“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” “ — Matthew 16:19
When I became a Christian, all the instruction I remember receiving about the Kingdom was to protect myself from the corruption of the world, to avoid spending too much time with “sinners,” and to hold on until Jesus came back. Christianity was presented to me more as a waiting game than it was something I could thrive in. Getting to heaven simply meant avoiding hell.
Yet, somewhere deep down, I knew there should be more to life as a Christian than signing up for an eternal fire insurance policy. And there is. In fact, I think it’s those who live like today has no eternal significance who are most confused, empty, and frustrated with their faith.
The fullness of the kingdom goes beyond a one-day-yet-to-come dream; it’s also a glimpse into what God has in mind for today. It’s a kingdom yet to arrive, but also a kingdom now. Today, we find ourselves in an age of grace beyond the cross but prior to Christ’s second return. How we choose to live in this in-between says a lot about what we believe regarding the kingdom.
Today matters. Your life, your successes, your pain, and your growth this side of eternity are not in vain. When Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross, he meant it. All that was necessary to usher in the kingdom has already taken place. Now we must respond. We must be ready to live out this reality “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Any moment we choose God’s way over our way the kingdom breaks through. Any way Jesus rules our day, the kingdom is at hand. Any moment we choose to pray about a decision, to surrender to His will, to open the Bible for insight or wisdom, or to extend mercy or grace, the kingdom breaks through.
I find this shift in thinking to be so hopeful. God is always working in the now and the future, and we can choose to engage with his movement at any time. It’s possible today, and it’s possible tomorrow.
Do your best to capture your thoughts today as you make decisions. Think about whether you’re choosing your way or God’s way. Do your best to choose His Kingdom over yours. Maybe the age-old question, “What would Jesus do?” would be a good starting point. How would Jesus treat that person at the cash register? How would Jesus talk to the waitress when she messed up your order? How would Jesus respond to someone asking him for forgiveness when they’ve harmed you? When we put it that way, it seems kind of obvious doesn’t it?