Summary: Understanding our identity
[We Are the Kingdom of God]
When I became a Christian, I did so at a rather young age. I was thirteen years old and there was an immediate change in my life. I began to get involved with church quite a bit. We had two Sunday services (morning and evening), a youth group and a young men’s group. Shortly after becoming a believer, I met my best friend and his dad served as a pastor at a local church in the area.
I found myself leaving my current church (Assemblies of God) to join with my best friend and his dad at the Church of God. For a short period of time, I was involved with the Church of God on Sundays and was involved with the Youth Group at the Assemblies of God.
One of the prominent themes which was discussed a number of times at both churches was the imminent return of Jesus. While I don’t recall every sermon on the subject, it was always a topic of discussion. “Jesus could come back at any moment!” That was the phrase that got tossed around quite a bit back in those days.
Most of the times when preachers preached on the subject, the kingdom of God and heaven were discussed alongside the reality of hell. The sermons almost always ended the same though, with the preacher getting all teary-eyed and sharing how happy they would be to see Jesus and to finally be home. When you think about it, it’s a nice thought when you realize heaven is a place where temptations are removed, financial burdens are gone and you spend eternity worshipping the Savior. Pain is gone, struggles are gone, and there is eternal joy. It is a beautiful thought indeed.
We live in a broken world where nothing is certain and the demands of life are constantly weighing us down. There are bills to pay, children to raise, forms to fill out and spiritual warfare to face. We struggle against deadlines, financial burdens, set-backs and death. In our pursuit to make a living, we struggle to make ends meet and we often find our lives to be unsatisfying and we wonder where we went wrong. We feel the emptiness of life, the void that burns within that makes all, at some point; ask the question, “Why am I here?”
When we consider the pain and turmoil of life, then, yes heaven becomes so much more beautiful. And while the grim reality of hell lurks in the back of our minds and we so desire that no one goes there, we look forward to this day when everything changes for us. We all get a little chocked up with this idea of eternal paradise and being with Jesus.
For many people, they live their lives wondering what the point is. Believers can rise above the question knowing the purpose is to bring glory to God. For a believer, Jesus is a lifestyle. Yet, believers begin to ask this question, “What is God’s will for my life?” It’s a reasonable question since we are all on a journey of discovery and we wonder what he wants us to do. It’s not a bad question either but Jesus provided a great answer for us.
When Jesus was asked by his own disciples how to pray, Jesus offered a model prayer for us. While I am going to discuss this later on, there is one portion of that prayer I think is relevant right now. Jesus says, “May your kingdom come, May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Jesus wasn’t offering this prayer as to say, “God, it would be awesome if things down here were just a little better.” No, Jesus was saying, God, you reign in heaven. Your will is always being done in heaven. You are being exalted and worshipped as the Father of Lights in this very moment. God, give us all the obedience to live life for your glory alone. God, let us be a movement of your rule and your reign, here and now. God, let us be a reflection of what your kingdom is all about.
I’ll tell you, when I became a believer, I was all about God. I loved going to and serving church and I loved the care free life I could live because I was still a young man. Years went by and living for God went against the demands of life and it got to the point where God became nothing more than a support actor in my life, not the main star. Far too often, we live out our lives as if God lives in our own little world as opposed to the reality that we live in his!
We are the movement God wants to usher into this world. We are the ones he has called to be his hands and feet, going and doing and bringing forth the fruit, which his son, Jesus, produces through us.