Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21
My BSGs are embarking on a new study called, “He Speaks to Me,” by Priscilla Shirer. What stood out to me in the first video we watched was her discussion about the Kingdom of God. She shared with the audience about how in the Old Testament the Israelites prayed for the “coming” Kingdom of God. It was something they hoped and yearned for throughout their years as a new and developing nation. And right at the beginning of the New Testament we find John the Baptist proclaiming:
“Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” Matthew 3:2
With Jesus’ arrival, the Kingdom of God (or Heaven) became flesh and was brought to the Israelites. And so many of them refused to grasp that their prayers were answered. And when Jesus was resurrected, the Holy Spirit remained to cover us with the Kingdom.
Today I praise God for His continual presence in our world, in my life and yours. The big word is “omnipresent.” But I like to think of it more as though I move through and live in God’s presence. He’s not “with me.” I am more like the tiny seed that is buried in a fluff of freshly picked cotton. I am in God’s kingdom, surrounded by Him.
When I grasped this idea just a year or so ago it changed my perspective dramatically. I don’t need to ask God to come help me or be near me. I just need to slow down my brain and remember I am always in His presence. We are all in His presence, whether we believe in Him or not.
It reminds me of the movie, The Matrix. There are those in the movie whose brains and bodies are hooked up to a virtual reality machine. They move about in a phony world without realizing its fake character. And then there are the people who have disconnected from the computer and live almost in an alternate space – the real, tangible world. When we disconnect from the world of the flesh and recognize that this is God’s world, His created space, and that we are in His midst, we start seeing life and how to live it from a new perspective.
The Kingdom, Jesus reiterated in our first verse is not a specific “thing” to be seen. It’s because it is everything in God’s creation. It is the grace God gifted us through Jesus. It is His Holy workings in our lives via the Holy Spirit. The kingdom is God and God is the kingdom. Gnaw on that a bit!
When I’m struggling with an issue or feel pulled apart by the fleshly world, I now seek that “sweet spot.” That quiet moment where I can feel nestled in His presence, like that little cotton seed. I wrap it around me like a warm, soft blanket and thank God I can call him “home.”