The kingdom of God is not just about physical actions like eating and drinking, but about our inner state. It's not about what we do outwardly, but who we are inwardly. It is an inner reality. The kingdom of God is characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy.
March 6, 2023
Romans 14: 17 (ESV) – For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The kingdom of God is not just about physical actions like eating and drinking, but about our inner state. It’s not about what we do outwardly, but who we are inwardly. It is an inner reality. The kingdom of God is characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy.
The kingdom of God is not just some far-off event that we are waiting for, it is already here! In Matthew 16: 28, Jesus tells his disciples that some of them will not even taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. This means that the kingdom has already come, and we have access to it today. We don’t have to wait for some future event to experience the power and presence of God’s kingdom.
When we constantly push the coming of the kingdom to some distant future, we miss out on the reality of the kingdom that is already available to us. Jesus preached the kingdom and urged people to repent because the kingdom of God is at hand, within reach (Matthew 4: 17). Mark 9: 1 also echoes this truth when Jesus tells his disciples that some of them will see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.
Let us not limit our understanding of the kingdom to some future event, but let us embrace the reality of the kingdom that is available to us now. Repent and enter into the kingdom, where righteousness, peace, and joy reign (Romans 14: 17).
Long ago, before the arrival of Jesus, there was a mighty king named Nebuchadnezzar who had a dream. He summoned his wise men to interpret the dream, but when they asked him to tell them the dream, he refused and demanded that they tell him the dream and its meaning. The wise men were in a difficult situation because if they did not comply with the king’s demand, he would have them killed. Daniel, however, prayed to God and received a vision that revealed the king’s dream.
In the dream, the king saw a giant statue divided into four parts, with the head made of gold, the chest made of silver, the lower part made of bronze, and the feet made of iron mixed with clay. Daniel explained that the gold represented the Babylonian kingdom, which was ruling at that time, and that inferior kingdoms would follow, including the Persian, Greek, and Roman empires.
Then, in the vision, a stone from heaven struck the statue and destroyed it, becoming a mountain.
Daniel 2: 44 (ESV) – And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever
This kingdom is the one that Jesus preached, the kingdom of God. The stone that destroyed the statue represents Jesus, who was not created by human hands but is divine. Just as the stone crushed the statue, Jesus will defeat all earthly kingdoms and establish the everlasting kingdom of God. Daniel’s interpretation of the dream is certain, and it points to the coming of Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom.
When Jesus asked his disciples what people were saying about him, Peter’s response was that Jesus was the son of God. This was a critical moment, as Jesus acknowledged that Peter’s understanding did not come from his own intellect or reasoning but from a divine revelation given to him by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus then said, “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” The “rock” referred to here is the revelation that Jesus is the Son of God. This confession forms the foundation of the church, which is built upon the understanding that Jesus is the Messiah, the one who has come to establish the kingdom of God on earth.
The church that Jesus promised to build is not a physical building or an institution but a community of believers who follow and obey his teachings. This community is built upon the foundation of the revelation that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. It is this confession that distinguishes Christians from other religions and forms the basis of their faith.
The final part of this passage, “and no gates of Haiti shall prevail against it,” indicates that the church is invincible and will withstand any opposition. The “gates of Hades” refers to the power of death and the forces of evil that seek to destroy God’s people. But because the church is built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and his revelation, it will stand firm and endure until the end of time.
Before Jesus ascended, he instructed his disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they received the promised Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit arrived, it came with a power that transformed these once-timid disciples into bold witnesses of the kingdom. This illustrates that the kingdom of God is not something that will only be established in the future, but is already present. As Romans 14: 17 says, the kingdom of God is not about material things, but it’s about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The kingdom of God is not located up in the sky or down on the earth, but rather it resides within the Holy Spirit. It’s like looking at a globe, where people from different parts of the world have different perceptions of “up.” Similarly, people have different views of where heaven is. But in Luke 17: 21, Jesus states that the kingdom of God is not a physical place, but rather it’s within us, in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ statement about being “born from above” doesn’t refer to a physical birthplace, but rather to a superior reality. This reality is the kingdom of God, which is superior to any worldly kingdom. And this kingdom isn’t established through prayer or good works, but rather through receiving the gospel and believing in Jesus. When one does this, they are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and the kingdom of God is established within them. The idea that God’s presence is within us is mind-boggling. The heavens themselves cannot contain God’s presence, yet He has chosen to reside within us. As individuals, we carry the reality of heaven within us, which is a kingdom that surpasses anything on earth.
