Close your eyes and turn on your imagination. What sort of things would you include in an ideal kingdom? Justice? Equity? Unity? What would be some of its leader’s qualities? Bravery? Fairness? Wisdom? Can you see it? A wholly just, equitable kingdom that will never end. Could such a kingdom exist here on this earth? This is not a trick question. In fact, this Kingdom already exists here and now on this earth in the hearts of God’s people and wherever people surrender to Him and His ways.
What is a kingdom? The American College Dictionary (copyright 1963, Random House) defines a kingdom as “a state or government having a king or queen as its head.” We are all familiar with kingdoms over the course of human history. Kingdoms led by humans are inherently unfair, as we are all failed and flawed as humans. Kingdoms on this earth inevitably come to an end; such is the way of things in this time-locked, fallen world.
The American College Dictionary lists five definitions of kingdom; interestingly, the last two refer specifically to this ideal Kingdom:
- the spiritual sovereignty of God or Christ
- the domain over which this extends, whether in heaven or on earth
Picture this: a Kingdom ruled by a perfectly just God who loves all those under His authority as well as those who are not yet submitted to Him. He is a loving Father to all who call on His Name. He will never be unfair, petty, selfish, or greedy; instead, He has only the best interests of His Kingdom dwellers at heart. He provides for all their needs in an abundant way. When something bad happens to one of them, He works out the details so it benefits them in the end. Members of His Kingdom learn His ways, work together to help others, and grow to be more like Him. His Kingdom is full of freedom, life, and peace for its members. This Kingdom is always expanding, always growing. This Kingdom is available to anyone who comes to seek it, regardless of their condition, ethnicity, age, or socioeconomic status. The most encouraging thing about this Kingdom: it will never end.
Just imagine – you can be part of this wonderful Kingdom here and now. All it takes to enter is a willingness to humble yourself before God, admit your faults and shortcomings and turn away from them, and accept His gift of salvation. Then His Kingdom springs to life within you, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and you are on your way to greater things. As a Jesus follower, you are free to explore this new Kingdom and learn all its treasures: wisdom, insight, peace, joy, hope, love, freedom, and so much more. As you immerse yourself in God’s Word, you will learn to dwell in the Kingdom and be a part of it, extending God’s grace and compassion to those around you. Eventually, when this life is over, your imagination will become your face-to-face experience.
LISTEN: “The Kingdom Is Yours,” JonCarlos Velez and Dee Wilson, Common Hymnal
~ Cathy Schrock, writer and visual artist