The way to live that awakens men to focus, passion, and mission is found in the most famous prayer of all: The Lord’s Prayer. In this blessed prayer we find five simple concepts that will guide us through any storm and lead us in to a lifestyle that honors God and ministers to our neighbor. They are:
- Developing a healthy fear of God: “Hallowed be Thy name…For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.” This concept that bookends the prayer reveals the single biggest lack of character in modern Christendom. Due to too much emphasis on God’s grace and not enough on God’s justice and righteous judgment, a lack of a healthy fear of God keeps men from a proper respect of God to go with their love of Him. Over 40 times in the Psalms the concept of a healthy fear of God is mentioned. Ironically, these verses hold every good and edifying promise of God to His children. Our God is a God to be both loved and feared.
- Understanding and engaging the literal kingdom of heaven on earth: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Two polar opposite, yet fully existing kingdoms exist that battle for the souls of men on earth: the kingdom of man and the kingdom of heaven on earth. Jesus and John the Baptist came proclaiming, “Repent [from living for the kingdom of man], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The kingdom of heaven is preached today as something to be enjoyed only after passing from this world. It is not. It is real, tangible, and can be lived in right here, right now. Jesus brought this very real kingdom to earth, and then through His death and resurrection opened the portal no man can close between it and God’s kingdom in heaven. Which kingdom a man chooses to live for determines the way he perceives everything, and thus the way he ultimately lives. This is the foundational question for any man who wishes to truly follow Jesus.
- Being freed from the love of money to fully trust in God’s provision: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Paul said the root of all sorts of evil was the love of money. Jesus said no man could serve both Him and money. Today’s Christianity, replete with it’s multi-million dollar temples dotting the countryside, has through extended submersion in our Laodicean society become hopelessly addicted to money. For most the line between serving God and money has become completely blurred, to the point where they actually think they can serve both. Any man wishing to truly follow Jesus in these days is going to have to forsake completely the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16), all of which the love of money contribute to that force him to spend most of his waking hours serving it and not God. We must learn to live on less, serve the kingdom more, and rely solely upon His provision in all things.
- Becoming people who forgive anyone anything: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” The destruction of the family unit we now see rampant in society is only going to get worse (Matt. 10:34-36). Ditto the “falling away” of those who call themselves believers. With these phenomenons increasing there will be greater and greater temptation to allow unforgiveness, “the root of bitterness” (Heb. 12:15), to take us down. Paul said, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger, thereby granting the Devil an opportunity.” We must be willing to love and forgive as never before, particularly with those we love the most, or our anger will afford Satan the opportunity he craves to keep us from bearing fruit for the kingdom.
- Being able to discern and combat evil: “And lead us not in to temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I believe God revealed the meaning of this verse to me over 20 years ago, but it is not ready to be published at this time. Suffice it to say for now putting in to practice the first four principles of the Lord’s Prayer: wisdom gleaned from fearing God, new perspective and living from understanding fully the kingdom of heaven on earth, forsaking the love of power and money, and being loving, forgiving men who stay on mission regardless of the harm done to us by others will keep us from succumbing to any of Satan’s temptations.