Kingdom Thinking

Growing up in the Churches of Christ and then being educated in one of our colleges I was consistently taught never to include in my prayers a phrase Jesus included in one of his. Thy kingdom come I was instructed could simply not be acceptable prayer language because it had already in fact come- on Acts 2 at the establishment of the church. Jesus could pray it, my teachers reasoned, because he lived before this event occurred. After that particular Pentecost it became irrelevant, so we could pray the rest of the prayer- just not that part.

In retrospect I really don’t know if I actually ever embraced this idea, but I am positive I do not now. The kingdom of God is eternal, vast and while including the church, is much more than just it and I believe will not be fully realized by us until Jesus returns and then presents it to the Father. (1st Corinthians 15:24) So I can still pray thy kingdom come and yearn to be a part of it in its fullest sense.

But that is not the point of this post.

The kingdom presents a much broader challenge to me. Part of that challenge is illustrated in my post on Should We Fight? and the continuing dialogue it has generated. Does the kingdom of God, clearly proclaimed by Christ as from another place call me to more of a radical lifestyle then I have been willing to acknowledge? Has my willing entanglement into our culture of comfort diverted me away from true kingdom thinking?

When I consider the extreme challenge of the Sermon on the Mount and the powerful example of Christ and his early disciples, I wonder. I am haunted by the deeper meaning of seek first his kingdom as I carefully map out the calendar of my life.

Maybe I am alone in these kingdom concerns, but I cannot help but think as I interact daily with others in this kingdom that seldom does it seem that kingdom priorities are guiding our lives.

Jesus once met a young man who from all accounts was very pious but also very rich. Seeking approval and acceptance from the Christ, he asked if there was anything lacking in his spirituality. Being able to discern the heart, Jesus shocked him by instructing him to sell all of his many possessions and give that money to care for the poor. The young man could not. (See Matthew 19:16-30) He failed his kingdom test.

I pray to the God of heaven that I am not failing mine.

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13 Responses to Kingdom Thinking

  1. Anonymous says:

    Danny,

    Good thoughts. I don’t pray for the Kingdom to come because the earthly Kingdom has come in the form of the church. We should pray for Jesus to come quickly and live like He will everyday. That’s my theory, but don’t always live up to it. Keep up the good thoughts and may God continue to bless you and your family.

  2. Velcro says:

    When I look at the word Kingdom I see a word that was created by joining two words: King and Dominion.

    The Kingdom was anywhere that the King had complete rule or authority. It was anywhere the King had his will. Maybe that’s why the prayer is followed by, “Thy will be done…”

    Is God’s complete will prevalent in our world? In our society? In our culture? I’m not so sure that it is. God’s will can be prevalent in my life, but I can’t speak for whether it is in the lives of others… it’s not in my own much of the time.

    I like the Kingdom Is Now idea. Many believers seem to think that Heaven is some sort of graduation from this life, like somehow you go there and start over.

    My Heaven started whenever I became a Christian. Yeah, I will one day go to a physical(?) place called Heaven, but spiritually, Heaven must present in my life now.

    Great post, Danny.

    I’m just not so sure how accurate a portrayal the Kingdom Is Now idea is of the world around us (as you mentioned in your post).

  3. Al Sturgeon says:

    What a great post (and discussion topic) Danny.

    With credit to a friend of mine, the “good news” Jesus came to bring may best be defined as the news that all people matter to God – AND, because of that, He is beginning the business of setting things right in the world. Those interested in this new “empire” will be about that business. Period.

    The scandal is that “setting things right in the world” (as related to the poor, oppressed, abused, etc.) is seen as central to the Kingdom as described by Jesus, but is considered an extracurricular activity in “church” today. Course requirements are membership, attendance, giving, fellowship, etc. – but if you want to rescue the poor, well, go knock yourself out, but don’t expect everyone else to be interested in doing that, too. That’s a “just if you want to” sort of thing.

