The Kingdom is Here

I was re-reading Renovation of the Church by Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken. Something they said struck a thought that I felt was worth developing. Let me explain:

The kingdom of God is most easily described as the reign of God in this world. Here’s one of the many things Jesus has to say about the Kingdom:

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The kingdom is here. It has arrived. 

In the book, they go on to say “his reign can now be a reality in our lives.” They said that his reign can now be a reality, as in, God’s reign wasn’t able to be a reality in our lives fully before Jesus. It’s an interesting thought. 

I often think of God’s reign as something I need but don’t necessarily always want. I know I should do [fill in the blank], but I just don’t want to. I lack motivation, and if I could just want it more, I’d be set.  

While this is true at times, it’s not the end of the story. In the Old Testament, the issue was far deeper than just a lack of motivation. The problem wasn’t that the people knew what to do but didn’t want to do it. David in the Psalms talks often of his love for God and God’s law, and yet he failed to keep it. Many would fall prostrate when God’s law was read, out of love and devotion, and yet they failed to keep it. 

It wasn’t that they knew they should follow God, but didn’t want to. It was that they wanted to follow God, and couldn’t. They tried and would get it right sometimes, but would ultimately fail. On their best days, God and God’s people would dream of a day when people could finally fall in step with God’s will. 

With this in mind, hear the words of Jesus, yet again from Mark: 

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The Good news is that God, through Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, has made possible the very thing the saints of old wanted all along: the power to fall in step with God’s reign in this world. God has given us what we need to accept God’s reign. The kingdom is here! It’s arrived. Today is the day! 

There are a lot of things in this world that I never fully love until I meet someone who loves it well. I fell in love with coffee because I was friends with coffee lovers. I fell in love with tea, because of people who love tea. The same is true for wine, and beer, and Bob Dylan, Jonny Cash, and the Beatles. They are all good things in their own right, but I never thought to love them until I saw them loved by people I respect. 

I’ve seem many people fret over God’s will in their lives. It’s far too often pictured as a divine struggle. God wants me to do something, but I’m going to fight it every step of the way. Surely, you’re familiar with this tone. 

Which is why the idea that the people of old longed for God’s will, but for lack of Jesus, didn’t know how to live it out is so striking. In some strange way, it frees me up to love God’s will in ways I haven’t before. And when I fall in love with God’s will all over again, I find myself worrying: will I be able to live into? Or will it be impossible? It’s then that I am reminded… and it’s then that the good news actually feels like good news and not just something we say: God’s kingdom has arrived. It’s now possible. Repent and believe. Let’s start this thing all over again. 

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