First Things @ First
I recently came across a phrase in the word of God that is often repeated, yet not that well understood. It is 'kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven.' The word 'kingdom' is used over one- hundred-sixty times in the New Testament. Jesus used it often as did John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Son of God. In fact, both John and Jesus message was centered around this phrase, 'repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' When the disciples were sent out by Jesus, their purpose was to proclaim the kingdom of heaven to anyone and everyone that they crossed paths with.
I have heard many definitions of the term, 'kingdom of heaven' or 'kingdom of God' through the years but the simplest to understand for me at least is the one I discovered through 'Experiencing God' by Richard and Henry Blackaby. In that material, the 'kingdom of heaven' is defined as 'the rule of God in the hearts of people all over this planet.'
Many in America understand the rule of law. It is the boundary that when submissive to brings us under the authority of those that God has placed over us. That includes all forms of civil and judicial leadership. Because I respect the law of the land, I adhere to what the law says, voluntarily. And as I do, I experience the freedom to go where I prefer and do as I like within the boundaries set forth for me. Example being--so long as I drive within the speed limit, I may go anywhere I choose for as long as I desire without fear of being punished with the payment of exceeding the rule of traffic laws. To exceed the limits doesn't mean that I will necessarily be stopped and ticketed, but the sense of freedom that living within the boundaries provides. Refusing to align my life with the rule of law creates a sense of always looking over my shoulder or glancing in the rear view mirror to see if 'my sin' will indeed find me out (Numbers 32:23).
Christians who choose to live under the authority of God's word in their life are a part of the kingdom of heaven. Churches who choose to follow the will of God concerning ministry or mission assignments are part of the kingdom of heaven.
Blackaby points out this--"If you are a true disciple of Jesus, you must obey His clear command to 'seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). If we are to truly follow Jesus, God's kingdom must be our priority just as it is Christ's."
As we voluntarily come under the rule of God in our hearts, His kingdom is expanded and reinforced in our hearts. When Jesus is exalted in our spirit and soul, our body will bear the evidence of Him being THE Priority over everything else. Anything less leaves me looking over my shoulder or glancing occasionally in the rear-view mirror of my recent past to see if something is coming up behind me.
Our life is then restricted from the fullness of freedom to enjoy the best and most God offers those who permit His rule over their life.
That said, are you spending more time looking ahead to all that God will reveal for you in the kingdom of God?
Or will you spend (waste) time looking for something to slip up behind you and penalize you for choosing to exceed the boundaries of what God defines as best for you and me?
There is only room for one King in the kingdom. And if it is not God, it is not good! That includes you and everyone around you!
A life lived under His rule brings about the kind of life that overcomes the world! John 16:33
So, here's to the best life possible lived well within the rule of God over our life!!