Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kingdom Coming

On Thursdays I have been sharing a little bit about what I have been learning as I read through 1 John.

1 John is a letter written to the believers in Asia Minor.  John has been giving examples of what a believer who walks with God looks like.  He has been contrasting these believers with those who say that they walk with God, but whose actions and beliefs do not support their claims.  He calls these people liars and says they walk in darkness.  John wants the believers to be able to recognize the difference between that which is true and that which is false.  He pauses in this endeavor to encourage the believers he is writing to by reminding them of the joy, the power, and the faithfulness they have received from Christ.

Recently, we have been looking at a few verses about the world. 

John writes, 

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If you love the world, love for the Father is not in you.  For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful people, the lust of their eyes and their boasting about what they have and do—comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”  1 John 2:15-17 TNIV
In the last few weeks we have discovered the Greek the term for world is kosmos. It has to do with “the present condition of human affairs in alienation and opposition to God” (VINES Expository Dictionary).  I have shared some thoughts about how we choose what to love moment by moment—either the world or God.  I have also mused about how the best of all that comes from the world fails to satisfy.  I began to wonder about God and His Kingdom.  Might it be a place where cravings are satisfied?  I suggested it is. 

There are hints of this in the final verse of this section.

“The world and its desires pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

There is Kingdom language hidden here.  Can you spot it?

It’s there in six short words: “whoever does the will of God.”

In John’s words, I hear the words of Jesus.

“This, then is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil on.”  Matthew 6:9-13 NIV
It is when we do the will of God that His kingdom comes.

I’m not sure I had thought about God’s kingdom in quite this way until I participated in the Story Formed Life.  The facilitator of my group switched these phrases around and suddenly the wheels began turning in my head. 

When I do God’s will, His kingdom comes on earth through me.  Isn’t that amazing?

God’s kingdom is always available to us. 

I can choose that which will satisfy by doing God’s will. 

That sounds nice doesn’t it?  But what does it really mean?

Kingdom language is a bit foreign to Americans today.  We live in a republic.  We choose our representation.  Our thoughts and ideas are represented by those who are elected to do so.  We do not live in a kingdom ruled by a monarch, so we don't have much experience with what that might be like.

Greg Boyd describes a kingdom as “The dome over which the King reigns.”

In a kingdom, the people give their rights to the king; in turn, the king provides for the needs of the people.

When we live in God’s kingdom we recognize that Jesus is king.

There is a cost.  We give up our right to make the decisions.  God’s will be done, not mine. 

There is a reward too.  The King provides for the needs of His people.  God promises to satisfy.

 As I read the rest of Matthew 6, it is clear Jesus recognizes this.  He goes on to talk about how no one can serve two masters.  In the Kingdom, the King makes the decisions.  He also goes on to say there is no need to worry, because God will provide as we seek His kingdom. 

We can trust God.
“Trust in the LORD and do good;
     dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the LORD,
     and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:3-4 NIV
God knows our desires. 

He also knows that as we delight in His word and in His presence, our desires will become His desires.  As they do, he is all too happy to give them to us.  We will be satisfied.

We will do His will--allowing Him to work through us--and His Kingdom will come.

It will happen one moment at a time.

May His Kingdom come through us today.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we discover life in the Kingdom.  May we find joy and satisfaction in laying down our lives to participate in bringing God’s Kingdom.  May we find that as we surrender and do God’s will, His Kingdom comes on earth through us.  May we remember to listen and respond moment by moment to His call.

Jessica :)

P.S.  There is a song by Shaun Groves from his album Third World Symphony that I love.  It is called Kingdom Coming.  Perhaps you'd like to take a listen?  If you like it, consider purchasing his song over here?

Kingdom Coming for Sophie at from Shaun Groves on Vimeo.

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