A Different Kingdom
Posted on August 27, 2013
The Kingdom of God is different. It’s different than the world’s system. It’s different than religion. It’s different than every other kingdom which currently exists. However, I have observed a trend that is subtle and vast. And at times I find myself perpetuating the trend, while at other times, by God’s grace, I come out from the trend. The trend I’m speaking of is overlaying biblical truth on top of the world’s system of operation, and saying it is the Kingdom of God. No it isn’t. Not even close. And honestly, at times it appears to be the same thing, but upon further investigation this charlatan system is exposed for what it truly is, an imitation.
Let me give you a few examples to illustrate this observation. An overwhelming drive to be the best. I know it sounds like it would be a noble desire that every Christian should aim for. However, slowly but surely a mindset creeps in that shifts our attention from Jesus and His power to ourselves and how good we can be. In addition we often aim to be better than someone else and look for ways to discredit who they are and build our own air of superiority. We are right, they are wrong. Our way is better, their way is inferior.
Let me balance this thought by acknowledging a desire to grow in your craft or skill is absolutely a godly desire. What I am speaking of is an over focus of being the greatest at the expense of others. Jesus seems to address this with the boys by calling them to serve others rather than live to have others serve them.
Another example is anger and offense driving your passion for God and His Kingdom (See James 1:19-20). I have read countless Facebook/Twitter/blog posts that are seething with anger over the state of the world and propose a God who will get even as a response to the destruction we see. I understand it seems natural to want to strike back when struck. Or to get back at someone for hurting and offending you. But this is God we are talking about. He doesn’t lower Himself in order to create justice. If the Scriptures are true (and I believe they are!) the most clear picture of God is found in His Son. Jesus reveals a Father who sides with the offended and the offender. He reveals a Kingdom that blesses instead of curses. That forgives rather than withholds. A Kingdom that serves rather than demands service. A Kingdom that gives first, rather than requests payment for blessing.
Did Jesus get angry? He did! Usually (not always) when the established spiritual leadership made it impossible for people to enjoy their lives and God’s kingdom. He got frustrated when His leaders fell back on the ways of the world (power & control) rather than remembered the ways of the Kingdom (empower, release, & confront). Not being of this world is not merely behaving better than others. Not being of the world means our entire operating system has changed. We live from our union with God. We think with Him. We have His resources to invest. We don’t climb the ladder of significance, because we trust God to raise us up. This Kingdom, governed by the life of Jesus, is good news!