The kingdom of God is within us. It is not merely some coming reality in the future. It is the reality of Christ in us as the hope of glory. When Jesus was asked when the kingdom of heaven would come and what the sign of its coming would be, He told them that the kingdom was within them.
Luke 17:20-21 Now when He 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.”
The apostle Paul explained the kingdom of God is an internal reality of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. He said that it was not a matter of what we eat or drink or what do not eat or drink. It is not a matter of external actions. It is a matter of an internal and eternal relationship.
Romans 14:17 …for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
As leaders, we must set an example to those we lead in living lives that are inspired by the kingdom of God within our hearts. This is not merely in the way we teach, preach, or minister. It is in our lives. It is in the way we demonstrate being in relationship with others. It is in the way we bring life to our world. How do we live as parents, friends, neighbors, members of community and every practical aspect of our lives? How do we forgive? How do we trust? How do we find healing in our hearts and minds? How do we live when we are weak? How do we live when we are strong? Leaders set an example that others can see and then they inspire them to live in the same way. It is not a method, but a testimony of the fruit of our relationship with God in life.
Righteousness is a right relationship with God by His Holy Spirit in our hearts. It is the source of our true identity. Peace is the testimony of no separation between God and us in the Spirit. Our spirts are one with His Spirit and all that is His empowers us to receive an increasing testimony in our lives. This is what empowers us to be a part of His inheritance. Our purpose is to become the substance of His name for the world we live in and for the generations that follow. This is the tabernacling, the abiding presence, of God in our lives. It is His partnership with us in all things, and for all things, that gives us true joy in the Holy Spirit. He abides in us and we abide in Him for the glory of life.
What will challenge us on our journey in life? We can learn a lesson from Israel’s journey to the Promised Land. The Promised Land of the Israelites was merely a shadow of the true Promised Land for all people. I believe that the Promised Land is the working of the kingdom of God within our hearts in any circumstance, situation, geographical location, racial identity, gender reality, or any thing in life. We are all kings and lords in what has been given to us. Life is not fair. It is merely the measure of rule given to each of us to live. We need the King of kings and the Lord of lords reigning in our hearts in order to bring life to all that has been given to us in life. I believe that the internal and eternal working of the kingdom of God within us will empower us to demonstrate both spirit and natural realities in the measures of our lives. It is the working of the kingdom of God in our hearts that will empower us to be men, women, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, extended family members, community members, community influencers, friends, neighbors, and even good news to our enemies. There are challenges to the internal working of the kingdom of God becoming the influence behind the external expressions of our lives. Only the kingdom of God working from within us can empower us to see those things in our everyday lives. We have to pass the tests that seem to resist us. Those tests are really blockades meant to be overcome by God’s grace working in our lives. Those tests are meant to draw out our real identity, testimony, and destiny in our journey of life. The journey of Israel to the Promised Land is a shadow to the places that we are meant to overcome and challenges to the lives we are meant to live as people. The Bible states that there were ten testings. Ten is a prophetic number signifying God’s judgment of love. It signifies completing a thing and only God’s love can bring us to completion in our journey of life.
Numbers 14:22-23 …because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.
When we are tested in our hearts and tempted to pursue actions that are not true to the character and life of Christ it is a test of God’s love. God wants to draw the true Christ identity, testimony, and purpose out of each of us. When we are tested it is not some plot or plan of some enemy. The real measure of life is not found in the world we live in or in the world we are walking through. The real measure of life is found in the kingdom of God within each of us and the tests we experience only prove to manifest what is in our hearts.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson