After this manner therefore pray ye…
I most often use the New American Standard Bible [NASB], thinking it’s the closest word-for-word translation of the Bible in English. Young’s Literal Translation [YLT] would be another one. However, there are some verses and entire sections of the Bible where I gravitate toward the King James Version [KJV] for its exquisite beauty. What we call “The Lord’s Prayer” is one of those sections, and in it Jesus tells us about the kingdom of God. This is where Jesus teaches us how to pray. And if Jesus said it, I know I can absolutely ‘take that check to the bank’. It’s good.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in 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 lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. ~ Matthew 6:9-13, King James Version [KJV]
I placed the above text in red because the words of Jesus are often shown in red to honor them and also to point them out. So what is He telling us about the Kingdom of Heaven? He says, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” To me, to my mind and heart this is saying the kingdom of God is something that comes to earth and can exist on earth. And God’s will (the Father’s will) can be done on the earth as it is in heaven. That the kingdom of God is possible and available to us.
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 14:17, New American Standard Bible [NASB]
This passage in Romans speaks to me saying the kingdom of God is here on earth in the Holy Spirit, and further than that in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are made righteous before the Father. That is how God sees us, washed in the blood of His Son and as righteousness. With all my being, I think that believers who have truly made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior do NOT wish to sin, do not seek to sin, but strive to do God’s will and to be in God’s will. And that is our job…to fully submit to the Father’s will. Fully submitted to the Holy Spirit is where we will find the kingdom of God on earth.
Brother Kenneth Copeland points to John 5:30 to show us the “kingdom process” here on the earth.
30 “I can do nothing on My own. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. ~ John 5:30, New American Standard Bible [NASB]
If Jesus could do nothing of His own, we certainly cannot live in the kingdom of God on the earth trying to do things on our own. We must constantly seek the will of God, the Father for every move we make. Bill Johnson (Bethel) has said, and I’m putting what he said into my own words from memory — If we listen to and immerse ourselves in the main-stream-media more than in the Bible and Bible teachings, then we’ve self-inflicted our own anxiety and discomfort.
But, you say, “It’s not easy to seek the will of God and walk in the Holy Spirit continuously. It’s not natural to us.” And you’re absolutely right! But the good news is that we not only find righteousness before God in the Holy Spirit, but also peace and joy. So, if our spirit is immersed in the Holy Spirit we will have peace and joy. I realize I’m repeating myself, but that is one way to know if we are in the Holy Spirit. Do we have peace and joy? It feels so much better to have peace than to have anxiety, bitterness, rancor, and to be in strife. It feels so much better to have joy (a merry and happy and loving spirit) than to live in anger and unforgiveness.
Don’t give up on yourself, thinking, ‘I can’t change’. I’m just this way. I’ve been hurt too much to be happy ever again. And you might be right…in the natural. But things can get better. Really. Ask God to change you. You only need to ask Him once. He heard you the first time. However, how many years have you lived with bitterness, anger, resentment, strife and unforgiveness as your best mental and emotional friends? So having already asked God, seek Him again when you fail. Say, “See God, I’ve done it again. I need Your help.” Do this often, each and every time, many times and do this sincerely with a true desire to have peace, joy, happiness, merriment, and fun in your life.
And learn to forgive. That’s a huge key. You don’t have to feel like forgiving to forgive. To forgive is to release the offending person and issue from your life. To forgive is to let it go so that it has no more mental and emotional power over you. When you forgive, you free yourself and you start to have room in your life for peace, joy, happiness, merriment, and fun. You might have to forgive many times, until one day it will occur to you that you haven’t even thought of the offense in a long time. You’re free of it. This is a huge part of kingdom living.