Thought for the Week - 14th AprilVanda Hopkin
Matthew 6: 9-13
In this manner, therefore, pray:
9 Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 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.
The verses above spoke to me this week. For all of my school life, I said this prayer every day. I also said it in Sunday school. We read Jesus teaching the Lord’s Prayer. There’s entire sermons that could be spoken and written on the Lord’s Prayer. We all know it, we’ve all spoken it.
The one verse that struck me this week was:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
God’s word is fresh and God’s word is never stale. This came to me again afresh this week after 62 years. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth, as it is in heaven.
I started to think about how we are as individuals. When we were created by God, every single person was created in a wonderful, beautiful way. We were made in a natural way, with our bodies and minds. We were also created spiritual creatures. We weren’t – and never were meant to be – one dimensional people. We were meant to be spiritual creatures. So many people don’t realise that. So many people think that what that means is spiritualism, which it isn’t. Spiritualism is of the enemy and is opposed to the things of God. What we are speaking of here is the spirit of God, and the spiritual realm that God has created and is alongside the earthly realm.
We live in the earthly realm, but we’re not of the world (John 15: 19). We were never meant to be of the world. I don’t mean that we should be so super spiritual that we’re not earthly good. Some are called to live apart and to live a Holy, spiritual life alone. We are called to be part of our community and our family. But we’re also called to be in the spiritual realm.
In 2 Corinthians 4: 18 we read:
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The eternal things, and the of living our lives where “your kingdom come” and “your will done” is actually the secret to living victoriously in God. So many Christians don’t realise this. So many Christians don’t know this. It’s the job of those who know to share with people that they don’t have to live in the earthly realm but they can live in the spiritual realm. It’s the key to living life victoriously, and the key to living “on earth as it is in heaven”.
If we can learn to live where we’re not earth bound, but instead where we are heaven bound, and where we can stand back from the circumstances of earth and see thing in a spiritual realms, the whole of our lives change. The whole of the rest of our lives can change. We can see things very, very differently.
How do we do this? How do we learn to see how things are in heaven?
These things that are temporary, although they are real, there is a more real spiritual realm out there that we’ve only partially seen. I’d like to share a personal story.
My mother died 20 years ago this year. She’d lived her life unwell and in constant illness. She was a Christian. There came a point where we knew she was dying. We could have gone down and under with grief and sorrow because she was dying. We could have fallen apart. We could have quite easily fallen apart. That is on the natural, earthly level.
But on a spiritual level, things were very different. If we look at “thy kingdom, thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven” we step back and see things very different. My mother had had a very difficult life. She had been very unwell for many years, and was now seriously unwell. If we step back, we see in spiritual places, that God was calling my mother home. God had a place that He’d prepared for her in heaven. He was now taking her into Glory. She would be where He was, where there would be no pain, no more suffering or sorrow or struggling. She’d been faithful to God throughout her life, she’d brought her family up in the faith, she’d brought her family up with standards, and she tried to bring her grandchildren up in the same way.
Standing back we could see things very differently. Why would we actually be sorrowful? There is a natural sorrow and sadness in death. There is also an unnatural sadness where it starts to take over our lives. By standing back and seeing that heavenly realm, by seeing the things of eternity rather than that what is temporary – like our lives and our bodies – we can see that actually, who am I to want to keep my mother on earth? Who am I to want to keep her here for me? God has so much more for her.
That is exactly what happens with us. There was a wonderful release. There was a natural grief, but I can’t say it affected us at all. There was a gladness that she was being released from her pain. There was a joy that she was being released into the hands of God, who would care for her. Her body would be perfect, her mind would be perfect. There was no sorrow or grieving as such, or not as much as you’d have expected. That was standing back and seeing things in eternity.
God has taught me over the years to stand back.
If I’m offended, am worried or concerned, or am being bothered or irritated, I can stand back and realise that this is happening on the natural. I ask God what is happening in the spiritual realm, in the things of eternity. It makes a massive difference. Because what is happening in the natural could be completely opposite to that in the spiritual – and often it is. So the things I would’ve done in the natural, I can’t do any more. For example, if someone was irritating me, in the natural I can’t go arguing or quarrelling. God says no – that quarrelling, that arguing, that bickering only happens when we operate in the natural. When we operate in the spiritual, when we allow God to show us things in the spiritual, we see things differently. And we react differently.
