On Earth as It Is in Heaven

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” — We pray this. Do we take it seriously? What does it mean? What do we actually believe about God’s will being done on earth?

Tall trees viewed from below

Ask many Christians if the world is getting better or worse today, and they’ll say “worse.” In many ways they are right. Some would even say it will keep getting worse until Jesus returns to set things right. Is that God’s plan for the world? That Christians would be a dwindling remnant? Perhaps.

But that’s not what comes to mind when I read, “Thy kingdom come.” And that’s not what I think when I read, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Will things be hard for Christians? Yes, at times. So it is promised (2 Timothy 3:12). But from Matthew 24 and John’s Revelation we understand that the end of this age will not come slowly. It will come suddenly, when no one expects it. We do not know where we are in that timeline. We cannot know that things in the United States will be worse in twenty years compared to now.

History shows that when Christian men and women stand for God’s principles, He blesses them. So, though the world may seem to be getting worse for the time being, we do not know that this trend will continue until the return of Christ.

But here’s what we do know: We are commanded to work for, hope for, and pray for the world to get better. Yes, Lord. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are to pray for heavenly conditions on earth: our society, our government, our nation. The world. Have you given up that mission? I have not.

And if things are not right in the world, then our task is not finished. It is our task. We have no guarantee that we will ever finish it, but we do know that whoever believes in Him will do “greater things than these” (John 14:12).

What is greater than providing for people’s spiritual and material needs as Jesus did? Doing the same thing for still more people. That is our task. And it means we actually change the conditions of society. We correct its laws. We build more flourishing businesses that can do more good for more people. We bring people out of poverty by modeling for them the value of work and of personal responsibility.

Most of all, we become a generation of teachers and leaders capable of bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire population of the world.

That is what a “greater thing” looks like. If things are not right in the world (an understatement) then our task is not finished. We have no guarantee that we will finish it, but we do know this:

We must pray and work that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.