Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is “already among you”(Luke 17:21 NLT), and “within you“(Luke 17:21 KJV). On Pentecost He filled the disciples with the Holy Spirit so that whatever they said could be understood by everyone around them regardless of the language they spoke(Acts 2: 1-12). WE are called to love God and His ways, to love others as we love ourselves, and thereby to live in the kingdom of God here on this earth. We don’t have to go anywhere to hear the Spirit of God: He dwells within us. We don’t have to follow any human being to the kingdom; we have our own Leader to show us the way. All we need to do is to follow the voice of God within us to know what to do and when, wherever we may be. And that is true in our professions/work, in our relationships, especially family and friends, and in our leisure time. The Holy Spirit is our guide, our mentor, our friend for our whole lives.
The kingdom of God here on Earth is a community of dedicated followers of Christ through the Holy Spirit. It reflects God’s love and caring for every single human being. And since no human being is perfect, He offers us forgiveness as well. All we have to do is turn to Him, repent what we have done, and follow His lead in everywhere we go and in everything we do. I know that this sounds like an impossible task, but I assure you that this is the truth about the life that God offers to each of us. Our journey, our purpose is based on our talents and interests, formed often by our challenges and difficulties in life; our journey following Christ leads us to our purpose, the most fulfilling thing we could possibly do with our lives. Our purpose calls us to heal our difficulties, to mourn and let go of our losses, to give up the ways of the world, especially our own oh-so-human desires for ego-gratification in favor of serving the Lord through our redeemed selves.
As we have let go of all the things that stand between us and God, we are growing and healing and being transformed into people who can love everyone fully, just as God loves every one of us 7+ billion human beings. Our role is to give up what we would cling to, thereby inviting God to do the healing and transforming. We go from being ego-driven to expressing the fruit of the spirit in everything we do. We live at peace, in joy. We are able to love, not with the human kind of love, but with God’s love. We are patient, knowing that God’s plan will emerge in due time. We treat others with goodness, kindness, faithfulness and gentleness. And we are humble(self-controlled). As we come into the kingdom we are no longer ego-driven. Whatever is going on in our lives is no longer about us, but about our love, that is, the way God loves, for everyone.
In the kingdom, God holds the power of His love. There is no competition for power. There is only love, co-operation, joy, and fulfillment. And we live as Jesus told us: my yoke is easy and my burden is light(Matthew 11:28-30). We are free! Free of proving ourselves. Free of responsibility because it is the Holy Spirit who is spreading the word and seeding it in the people we are helping and loving. He carries the burden, while we just fulfill our purpose as it is given to us. It is not that we are perfect. We will never be that while we live in these human bodies. That is not our job. Our job is to bring God’s kind of love wherever we go, in whatever we do. And His Holy Spirit will fulfill God’s purpose in what we do, just as God reports in Isaiah 55:
“As the rain and the snow
Come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and
bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
it will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”(v.10-11)
The burden is not on our shoulders; the Holy Spirit carries the burden of reaching people and calling them to the Lord. In the next two verses of Isaiah 55, God promises our reward:
“You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
And instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
For an everlasting sign,
That will endure forever.” (v. 12-13)
The kingdom is totally unlike what the world offers us. That doesn’t mean it will be trouble free. Look at the life of Paul of Tarsus. For a good part of his life, he was true to the Judaism of his times, which meant that he was persecuting the followers of “The Way.” But, after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus and being blinded for three days, he totally repented his earlier work and became a primary spreader of the Gospel of Jesus. But did he do that without challenge or trouble? No! He was harassed for his beliefs, tossed by storms and a near shipwreck, sent to prison again for his beliefs and work, and was martyred for his faith. He was never alone in all the work he did for the early church: he had friends who worked with him like Timothy and, always, the Holy Spirit accompanied him.
And so the Gospel promises us the same with companions on the journey and the Holy Spirit to help us all along the way. We will be stalwart in fulfilling our purpose. We will be held by God no matter what happens to us. And we will succeed against all odds, thanks to the Holy Spirit!
Questions to ponder over the week: Are you living in the kingdom of God here on Earth or on your way to living there? Are you following Jesus in all that He taught and all that He did? Are you slowly peeling back the layers of the world’s influence in you?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who faithfully follow Jesus and every word that the Holy Spirit speaks to us. May we be God’s love in this world.
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- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you, free of charge.
- My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.