Show me the Kingdom of God

A follower of Jesus went into the city to meet with an elderly Spiritual Director.   They sat under the old elm tree and enjoyed a glass of iced tea, enjoying the warmth of the spring day.    As the conversation was lively and often deep, the elder turned to the other and asked quite sincerely "What is stirring your heart these days?  What's giving you life?"

The young Jesus follower paused, took a deep breath and said: "I have been captivated with the idea of Kingdom of God."  To which the Elder responded quite directly "Show me the Kingdom of God."

The Kingdom of God is not just good ideas, right beliefs or warm feelings.  The Kingdom of God manifests in real life in concrete ways.   It is when our ideas move from the safety of pontification and waxing eloquence to the terra-firma of the real experience, in the real lives of real people. It is often easy to get stuck in our ideas related to the Kingdom of God, heck!, the Father Himself - our ideas and doctrine while it not having any tangible impact on our life.  We can talk about our grand ideas of the Kingdom of God, of community and of love but how are these shaping our lives?  This is what it means to show me the Kingdom - live it not just think about it - even when we think rightly!

Faith is not easy belief-ism as if we just have to give intellectual assent to a bunch of propositional truths, rather it is the response to the experience of the love of God which transforms all of us, not just our ideas.  Faith has feet - not works to earn God's love and acceptance - but a life change that comes as a natural response to experiencing His life-changing love.  This is why obedience is so tied to our relationship with the Father.  We all know it is one thing to talk the talk but quite another to actually walk it.  Our obedience is not the key to making the Father love us but is a fruit of living in it.  So when the Jesus says if you love me, you will do what I tell you He is simply stating the facts - obedience is a natural fruit of knowing the love of God - if you are being transformed by the God of love you will learn to live love (obedience).   To add some context - Jesus said: "by this people will know you are my disciples because of the way you love each other".  He will also affirm the Law - Love God with everything you are and love others as I have loved you!  In fact, on this command to love, Jesus says all the Laws and the Prophets hang! Paul affirms this in his letter to Galatians when he writes "The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14)

Love is much more than an idea, theory or good theology.   Love by its very nature must act - lay down one's life for another.  Love is a verb.  God so loved the world that He sent His Son - Love initiates. Love gives.  I think you get the idea...Authentic healthy faith is lived as a whole person in our minds, souls, and bodies.  It is in the physical real world that we are rooted in reality.  This is the context we were created by God Himself to live our faith, to serve our God and King, and to participate in God's plan to restore and reconcile all of creation to Himself.

 


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