“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12: 9 – 11
The question isn’t what kind of world do we want, but rather, what kind of world do we need.
After 40 straight days (and over 43,000 words!) of blogging about the kingdom of God I am convinced more than ever that our world is subject to a weird brew of beauty and suffering so that we might seek something greater, more powerful than both.
We yearn for a world free from pain and suffering. I watch as friends fight disease for one more day of life. People protest in the streets demanding ‘justice’ without knowing where their dreams derive. Thousands upon thousands of non-profits work with razor thin budgets to try and change lives and bring relief as best they can. Families take in other’s children only to see more enter the system.
We know we are in a broken world. Yet, so many pretend it is overcome with just a tweak here and there. Do this. Do that. Sit this way. Empty your mind. Pay more taxes. Distract yourself.
Yet results are temporary at best and promise more than deliver.
What then is our problem? What is the solution?
Could it be that our deepest need in this world is not comfort, security, or prosperity? Could it be that what we need most is Someone to be with us in this world and to overcome our selfish wills that strive to save ourselves?
Could it be that we have wandered off course? And like the prodigal we need to ‘come to ourselves’, stand up, and go home?
Could it be that we are in need of a King and his kingdom? Are our dreams so small as simply to imagine a ‘better world’ or even a world that suits our desires?
Christianity holds out a big hope for this world, for you and me. We believe we were created for another kind of reality.
So when Jesus comes and announces a kingdom unlike any other has arrived, we take notice. And when he describes life in that kingdom, something in us awakens. It sounds good. It sounds right.
It sounds like what we need.
Yet we struggle because in large part our problem comes down to authority. Who is ruling our lives? Are we chasing rulers who will finally set things right? Are we hoping in ‘progress’ or technology? Are we trusting only in ourselves?
If we stop our striving for long enough, we can hear the voice of one calling us to him. He made us. He knows us. He created us for himself.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus, Matthew 11: 27 – 29
We need his loving reign in our lives for he alone sees everything and knows what we need. We were not meant to run our own lives or run this world for that matter. We were meant to be loved and free.
We were not meant to play gods, splashing about in mud puddles thinking we are doing fine while we miss the vast ocean of God’s glorious Christ and his kingdom just behind us.
We were meant to live with God and each other in his kingdom. This is the world Jesus knew, saw, and described in his teachings and parables. It was the hope of the law and the prophets. Secretly it’s the hope of all of us.
But power and self rule are alluring. Just try harder. Keep improving yourself. Elect the right person and all will be well. Live how you want and do whatever makes you happy. God will understand. Get back to a better day.
Don’t miss this. A new day has come. The long awaited kingdom has come. It’s the world we need, the world for which we were created.
This gospel of the kingdom has become a main theme in my life and how I describe the vision of Christianity for this world. My goal is not to populate heaven as if our need is to simply escape this sinful place. My goal is not win people to my group as if God had a favorite team.
My goal is to proclaim what Jesus proclaimed, to teach and to demonstrate what his earliest followers did. I speak it to others who have simply believed in an individualized gospel of escape that misses the glory and hope of God’s kingdom coming.
I speak it to followers of other faiths who are unsure of God’s love and are striving to save themselves. I speak it to busy people trying to maintain their own kingdom and who think they are good enough already.
I speak it so that people understand Christianity is not about going to church or trying to live good lives. Our problem is much deeper. The solution is much more glorious!
But, I speak it to myself first. For I know the kingdoms that wage war in my own soul. Kingdoms of self, of others approval. Kingdoms of nation and pride.
But there is another kingdom at work, whose King is patiently fighting back the other kingdoms. He reminds me that my kingdom is an illusion, that others are sinners just like me, and that every kingdom of this earth will eventually pass away.
So I relent daily. My prayer has become thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let this be true IN me first and then THROUGH me.
In seeking Christ and his kingdom I have found freedom, purpose, meaning, joy, power, and a source of love in Christ that goes beyond what I know of myself.
Repent. Turn to Christ. Be born anew. Gain a fresh start. Receive the King and his kingdom and let the seed grow in and through you. Join the global movement of the people seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness.
No other king or kingdom offers the hope that Jesus and the kingdom of God does.
For this we were made. This is the world we need.
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Revelation 11:15
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” Hebrews 12: 28