April 28, 2015

Thy Will Be Done, in North Korea, as it is in Heaven?

Post by Brittany Tedesco

Jesus commended childlike faith. But we love to complicate things, don't we? At least I know I do. Let's take the topic of God's will, for example.

In developed nations, like the United States, we have lots of choices: where we'll go to school, where we'll work, who we'll marry. And these choices have led some Christians (guilty as charged) to assume that only one choice from each category is "God's will" for their lives. Don't make the wrong choice! Because then you'll be outside of God's will, and then things won't go so well for you.

It's an easy trap to fall into. In Christian circles in the West, we frequently talk about God's will as though it's some hidden, elusive, or mysterious thing. This thought pattern can be frustrating and even paralyzing. We don't want to make the wrong move so we don't do anything at all.

A few years ago, I read a very liberating book by Kevin DeYoung called Just Do Something. He writes, "God doesn't need to tell us what to do at each fork in the road. He's already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him with our whole hearts, to obey His Word, and after that, to do what we like."

Knowing God's will isn't hard. It's written throughout the Bible in black and white. His will is that we avoid sexual immorality and learn to control our bodies in honorable ways (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). It is His will that we rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

"It is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people" (1 Peter 2:15).

It's God will that we not get drunk, but be filled with the Spirit, that we sing and make music in our heart to Him, and that we submit to one another out of reverence to Him (Ephesians 5).

He tells us that slaves should obey their masters as they would Christ (Ephesians 6).

It's God will that children and/or grandchildren of a widow should "put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God" (1 Timothy 5:4).

In James 1:27, He tells us exactly what He accepts as "pure and faultless" religion: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

DeYoung stresses that, if we remain inside the parameters of God's Word and abide in fellowship with Him, we don't have to fret over decisions like where to work or who to marry. We walk in faith, being obedient to what we know, and trust Him to guide us as we go.

The choices that Western Christians have are choices that most people in less developed nations do not have. Many don't have the option of attending any school. Many work the same trade as their father did before them. And many marry the person whom their parents have arranged for them to marry.

Many are born into countries ruled by oppressive and corrupt governments. Some are born in North Korea.

What is God's will for those people?

Christian Aid Mission assists a ministry that is reaching out to North Koreans. One of the missionaries working with this ministry is a North Korean woman who explained to us how she became a Christian.

One of her relatives had escaped to China, where he learned about Jesus. He was later captured and sent back to North Korea, where he spent the next three years in his country's infamously inhumane prison system. This is the man who led her family to Christ.

She and a few other new believers gathered together in a room in a secluded house. They didn't have the Bible. Or a pastor. Or a worship leader. And so, for an hour and a half, they just prayed the Lord's Prayer over and over again.

"Do you know when the time is that we cry the most?" she asked. "When we pray this part of the Lord's Prayer that God's kingdom will come to North Korea and His will be done in North Korea as in heaven. We couldn't stop crying most of the time."

Can you imagine the scene? A little group huddled together inside of a country, ruled by evil, from which they cannot escape. Of the Christian faith, they know only that Jesus is their Savior and the prayer He taught us to pray.

Such a simple faith.

North Korean believers meet together secretly

The man who led them to Christ taught them about baptism and about giving a portion of their resources back to the Lord. All were baptized, but without a church to give offerings to, the missionary told us, "After the end of the worship meeting, we all went out to the market area, looking for the most poor or the most desperate, to give our offering to them. Then we would come back to the church meeting without looking back towards him or her."

They didn't pray about whether it was God's will for them to give what little they had to someone needier. They just walked in obedience to what they knew to be God's instructions.

Did they realize that, as they prayed for God's will to be done, they were doing His will?

Did they know that, as they prayed for God's kingdom to come, they were actually comprising that kingdom?

"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5 NIV).

An indigenous ministry in India recently wrote to tell us about their 42nd annual convention, attended by more than 4,000 people. The topic was "Doing the Will of the Father."

This message didn't involve who to marry, where to work, or where to live.

The ministry leader wrote, "Almost all dedicated their lives to doing the will of God, that is to believe His son Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to have [a] personal relationship with Him, to worship Him, to minister to people in need, to share the glorious gospel and to make disciples from every nation, and to lead a holy and righteous life in this world."

Over 4,000 people gathered in India to hear the message "Doing the Will of the Father"

Where God's will is done, His kingdom is being built in the form of human Christ-followers.

Bob Finley, who founded Christian Aid over 60 years ago, often told us that our goal as a mission wasn't to "Christianize" geographical locations. "There's no such thing as a Christian country," he'd tell us. "We work to establish a witness [a people] for Christ among every nation."

When Jesus walked on earth, He didn't try to change His country or government. He built His kingdom in the form of twelve disciples—a witness for Him among their nation.

When you give and pray for ministries supported by Christian Aid that are planting a witness for Him in every nation, you're entering into God's will being done, and God's kingdom coming, on earth as it is in heaven.

Al - posted May 04, 2015
Very thoughtful and well-said. Too often we think of Christianity through the eyes of our own culture, and fall short of the real meaning of following Christ. I think that is why the Lord sent us out into the world to preach the Gospel, so that we who are preaching may be confronted with the differences in our foreign brothers and sisters from ourselves.
Shirley - posted April 28, 2015
My brother was the one who first exposed me to the idea that there wasn't necessarily "one right person" for a person to marry; that possibly many people may be "right."