Imagine a world where nobody hurts anybody. Ever.
No cruelty. No bitching. No calling each other names. No insults. No violence. No murder. No gossip. No stealing. No hurtful behaviour, no hurtful talk, no hurtful thoughts. No hate. No uncaring attitudes. No bullying. No arrogance. No anything negative at all – just people loving one another, caring about one another, showing love and compassion to each other all the time.
Imagine a world where everyone practises “love your neighbour as yourself”, all the time, towards everyone, 24/7. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Heavenly, even?
I’ve been meditating on the bit in what’s known as “the Lord’s Prayer” where it says “your kingdom come”, and thinking about what that would look like. And noticing the “as it is in heaven” in “your will be done” and thinking:
Heaven is like that!
And we all long for that kind of heavenly existence – no suffering, no hate, no cruelty, no violence… We long for it because it’s good, of course – but we reject the one and only way to get there. We want the benefits of God’s kingdom without submitting to him as king.
Jesus came to herald the kingdom of heaven, God’s kingdom on earth. And the only way that can happen is by people submitting to him as king.
When you, personally, put your faith in Jesus and submit to him as Lord, he starts changing you from the inside and turning you into the sort of person who does practise “love your neighbour”, the sort of person who does show love and kindness and compassion to others. That’s how his kingdom has been gradually spreading.
So I pray “your kingdom come” – in my own heart first of all, because there’s still plenty of unJesuslikeness in me; and in the hearts of other people, those who have yet to submit to Jesus as Lord and King. Because his kingdom is what’s good for us. His kingdom is perfect. His kingdom is where we can find what we are all longing for deep down, if only we’d let go of our prideful rebelliousness, stop insisting on doing it our way, and submit to God, the creator and sustainer of the whole universe, who, amazingly, loves us so much that he chose to make a shockingly costly sacrifice to offer us a way into his kingdom, even though none of us deserve it.
Imagine there is a heaven, and it’s accessible to you! Jesus died to give you access to heaven. All you have to do is take him up on his offer.