Sanctification - Your Kingdom Come
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Recently, I have given a good bit of thought to the idea of “God’s kingdom on earth.” Until recently, I have been concerned with God’s kingdom on earth in a plural sense, defining earth as the collection of humanity and not directly pertaining to me individually.
For example, I get excited about the day when God’s kingdom is recognized on earth by all of humanity. Philippians 2. 10 At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. I fear my intentions are not completely pure. Egotistically, I long for the day when I can justifiably chant and taunt unbelievers with “Yeah! Told you so! God rules!”
Currently, I am more interested in God’s kingdom revealed in me, and less concerned with who else on our planet agrees. To begin, I try to imagine God’s kingdom in heaven. I imagine heaven to be the culmination of everything Jesus taught. For me, (and no surprise to you,) heaven must be a place where love consumes everything and defines everything. Hence, there is no want, or pain, or jealousy, or insecurity, or bitterness, or regret, or selfishness, or hatred, etc. In my spiritual imagination this is heaven.
What is heaven on earth? It’s got to be the same. This is when the culmination of Jesus’ divine love is expressed across the earth! Duh! And won’t it be most excellent? For sure! And if I get personal and define earth as my heart, what does that look like?
You may have already heard me describe moments of sanctification when I have felt the overwhelming power of consuming love, and yet, I wonder if I have not shared enough of it. I have experienced love, perfectly, and desire to exemplify perfect love.
I remember many times, standing in front of the youth choir, and while listening to them sing, I stare into their faces. My heart soars as I recognize how much I love them and would do absolutely anything to protect them and care for them. In these moments, love overwhelms me and nothing else matters. And I ask myself, “God, why did you pick me for this journey?” I am full of gratitude, humility and complete peace. Earlier moments, when I wanted to run from them screaming. . .fade away in the midst of perfect love.
I have stood in front of the adult choir and the text of beautiful anthems convict me to my soul. My heart soars! I feel so unworthy to be a part of musical beauty and spiritual truth. My love, as much as my song, rises to the heavens.
These are moments when God’s kingdom of love is surprising and catches me off guard. But there are other moments when I have to pursue and seek God’s kingdom. These all begin with the same spiritual discipline. When I find myself in need of God’s anointing, I seek a quiet place and simply pray over and over again; “God, pour your grace over me. Flood divine love upon me until it consumes me and I become it.” I stay in the place for a period of time continuing to bathe in love, earnestly seek it and desire to become it. This is my invitation to God to fill me up with grace and drench me in love until its power changes me. This is when I think God’s kingdom, a little bit of heaven, resides in me.
Only at this point of love’s discernment am I ready to face humanity. It never ceases to amaze me how kingdom love re-shapes everything. I remember a moment when I was deeply troubled about a pending conversation that promised painful conflict. I found myself rehearsing the many reasons that justified my resentment, disappointment and anger. I had every reason to retaliate. Yet, that wonderful prayer for God’s kingdom of love in me turned everything upside down. Love consumed. And it strengthened my self-worth and destroyed my need to be right. Love changed my perception of my perceived oppressor and stole my desire for revenge.
I remember so many times when I have been asked to offer a meditation and had nothing to offer. Then, that wonderful prayer for God’s kingdom of love in me created a vision of love that needed sharing. I was left feeling energized, yet humbled, grateful, and so full of peace.
Sometimes, people have trusted me with their most vulnerable moments, physically, spiritually and/or emotionally. I sit in their presence, aware of my ignorance with no wisdom to share. Then, that wonderful prayer for God’s kingdom of love in me fills in the gaps, intercedes and offers hope even if no words are articulated.
I have been afraid, facing self-doubt and insecurity. Moments of stress and fear of failure create debilitating anxiety. Then, that wonderful prayer for God’s kingdom of love in me fills me with assurance of who I am, who I’m called to be and who I should serve.
From time to time, I sit in the middle of my responsibilities and focus on the injustice of living on this earth. Life is not fair. The tasks before me seem too big, too hard, too painful, or just no fun. Procrastination makes them bigger and harder. I justify chosen avoidance with a million reasons. Then, that wonderful prayer for God’s kingdom of love in me fills me with perspective. Divine love has power. Human tasks, when approached with divine love can move mountains. In some human situations, it is only divine love that can conquer, accomplish, move, destroy or achieve. I know this. I’ve known this. Why do I wait so long to choose this?
I remember moments in my life when everything seemed perfect. I remember leaping out of bed in the morning, excited for what the day might bring, and lying on my pillow at night so impressed with what life has afforded me. Then, that wonderful prayer for God’s kingdom of love in me fills me with perspective. It shines a light on my lack of self-awareness, my justified selfishness and my arrogant independence. Love consumes, convicts, inspires sacrificial service and brings humility that centers and reshapes . . . in times of bounty as much as times of drought.
There have been times in my life when martyrdom spoiled everything. I have crawled inside myself and whined about a life of chosen servanthood and sacrifice. Ray Kinsella’s quote in Field of Dreams has the power to define my self-pity: “I have done what I’ve been told and not once did I ask what’s in it for me? But, what’s in it for me?” Then, that wonderful prayer for God’s kingdom of love fills me with perspective. Yes, a life with God’s kingdom in my heart can be a blessing for the world around me. However, the greatest blessing is always within me.
Sometimes, I make the mistake of approaching my spiritual discipline with the singular goal of receiving love. I long for that assurance and I step into this discipline trying to elicit a “feel good” response. I am reminded: God has already loved. I step into this practice not to receive love, but to claim love I know God has already extended. This is a moment in which I name it, articulate it and proclaim it, and remind myself of God’s love for even me.
I acknowledge that I have said this prayer and only sought to feel love, rather than become it. It is one thing to know love and another to be love. God is known in the first step. The kingdom of God is realized in the second.
These are personal testimonies of God’s kingdom of love revealed in me. In this space, divine love saves me. . .well. . .from myself. This is when I am saved from my humanity. Hence, there is no want, or pain, or jealousy, or insecurity, or bitterness, or regret, or selfishness, or hatred, etc. This saving grace is my earthly experience of salvation. I need not wait for my life on this earth to end before I can enjoy freedom from sin. Divine love has saving power. In my spiritual imagination. . .this is my heaven on earth.
I believe this is when the kingdom of heaven becomes the kingdom on earth, and that sanctification begins within me. “God, pour your grace over me. Flood love upon me until it consumes me and I become it.”
When I read the Lord’s Prayer in first person, it becomes personal. Like so many places in the Bible, I recognize that these words are meant for me and not just collective humanity. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, in me as it is in heaven. . .for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.”
In the opening welcome and introduction to this website, I shared the Scripture that inspired this online adventure, I Tim 6:20. This text is also the origination of the name; “Sacred Chatter.” However, my intent is not to be a singular voice. I invite your voice to be a part of the “chat” and I base this on another of my favorite Scriptures: Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I am considering how I can provoke love and good deeds in places beyond where I live. This is my attempt to enter into a Hebrews 10 conversation with you over social media.digitally. Now, I am interested in your feedback. Consider what provoking you can provide with your own Sacred Chatter.
What’s important to you? What really matters?
Add your voice in Sacred Chatter.
Love is ours to provoke. Good deeds are ours to sew.
That the wisdom of Hebrews 10 may flourish and grow.
Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re potential mediums for the Hebrews 10 plan.
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