Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thy Kingdom Come - Excerpt from "Heart to Heart"

Any view of Christianity as fire insurance or a feel-good morality tale is missing the reality of the kingdom. The kingdom of God is that place wherein God has His unhindered rule, and that place is in our hearts. "The kingdom of God is within you," Jesus told a listening crowd. And to live in accordance with His kingdom necessitates a total change of life. "Repent," Jesus told the people of Galilee, "and believe the gospel." Belief in the good news of the king's arrival in our world goes hand in hand with repentance: with a complete about-face in our way of being, an absolute surrender to God's rule and reign.

The fact is, the kingdom of God runs totally counter to anything we have learned growing up in the world. Jesus, the Servant-King, is the heart and center of His realm, and His character defines its laws and principles. There is no room in the kingdom for our self-serving games, our divisions and petty offenses. The King is love, and oneness, and grace. In the world, we preserved ourselves by fear and cunning; Jesus calls us to trust and childlikeness. In the world, we value possessions and position; in the kingdom, we value people and poverty of spirit.

In a sense, we who have repented and believed the gospel are outposts of heaven. We are a new and living world within an old and dying one. It is ours to walk in the light, to live as children of the day, to worship the True King and oppose the rebellious stewards who have tried to claim this realm for their own. To the darkness, we are the worst sort of traitors, because we dare to live eternal lives while the world tumbles ever nearer its ultimate destruction. The Bible speaks truly when it says that we are at enmity with the world. But at the same time, we are the world's hope: because we have not just been left here to wile away the hours until Christ returns. Rather, we have been left here as colonists with a mission: to preach, as Jesus and His disciples did, that the kingdom of God has come, and that if we will surrender ourselves to the King, God has promised to "deliver us from the power of darkness, and translate us into the kingdom of his dear Son."

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I just finished putting a complete collection of chapter excerpts from Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer up on Little Dozen. Come check it out!

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