Don’t wait until you die to live in the kingdom of God! Jesus spoke of the kingdom in the present tense: it “is at hand,” [Matthew 3:2 KJV] or “has come near you,” [Matthew 3:2 NIV] “is within you,” [Luke 17:21 KJV] or “is in your midst,” [Luke 17:21 NIV] or “is already among you.”[Luke 17:21 NLT] These are just two places of many where Jesus talks about the kingdom. Just “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things(food, clothing, drink, your life, tomorrow) will be given to you as well. [Matthew 6:33 NIV] It’s really so simple a formula for entering the kingdom, to live in God’s presence, to live fully and purposefully: Seek first His kingdom above all worldly pursuits and His righteousness; then God will take care of everything for you. Love God so much that all else in this world fades in importance, then you are entering His kingdom. Our righteousness is two-fold: following God’s standards/laws and being in the right relationship with Him.
The kingdom is available to us if we meet several conditions. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: it will not be the sinners who will enter the kingdom, but “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” That justification and sanctification came as a result of God’s constant healing and transforming us through our devoted relationship with Him. It is not enough to believe in Jesus Christ or to be “born again.” We must draw near to the Lord, leave our sinful past behind and follow His wisdom for us in all that we do.
Living in the kingdom is a potential for all of us. We can choose to so follow Christ that we no longer have agendas of our own, we no longer value earthly things, we no longer do or say anything that isn’t inspired by God—then like the disciples on Pentecost and Paul after his encounter with the Living Christ, the Holy Spirit can enter into us and totally guide our lives. And then we live in the kingdom on this earth.
Here is how I see the kingdom of God: “men, women, strangers, children even, people of all races, slaves and free, of all backgrounds belong in the kingdom. It is ‘a state of mind’ more than a place, the gathering place for God’s people, where love and mercy are the currency, where needs are met, where we are present to one another and to the presence of God, where everyone is a giver and a receiver, where no one stands above another for any reason. It’s a place where everyone’s gifts are honored and needed.” [Quoted from my book, “Thy Kingdom Come!” p. 95]
In the meantime, between surrendering our lives to God and entering into the kingdom, our task is to keep our eyes on God and his kingdom, to give up all rebellion, to learn how to love God with all of ourselves. As I wrote last week, we are in a massive transition from catering to the world’s ways to loving God with all of ourselves. It is important to know that the kingdom is awaiting us. That we can go all the way with God as we live on this earth. I think this promise is what draws us along “the way” of Jesus Christ.
But don’t stop short of the kingdom whatever you do. Don’t ever figure you’ve done all that you can do to love God. Keep on dedicating and rededicating yourself to God no matter what. As long as you are attentive to God, listening to His “still, small voice” within you and doing what He suggests, the kingdom is to be yours in all its glory.
Is He calling you to a reckoning, like He did Paul of Tarsus? Is He asking you to follow Him? Is He asking for a real encounter with you right now? Say a resounding Yes! and follow Him. You, too, can live in the kingdom of God!
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I believe that the kingdom of God exists on this earth and that I have the potential to enter into it if I have the right relationship to God? Do I see that all of God’s children belong there, at least potentially, that we were all created in God’s image by Him? Am I growing in my awareness of God’s presence in my life and all around me? Do I want to go “all the way” with Him? Will I allow God to transform my life so that I can enter the kingdom? What would be the first step for me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who follow His wisdom for each of us, who always follow His “still, small voice” and all that it suggests. May we grow in our relationship with Him every day, deeper and deeper. May we represent His love and forgiveness wherever we are.
There are archives of this blog on this page going back to 2011.
My book, “Exodus: Our Story, Too!” is available on amazon.com under my full name, Patricia Said Adams. Here’s an excerpt from the book on p. 31:”The Exodus story is God’s way of showing us that there is a way out, a template for following Him to freedom by loving and being obedient to Him, so that we might live in the Promised Land, a land that easily meets our needs, a land that is the Kingdom of God. While He invites the Israelites to a physical land, Canaan, the kingdom is not a physical place, it is a state of mind where we all find our true home, a true community, a place of rest, refreshment and where we live out our purpose to serve God in the world. The first of the major points I will make about the Exodus story is that God is calling us out of Egypt throughout our lives, out of our enslavement to the world into His Kingdom.”