You Can't Think your Way into the Kingdom
I was having a conversation with one of my favorite Millennial friends when these words popped out of my mouth, “You can’t think your way into the kingdom.”
I was surprised I said it, but I realized as I reflected on it later that this is the rub for a lot of us--maybe most of all those of us who have been trained for “professional ministry.”
We try to understand the Kingdom and often, we can’t.
Looking for a Tangible Kingdom
One man told me recently, “The Kingdom feels fuzzy for me.”
I get it. We are used to quantifiable and tangible results in our lives and God’s Kingdom doesn’t have the same priority or measurement system.
I’ve been having lots of kairos moments lately about the Kingdom (Kairos: Greek word for time--when God breaks through)--here’s the one I had this morning:
Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Mark 1:15). I’ve always interpreted this as “coming soon!” as time, but when you consider the term “near” in the Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, it means “accessible, close enough to touch” as in distance.
That changes everything.
It means we aren’t waiting for it to come, but that we can reach out and touch it.
The Passion Translation (interpreted through Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek) states it this way in Matthew 10:7:
“Heaven’s Kingdom realm is accessible, close enough to touch.”
I hear you saying, “I can’t touch Kingdom’s realm. I don't feel anything.”
Right, not in our earthly realm. It’s in the Kingdom realm--the one that matters most of all.
When Jesus stood before Pilate, he told him, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. It’s not of this world” (John 18:36).
It takes faith to reach out and touch it and believe God’s Kingdom exists all around us.
Getting Away from the Crowd
I find it so interesting that as Jesus was speaking about the Kingdom he had two encounters. In one Jesus healed a man who was deaf and, in the other, a man who was blind.
He took both of them away from the crowdto do the healing.
Here’s what I believe: if we truly want to see the Kingdom, to reach out and touch it, to experience the transformational power of it, we have to step away from the crowd.
We aren’t going to find God’s Kingdom in the mainstream section of life.
We aren’t going to find God’s Kingdom in the mainstream section of religion.
It’s found when we follow Jesus’ directive: “Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about Heaven’s Kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of the child, you will never be able to enter in.” (Matthew 18:2-3 TPT)
Children don’t ever try to think their way into anything.
They live life in wide-eyed wonder--each moment a true discovery that thrills and delights them. Is there anything more appealing than a child giggling? Watch a fun video here.
Opening Our Eyes to See the Kingdom
This morning I sat down to spend time with the King of Heaven’s Kingdom and I heard him say, “My Kingdom is near. I want to open your eyes to see even clearer just how close it is.”
With every invitation comes a choice.
Here’s some questions I’ve been wrestling with; do they resonate with you?
Will I be willing to humble myself to enter the Kingdom? (Matthew 18:4)
Will I be willing to let my spirit lead, rather than my brain, in discerning the Kingdom?
Am I willing to be led by Jesus outside the crowd (the mainstream religious system) so I can see the Kingdom and hear his direction for how to move in it?
Am I willing to open up my “sight” to understand who truly is in God’s Kingdom?
Am I willing to become “least” in God’s Kingdom?
I have to admit. On my human side, I like being known. I like being important. I like being in the middle of things.
But, when the King of Heaven’s Kingdom, gives me a personal invitation to have my blinded eyes opened, it trumps all my human desires--because this I do know, life in His Kingdom is truly life.
The life which satisfies.
The life which impacts for eternity.
The life which allows us to live in wide-eyed wonder!
I want to end this post today with a song on the Bethel Live album that captures our Kingdom reality. Focus on the words as you listen to "May You Never Lose Your Wonder."