How to Fly without Leaving the GroundDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
By reputation, heaven is a pretty fantastic place. Not the sort of place where after a day or two you’ll find yourself yawning. Heaven has to be the kind of place you’ll love to be, well, forever. And since heaven’s so great, it’s very encouraging to hear Jesus say that the events of heaven also belong here on earth. So he teaches us to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Not far from our home, a strange new building was just completed. I passed it every day while it was under construction, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. There were three enormous circular chambers standing side-by-side. Immediately next to these chambers was a colossally sized fan. Living in Houston, I assumed it must be some new kind of air-cooling system. Eventually the external walls went up and last of all a sign that read, “iFly—Indoor Skydiving.” And it is just that. The fans create a vertical column of air rushing upward through the chambers at 150 mph. The result of this is that without ever boarding a plane or leaving the ground you simply lean forward on the column of air—and you fly! And for 60 seconds, what normally can only happen “up there in the sky” happens “down here on the ground.”
When we pray, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we’re praying that what happens up in heaven will also happen down here on earth. Bringing heaven down to earth is a process of transformation that Dallas Willard says involves our three wills—the three wills we talked about in a previous reflection. First, the “impulsive will” that wants what it wants when it wants it. This is our most natural will. It is driven by urges and appetites and is bent on satisfying one impulse after another.
Second, there is the “reflective will” that pauses to consider whether or not the thing that the impulsive will wants is, in the end, a good thing. It’s the will that questions whether or not it’s a good thing to eat a dozen donuts, drink a fifth of whisky, cut someone off in traffic, flirt with a coworker, or curse at your child.
Then finally, there’s the “embodied will,” which occurs when a person begins to act like people do in heaven, right down here on earth. Such a person understands that their body is God’s temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20), that to love God is to keep his commandments (John 14:15), that to live in community is to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), that to come fully alive for yourself and others you must die a little to yourself every day (Luke 9:23).
Jesus wants you to pray to be a portable version of heaven down here on earth. Jesus wants the experience of being your friend, your coworker, your spouse, your child, your parent, your neighbor to be, well, heavenly.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Where do you frequently find your will in conflict with God’s will? What disciplines and practices help you to determine and then to choose to do God’s will? Can you identify people who seem to be like this? What’s it like for you to be around them?
PRAYER: Reveal to me, O Lord, where my will is in conflict with yours. Is there something I need to start doing or stop doing? Is there a relationship where I need to initiate repair and reconciliation? Is there a place I need to overcome my fears? I am never content when I am not right with you. Your will be done in me! Amen.
Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren. Send a note to Dave.
What Do You Do?
If you sit with someone long enough, included in the initial small talk (“Where do you live?” “How do you know so-and-so?”) someone in the conversation will inevitably ask, “What do you do?” What are we looking for when we ask that question? And what do we hear when we’re on the receiving end of that question?
What we do is important stuff in this world, and God desires greatly to be invited into what it is we find ourselves doing every day. God takes delight in the work of our hands. But do we sometimes confuse what we and others “do” with who we are and, especially, who we are in Christ? Would our question change if we thought about it more deeply? And what about our answer? How about you? What Do You Do?
Featured image by Mary Anne Morgan. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.