That is a thing that God is calling us into.
When Christ went into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He chose that young colt. That animal had never been ridden. Even the best horseman struggles when they ride something that has never been ridden. Even the animal – a stupid animal as some would say – recognised Christ. That animal wasn’t stupid. He recognised that it was the son of God riding on his back. Yet sometimes we can be stupid and don’t see things as they are. He recognised that the saviour of the world was riding on his back. He was the lowliest of creatures. Christ could have chosen a wonderful horse and ridden in pomp and majesty. Yet He chose the lowliest, unbroken animal. He must have been the proudest little donkey! The son of God was riding on his back.
Everybody was praising and glorifying Christ, but He knew what was in front of Him. But Christ wasn’t looking at the things that were temporal. He knew exactly what was coming to Him. He knew His friends would betray Him. He knew He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. He knew His best friend Peter would turn away and deny Him. And yet He was looking at the things that were eternal. He wasn’t looking that the sins of humanity would be laid upon His back. He wasn’t looking at the pain and suffering He had to go through. He was looking at what was to come. He was looking at what the price He had to pay would achieve in eternal places. He was looking at that your sins and my sins would be forgiven. He was preparing a place for us. Even then.
He was looking that He’d be reunited with His Father. Reunited with the angels and with His beloved. He was looking at that, not at the sufferings and sorrows He’d be going through shortly.
He calls us to do exactly the same. How we look and see things. Often our troubles and our difficulties and our discouragements here and now are because we’re looking earth bound. Our sight is down there rather than up there into the things of eternity.
It takes things away. It takes things that are important to us and makes them unimportant because we realise how temporary things are.
There was a time in my life where I was very career minded. I wanted to be at the top. I knew that God was changing the way that I was thinking about things. When I started to look into spiritual realms, when God called me to look beyond what was temporal, I saw the whole career in a very different light. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have careers – God calls us to work, to be good in what we do, to be effective and to work hard. But when that takes over everything, it’s like anything else. When those things that are temporary take over what is spiritual, we need to put that right. God often prompts us to put that right. It just changed my mind and my heart. My heart wasn’t in it anymore and I didn’t want that anymore. I didn’t want to give all my life to that and have nothing left to give to God and what God was calling me to. It changed my life.
It can change our lives today. It can change the things that we see and do. When we get to heaven, there are things that God has called us to do. He will never ask how much food we had in the cupboard, or how much money we had in the bank. But He will ask what we did with the things He gave us. He will ask “what did you do with my son?” Did you take Him out to the highways and the byways? Did you show the love of God to people? Those gifts and ministries that I gave you, did you take them and use them, or did you take the things of this world in front of them?
So much of what I wanted before means nothing to me now. What I wanted to do, what I wanted to have, who I wanted to be, are of no consequence. As you get older you see things more clearly. I’ve had things and they’ve not satisfied.
God is calling us into a wide-open place. He’s calling us to think about His sacrifice. Not to go down into sorrow and suffering and grieving, because there is victory! There’s victory that we can have in every single one of our lives. In Psalm 31:8 we read:
8 And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.
Into the things of eternity. Into the things of God. Where God’s will is being done in our lives. Where we don’t live on earth, but we live in heavenly places. If you feel that God is calling you into that heavenly place, then respond.
There is more. There is always more. There is an excitement in God that He calls us to. We don’t have to live dragging ourselves around. We don’t have to live in the things of the here and now. We can live in the things of eternity, where things are changed. God may not change the circumstances around us, but He changes us. He changes our perception of things.
Reach out and see that wide-open place of freedom for you. Where we are not bound by the things of the earth, where we are not bound by temporary things, but we are taken up to where the eagles soar above the clouds. The eagle doesn’t see the things below, because his eyes are fixed upon the sky. That is how it can be for us Where the troubles we struggle with are removed because God shows us how to look above and beyond them, and how to look into His face and see things through His eyes. He sees things through eternity and not through the things of earth.