A friend’s comment on my post yesterday got me thinking about the Kingdom of God. Often when people think about the Kingdom of God they think of Heaven. If they have read and even partially understood the book of Revelation, they might think about the new Heaven and new Earth that are promised when Jesus returns. These are both great, forward-looking examples of the Kingdom of God, since He is, in fact, the King on His throne in those times and places. I do look forward to experiencing the Heavenly Kingdom of God, where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” Revelation 21:4.
But I believe that we do not have to wait for that future time to experience the Kingdom of God.
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within [or among] you.” Luke 17:20-21.
The Kingdom of God is where Jesus is King. If the Holy Spirit dwells and reigns in the heart of believers, then there we will find the Kingdom of God. If Jesus is the head of the Church, the body of believers on Earth, then there we will find the Kingdom of God.
It seems, however, that the current Kingdom of God is often like the Kingdom of Israel when it was divided into Judah and Israel. Sometimes it even feels like the inhabitants of the Kingdom of God are in exile, just as the Israelites were exiled to Babylon. During those times the Kingship of God over His chosen people did not cease to exist, but the full glory of His Kingdom did not shine because of the actions and attitudes of the King’s subjects (and often the actions of the human kings as well). Because the loyalty of His subjects was divided, or at times nonexistent, the Kingdom was in major disrepair.
Today, the Church, Jesus’ bride and Earthly Kingdom, is often divided. At times, the loyalty of believers is not 100% toward the Kingdom of God within them. I know this to be true, because I cannot claim that my loyalty to my King, my dear Savior Jesus, doesn’t sometimes falter. As a result, the full glory of the Kingdom does not always shine through.
But when I keep my focus on my King and rely on His Holy Spirit to uphold my loyalty and faith in Him alone, then the Kingdom of God is obvious to those around me.
For the past few nights I have been reading Psalms. I kept going back to Psalms 71:7, which says: “My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.” It wasn’t because I necessarily think that my life as a subject in the Kingdom of God is a good example to many, because too often it is not. Rather, I kept thinking that it should be. If God is my strength and my protection, then I should be able to bear any trial, resist any temptation, and truly be an example of what giving Jesus authority and kingship in my heart can do. Perhaps if we all, as Christians, as subjects in His Kingdom, kept our eye on how well we were relying on God’s strength and protection, and not worrying about what others were doing, then the Kingdom of God on Earth here and now would be more evident to those who are not yet part of His Kingdom.
As Jesus said, the Kingdom of God is within and among us, here and now. May the glory of God’s Kingdom today come just a bit closer to what it’s ultimate, fully restored Glory will be someday. I’m going to do my part by relying on God and giving Jesus His due Kingship. How about you?