    We all stand indicted.

    The question becomes whether or not we will rid ourselves of the HUGE baggage that “church” carries with it today and begin to be about the business of the Kingdom of God.

    I’m with you on recognizing the dissonance between our typical lives and the call of Jesus. Now, where will we go from here?

  4. DJG says:

    It is amazing the things we swallowed hook line and sinker…but the kingdom is among us, but it has not fully arrived. We can pray for it to come…we can pray that we realize we are a part of it….

    Great thoughts!!

  5. Danny says:

    Gee Al, you are supposed to answer the question, not ask additional probing ones! 🙂 Great comment and right on topic- really further defines the challege the kingdom presents.

    Cowboy I like your kingdom is now perspective on this and as always, appreciate Donna’s thoughts.

    And- welcome to strivingtobemeek.

  6. JD says:

    The kingdom is an expanding reign of God…we pray for it to continue coming…growing…overtaking darkness. We often pray this aloud together at our assembly. In order to be honest in our prayers we must begin to be about the kingdom business … as Al said… The bpriorities of our King must be adopted as our own…or we are not His. Not pray the prayer of Jesus…when he said ‘pray like this’???? Baffling.

  7. Velcro says:

    I like Donna’s words:

    “the kingdom is among us, but it has not fully arrived…”

  8. Anonymous says:

    We live in the contemporary contingent in confident expectation of the finished eternal.

  9. Gary W. Kirkendall says:

    Great post — I think that the “Lord’s Prayer” is a plea for God’s reign to extend more and more on earth, as it does in heaven. We do ourselves and everyone else great injury when we imply that this part of the model prayer no longer implies.

    It reminds me of my Acts class at MBC when the teacher told us that the last half of Acts 2:38 no longer applies because we can no longer experience the Holy Spirit in our lives!!! Aren’t we amazing??? There beeter be grace at the end of the road!!

  10. Danny says:

    The expanding reign of God. God’s reign extending more and more on the earth. I like the way JD and Gary put this.

    And welcome to you t2082p1. Thanks for you input!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I recently read many of those prophetic passages from the Old Testament about the rule of Jesus from Jerusalem on the throne of David.

    The prophets were right about Jesus coming the first time, what about His coming back to set up an everlasting kingdom on earth?

    I think Donna is on to something!

    Grace and Peace,
    Royce Ogle

  12. Greg Foster says:

    Danny,

    I too grew up with the irony of following all of Jesus’s teachings, EXCEPT, His teaching on prayer. Would Jesus have taught His Apostles to pray a prayer that would quickly become outdated and irrelevant? I don’t think so. It’s much easier for me to believe that we don’t quite understand Jesus’s prayer for the Kingdom to come than it is for me to believe that we can no longer follow a teaching of Jesus because it is outdated.

    greg

  13. Barton Kelly says:

    Danny, you can pray “thy Kingdom come.” let me explain. the Greek form of the verb “come” in this passage, eltheto, does not have an exact eqivalent in English. it has the connotation of “may it be” or “let it be.” however, when dealing with the words of Jesus, one must always ask, what was the meaning of the saying in Hebrew? in this instance, the meaning of what Jesus said in Hebrew becomes crucial. Nowhere in the Gospels do we read about the Kingdom that “comes.” in Hebrew, one normally would not speak about the “coming” of a kingdom. The common terminology is similar to that expressed in the words of the kaddish: “May he cause his kingdom to reign.” The same Hebrew word for “to cause to reign” is used of Solomon when he was made king over all Israel and is related to the idea of the eternal Davidic Kingdom (1Chronicles 28:4-5). the particular form of the Hebrew verb means “to make someone king.” This, then, is the basic meaning of the petition in the words of Jesus. it is parallel to the entreaty that follows: “May your will be done in heaven and in earth.”Thus Jesus’words could be better translated, “May you continue establishing your Kingdom in heaven and earth.

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