"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Developing a Kingdom Mindset

I have a friend named Tim Price who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Tim is a writer and a publisher. He is one of those rare persons who studies the Scriptures not because he is paid to do so, but simply because he has a consuming desire to know God's Word for himself. Tim is the author of The Diluted Church and he blogs at Kingdom Citizenship.

Recently, Tim wrote one of the finest blog posts I have ever read on the subject of the Kingdom of God.  Our Identity -- Who Are We Really? is an article that posits what I've longed believed. Many modern evangelicals see the gospel as simply believing in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Tim writes:
"One aspect of God’s kingdom deals with who we are as Christ’s followers and where our loyalty, identity and belonging rest… Over the years I’ve heard lots of teaching about our identity in Christ. Notions like we are, “God’s workmanship,” “the Redeemed of God,” or “sons of God.” While I’m not in protest of these articulations; I find them either ethereal or vague in practicum… I am sure most of these ideals are well meant. However, I do not see a direct link to their meaning within the context of the Kingdom of God as the subject on which Christ taught most. Therein is the problem."
Tim goes on to explain who we are in the Kingdom of God in terms of this present world (read his full post). If modern evangelicalism does not comprehend how being a member of the Kingdom of God affects everything in the believer's life, then "we will spiritualize the teaching of scripture ... Truth becomes ethereal and vague (and only has) an emotional, personal and individual sentimental value (when) it is divorced from the kingdom of God as a now-reality. Without the Kingdom of God we can settle back into the world, because truth is only a belief-in-a-belief instead of a dynamic that contrasts the world through a competitive reality."

Good stuff, Tim. May our enjoyment of the Kingdom of God in the here and now be deepened in all of us.

2 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

What you need to have a Kingdom, is a King, and Subjects. If you had that in a modern advanced setting, or in a jungle that hasn't changed in a millennium, you'd still have a Kingdom.

Second, as Joseph Garlington said, we're not human being having Spiritual experiences .. we're Spiritual beings having temporary human experiences here. Inasmuch as our Spirit's going to live, and our flesh is going to die, it seems that the Spiritual would be the more important to us.

It is also true, in my mind, that the Spiritual connection with others is what brings real meaning to friendships. And that will continue on after our body dies, in whatever reality heaven is; contrast that with the lost, who have no spiritual connection with others and are thus apt to be alone for eternity, after they die.

Bottom line, for me: the Spiritual MUST take precedence for me, right now. And if you really believe the Bible, you'd have to assume that such is the stuff of which the Abundant Life is composed. And providing us an abundant life is one of the two reasons Jesus said He came down here to do.

Since an infinite God would always have more for us, it only makes sense to see everything in our lives, in that light, and to focus on the Kingdom on earth every day.

Nothing else makes sense to me, for a believer.

Victorious said...

I believe the Kingdom of God is a reality for us, but the reality is spiritual. We are new creatures, but that newness applies to our soul and spirit. The transformation of soul and spirit affects the way we see the present world and how we interact and react to those around us. As the fruit of the spirit grows and matures, we live victoriously in the midst of evil, sorrow, suffering, etc. That love, joy, goodness, kindness, patience, and self-control enables us to reflect Him and serves as a testimony to His love in a way previously not possible.

As Jesus said, we don't hunger or thirst as we have access to the bread of life and living water. We are content in Him.

So...I see the KOG as a spiritual one that Jesus announced but is not void of tribulation. The difference as participants is the absence of hunger, despair, fear, etc.

Before I met Jesus I was thinking about suicide because I knew there must be more and couldn't find it. I used to listen to Peggy Lee sing, "Is That All There Is?" and cry. With entrance into the Kingdom, all that changed immediately.

Thank you Jesus!