Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
When you were young, did you enjoy hearing firsthand accounts of where your parents or grandparents grew up? Didn’t it feel as if you could picture their homes because of the vivid way they described their younger years? Well, Jesus also had a firsthand account of the place where he came from—heaven.
When Jesus spoke about heaven, he wasn’t talking about a distant reality but a real place that is his home. He was talking about a reality that was as near to him as our world is to us. Jesus knew heaven as a place free from pain, weeping, and death (Revelation 21:4) He knew it as a place of everlasting joy and peace. He often spoke of the rewards stored in heaven for the righteous (Matthew 5:12; 6:20; 19:21). The very reason he became man was to testify to the reality of heaven and to make a way for everyone to join him there.
In all his preaching, as well as in his miracles and acts of forgiveness, Jesus sought to give the people a sense of hope: heaven had broken into earth, and everlasting life was now on the horizon! Through his death and resurrection, Jesus overcame the sin that had separated us from God. He brought us close to our heavenly Father and made it possible for us to become citizens of his heavenly kingdom. What’s more, by the gift of his Holy Spirit, he has made heaven a present reality for us. Each and every day, we can experience a touch of heaven as the Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts (Romans 5:5).
So what does this mean as we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” Good news, that’s what! It means that as we try our best to do God’s will every day, we are aligning ourselves with heaven. It means that the reality and the rewards of heaven will flow into our lives. It means that we can experience all the blessings, gifts, and grace that God has stored up for us in heaven—right here, right now!
“Father, teach me to love heaven as my new and eternal home.”
Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19
Speaking from personal experience, the “thy will be done” part can be very challenging, especially when the guidance sought and followed through prayer and reflection puts you at odds with others who may not understand or accept your choices. They may even see you as “selfish” or uncaring as you pursue the path set forth for your life from God — a path that may or may not meet with their approval. But the fact remains, we are all here on this earth to fulfill our own unique, God-given purpose; the challenge then is to complete that mission to the very best of our ability in spite of the obstacles we’ll surely face and/or the disapproval we might encounter along the way. It’s definitely easier said than done, which is why remaining focused on God and taking time for prayer every single day is so critical.
I’ve found that the life of a freelance writer/blogger/social media marketer — even in an age of advanced technology, which has opened up endless opportunities — is still highly suspect, particularly among the “9-to-5”, “jobs with benefits” crowd. Actually, in all of my years of corporate life, it was more like 8:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m., but the point is there are many people out there who don’t consider it “work” unless you are someone else’s employee, driving to an office Monday through Friday, collecting a regular, predictable paycheck, and earning whatever bonus your company might be offering that year.
If you desire something else, something more and are willing to live with the consequences and challenges of a non-corporate, somewhat unpredictable but always interesting career path?
Well to quote Albert Einstein: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
In the case of new media, it’s not so much opposition from “mediocre” minds as it is from intelligent minds that are engaged in traditional lines of work which rarely if ever, involve the use of social media platforms or the internet. Having always wanted a career as an author/writer/journalist, I am eternally grateful to be living in an era of the “democratization” of writing,wherein I can self-publish a novel (instead of deal with endless rejection letters), write content for a variety of sites and blogs (including my own — and get paid for it), and use social media to build and engage an audience. This has led to several content writing, editing and ghostwriting projects, including the one in which I am presently engaged.
So what does any of this have to do with today’s reading?
My point is that following God’s will for our individual lives requires strength, commitment, endurance and the ability to live with disapproval. On the other hand, God will always put people around you who do support your efforts, and I’ve been blessed that these greatly outnumber the naysayers. And even the ones who disapprove are coming from a good place. The best way to reassure them?
Stay focused, produce excellent work and prove them wrong. And always remember that you answer to a Higher Power who loves you unconditionally.
Have a great Tuesday!