in the kingdom of man. Raised in it. It feels normal to us. The kingdom of man is also known as the kingdom of Satan. Remember, this rebellious kingdom began in the heart of Satan as he rebelled against God. He birthed it by temptation in the heart of Eve and then Adam and his rebellion against God spread and infected the cosmos. Satan became the king of the universe:
- The prince of this world (John 14:30 NIV)
- The god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV)
- Ruler of this world (John 12:31)
- The power (kingdom) of Satan (Acts 26:18)
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world. Jesus didn’t dispute they were his to give.
If you were Jesus, who would you put forward as the quintessential example of the kingdom of God? Jesus had some choices at hand. How about brash, self-confident Peter? Jesus didn’t point to him. How about well-known followers like Nicodemus or James and John? Again, there were serious problems with all of them and Jesus didn’t point to them. So who do you put forward and say, Everyone, when it comes to my kingdom, this is what I am talking about?
How to Have a Kingdom-First Marriage
Be clear with each other what the purpose of your marriage is
People get married for all kinds of reasons, but a Christian marriage must have one purpose as the guiding and uniting principle of their marriage—to honor and glorify Jesus through their marriage.
Talk about the King (spiritual conversations)
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV)
Talking to our family members happens naturally. Having spiritual content to those conversations doesn’t. God knew this and made it a command in Israel. We can talk about the weather all we want, but bring up something spiritual and you get…crickets. Kingdom culture requires kingdom conversations. Not only is it an opportunity to teach our children, but the conversation itself elevates the culture of the home toward the things of God.
How often do you talk about spiritual things? Talk about what God’s doing in your life or our church? How often did you talk about it this past week?
Cultural Indicators That Jesus is King of Your Castle
His kingdom is the first priority
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
This key verse in Matthew summarizes the whole Christian home culture well. There is a higher purpose to the family than just the family itself. Too many families fail on this point when they elevate the purpose of the family to be the family or the success of the family. We will talk about this more in the coming weeks. Marriages fail when the marriage is the first priority of the marriage. No marriage can sustain that high of an expectation and it devastates the couple when the marriage fails to deliver. Family is the same. Make your family the purpose of your family and it can only deeply disappoint. God designed family to be deeply satisfying as long as the family is not looked to as an ultimate standard.