The Realm of God

January 26th, 2018 by Dave Leave a reply »

The Realm of God
Friday, January 26, 2018

Jesus clearly says the kingdom of heaven is among us (Luke 17:21) or “at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). This realm appears to be his singular and constant message. Without this utterly new and absolute frame of reference, it is hard to know what Jesus is talking about. It’s sad that many Christians made it into a reward system for a very, very few (if we believe our own common criteria); or as Brian McLaren says, we made the announcement of the Reign of God into “an evacuation plan” into another world. [1] As Frederick Buechner observed, “Principles are what people have instead of God.” [2] The Judeo-Christian God wanted to give us Godself, but we preferred ideas and laws. The greatest saints I have ever met eventually had to sacrifice their self-exalting principles in order to love God and to love their neighbor! This is the final and full death of self, which Jesus exemplified on the cross.
The price for real transformation is high. It means that we have to change our loyalties from power, success, money, ego, and control to the imitation of a Vulnerable God where servanthood, surrender, and simplicity reign. Of course, most people never imagine God as vulnerable, humble, or incarnate in matter. We see God as Almighty, and that vision validates almightiness all the way down the chain. Look at history to see Christianity’s role in affirming oppression and violence.
When Christians say “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20) or “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3), we are actually announcing our commitment to Jesus’ upside-down world where “the last are first and the first are last” (Matthew 20:16) over any other power system or frame of reference. If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar is not! If Jesus is Lord, then the economy and stock market are not! If Jesus is Lord, then my house, possessions, country, and job are not! If Jesus is Lord, then I am not!
This implication was obvious to first-century members of the Roman Empire because the phrase “Caesar is Lord” was the empire’s loyalty test and political bumper sticker. Early Christians changed “parties” when they welcomed Jesus as Lord instead of the Roman emperor as their savior. A lot of us have still not changed parties. In fact, political parties are many American Christians’ major frame of reference today. This is the “realm of silliness” that is nowhere close to the Realm of God.
G. K. Chesterton wrote, “It is merely that when a man [sic] has found something which he prefers to life itself, he then for the first time begins to live.” [3] We are all searching for Someone to surrender to, something we can prefer to our small life. Without such a lifeline of love, the span between God and the soul is not bridged. And here is the wonderful surprise: We can surrender to God without losing ourselves! The irony is that we find ourselves in a new and much larger field of meaning. Jesus’ metaphor for that larger field of meaning, purpose, and connection is “The Realm of God.”

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

Look Again and Consecrate
By Oswald Chambers

If God so clothes the grass of the field…, will He not much more clothe you…? —Matthew 6:30

A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us because we will not be simple. How can we maintain the simplicity of Jesus so that we may understand Him? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become amazingly simple. Jesus asks us to consider that “if God so clothes the grass of the field…” how “much more” will He clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him? Every time we lose ground in our fellowship with God, it is because we have disrespectfully thought that we knew better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed “the cares of this world” to enter in (Matthew 13:22), while forgetting the “much more” of our heavenly Father.
“Look at the birds of the air…” (Matthew 6:26). Their function is to obey the instincts God placed within them, and God watches over them. Jesus said that if you have the right relationship with Him and will obey His Spirit within you, then God will care for your “feathers” too.
“Consider the lilies of the field…” (Matthew 6:28). They grow where they are planted. Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don’t take root anywhere. Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him? Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a one-time experience but an ongoing process. Am I continually separating myself and looking to God every day of my life?


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