““nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”” Luke 17:21, NKJV.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the kingdom of God is the “the kingdom of God WITHIN YOU.” (Number 8 on yesterday’s list).
In Luke 17:21, Jesus taught, “Behold the kingdom of God is within you.” In Mark, when we get to chapter four, Jesus teaches the same thing. He says that the kingdom of God is like God planting a seed in soil, and the seed grows up and bears fruit. The seed is God’s word, and the soil is the human heart. The Kingdom of God is like God planting his word into your heart, and it grows and bears fruit. Same concept as the Kingdom of God is within you.
The gospels recount the life of Jesus, not only so that we can know Jesus better, but also so that we can know ourselves better too. The message of Jesus is supposed to become our message. The authority of Jesus is supposed to become our authority. The power of Jesus is supposed to become our power.
When you look at Jesus, he is amazing. We have to ask, what was in his soul that made him so amazing? That as a human, he could have such powers and live such an amazing life? Because if we really want to follow him, then whatever operating system was running His soul has to be installed into our souls too.
This brings us back to the kingdom of God within you. The Bible teaches that it is possible for us to have in our soul the same structures of thought and feeling and instinct and belief that Jesus had in his soul. You cannot be like Jesus from the outside in. You have to be like Jesus from the inside out.
What IS the kingdom of God within? IT IS SPIRITUAL MATURITY: the condition of maximum spiritual growth in our lives. Getting out of spiritual kindergarten, and having a mind truly renewed.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:12-14, NKJV.
The KEY is a profound involvement with the Word of God. More on this in tomorrow’s post.
So many Christians are failing in their walk with Christ simply because they have never built up the kingdom of God within. That is, they have never taken the time to build into their souls the same structures of thought, feeling, instinct, and belief as Jesus. You can’t live like Jesus if you don’t think like Jesus, and you can’t think like Jesus until you have the kingdom of God within you. And you can’t do that without the spiritual discipline that rises above all others: a lifelong, direct, regular encounter with the Bible and all it teaches.
- “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17, NKJV.
- “And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’ “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:10, 11, NKJV.
So many Christians are trying to create God’s kingdom in the world… in your family, in your school, in your community, in government… but you cannot build the kingdom “out there” until you have first built it “in here” (that is, within you).
As followers of Jesus, we carry within us an absolutely amazing potential. We can have the authority and magnetism and impact and healing power that Jesus had. We can walk in his steps. We really can follow him. We can renovate our lives the inside out; our thinking, feeling, responding, and believing. We can be mature Christians. We can grow up. We can make a difference. We don’t have to be seat-warmers in the church. We can be a spiritual champions for Christ.
And the amazing thing is that the power for all this is NOT our power, it is God’s power flowing through us just like it flowed through Jesus.
And you don’t have to be religious, or weird, or superspiritual, or phony either. You can just be yourself, and learn how to use the incredible resources that God has supplied for every moment of your life.
Jesus fully expected his disciples to be like him and to do what he did. And he was lovingly ticked off when they didn’t. That’s the big idea in the gospels. Jesus said Follow Me and he really meant it. Can we do that? Only if the Kingdom of God grows up within us.
When was the last time you heard someone talk about the Kingdom of God as something that grows up within you and changes your life from the INSIDE?
I pray that God would do some radical things with us. I pray that we would learn how to breathe the air of heaven, the rule and reign of God, into every circumstance of our lives.
Jesus said, Follow me. It is God’s intention to reproduce the life of Christ thousands of times over by the Holy Spirit who uses the WORD OF GOD as his sword.