Image source: Salvation Army
What is the Kingdom of God, how do I get there, and how do I know it when I see it?
Russell Holloway, blog host
The last two weeks described what God's kingdom is and how to enter it now. This week's conclusion examines how we recognize the presence of God's kingdom.
Now when [Jesus] was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
~ Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)
There are modern day Pharisees who attempt to create a kingdom defined by culture—certain ways of speaking, dressing, behaving. There are modern day Sadducees who would make a kingdom of this world by using God's name as excuse to pursue connections, pleasure, and control.
There is a kingdom to come on a future day when we will look upon the face of Jesus, find delight to bow before Him in worship and lift Him up in praise, enjoy fellowship and perfect unity with His people, and are free from the sorrows of this world.
There is another kingdom Jesus says is within His people.
When we give Jesus dominion of our lives and receive His Holy Spirit within us to guide us in every way, we become people of a different place. We see the face of Jesus in the people around us. We find delight amid the sorrows of this world when we bow before Jesus in worship and lift Him up in praise. We enjoy fellowship with His people and desire unity with them.
This kingdom is within us who are within the world. It is neither an invisible kingdom, nor is it made visible through the things of this world. It is a kingdom clearly manifest wherever Jesus reigns and has dominion.
We recognize the presence of the kingdom wherever –
• sacrificial love overcomes apathy and hatred
• joy brings strength amid affliction
• perfect peace prevails amid turmoil
• patient longsuffering meets irritation and trial
• active kindness is antidote to condemnation and bitterness
• obedient goodness challenges evil
• trusting faithfulness confronts doubt
• meek gentleness faces pride
• temperate self-control overcomes lust for immediate gratification
Jesus warned that His kingdom within would provoke others; we will be odious at best, and at worst we will be persecuted to the point of bloodshed, finding enemies even within our family.
The kingdom may be recognized by consistent growth. Whether we take two steps forward and one step back, or ten steps forward and nine steps back, we will grow. We cannot help but become more like Jesus if He has dominion over us.
When we discover that we are more like Jesus, and we treat others as if they were Jesus—when we recognize the Spirit of Jesus prevailing in one of His followers—we know we have found the presence of the Kingdom of God.
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Question of the Week and Anne will take a break for several weeks. In the meantime, you can find answers to plenty of Bible questions at the site Bible.com. You're also welcome to email Anne anytime and say hello at buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.