The Kingdom of God must flow from within you. As Jesus said, “whoever drinks this living water, it shall become streams of living water.” Note that He said “streams,” plural, not just one. This means that everything you do, every word you speak, every action you take, can release the reality of the Kingdom that is within you. The Kingdom of God that is within you is dynamic, powerful, and seeking an outlet for expression.
Prayer is the discipline that helps you align your heart to the Kingdom’s reality that is already within you. It’s not a matter of trying to ignite something from outside and building it up to a crescendo of power. Instead, prayer is the discipline of self-emptying, which helps you calm the storm within and hear the voice of God. Only then can you respond sensitively to the reality that is within you.
The reality of the Kingdom within you is always present, but it’s easy to be distracted by external things and lose touch with it. Prayer helps you align your heart with that reality, and fellowship with other believers provides a way to express and share that reality with others.
Have you considered Matthew 6: 33, where God instructs us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Some may wonder why God didn’t simply say, “Seek me first and your life will be sorted.” However, seeking God without seeking His kingdom is incomplete. To truly know who God is, we must experience Him through His kingdom. The kingdom is the domain and reality of the king, and without it, we cannot fully experience Him.
Attempting to know God without His kingdom may result in a frightening experience, as we may perceive Him as distant or fearful. However, when we seek His kingdom, we understand that the king is for us, and fights for us. It is only through the lens of the kingdom that we can fully experience the goodness of God.
Without the kingdom, our subjective reality may cause us to feel as though God is against us, when in reality, He is not. If we desire a relationship with God, we must seek first His kingdom through the Holy Spirit.
Do you ever feel discouraged in your spiritual life, thinking that you haven’t prayed or read the Bible enough, and that your relationship with God is not where it should be? Let me tell you something: even if you pray and read the Bible for three hours a day with intentionality, you may still feel this way. Do you know why?
The devil wants to distract you from focusing on the Lord and what he has already done for you. I have gone through similar episodes of spiritual breakdowns, where I feel like I’m not doing enough or not focused enough. However, when I find myself in this situation, the Holy Spirit reminds me to change my focus and repent. When I shift my focus away from what I am or am not doing and put it on what Christ has done and is doing, I experience instant intimacy with God. You don’t need to strive in prayer for hours to be loved because the Father’s heart is always for you, and He is always with you.
God is always running towards you, just like the father in the story of the prodigal son. Despite the son’s shame and weakness, the father rushes towards him with open arms. In James, it says to draw near to God and he will draw near to you. And every step you take towards him, even in your mind and intentions, he rushes towards you with even more passion and intensity. Unlike us, God has no ego or pride, so even when we are at fault, he still comes rushing towards us with love.
If you prioritize the kingdom and seek it first, you will experience a firsthand reality of the king and his love. But without the kingdom, that experience will seem distant and unappealing. So remember to keep your focus on the kingdom of God and allow yourself to experience his love and grace firsthand.
Let me elaborate further. In the story of the lost son, the father welcomes back the younger son with open arms, showering him with love and blessings. He instructs the servants to bring new clothes and a ring, and prepares a feast to celebrate his return. Meanwhile, the elder son returns home and hears the celebration. However, his response is different. He becomes offended because he is not part of the celebration.
Similarly, if we are outside the kingdom, we can become offended by the testimonies of others in the church. But it’s important to be in the kingdom to truly experience the king. Otherwise, we can judge the king based on incomplete or inaccurate information. By being in the kingdom, we can have a firsthand experience of who the king is and how much he loves us.
Colossians 3: 1-2 (ESV) – If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
The Apostle Paul urges believers to fix their eyes on the kingdom, which is a spiritual reality that exists beyond this physical world. This kingdom is not just a place, but it’s the reign of God in the hearts of believers. Therefore, to see the king through the kingdom means to recognize Jesus Christ as the king who reigns in our hearts and to view everything through the lens of his kingdom.
Furthermore, Paul reminds the Colossians that they have been raised with Christ through faith, and as such, they should seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. This means that as believers, our focus should be on heavenly things and not on the temporary things of this earth. Seeking the things that are above means to pursue righteousness, peace, and joy, which are the hallmarks of God’s kingdom.
When we set our minds on the things of God’s kingdom, everything we need will be added unto us. The goodness and mercy of God will follow us, and we will lack nothing. However, if we focus solely on the things we want or need, we risk becoming like a cat chasing its own tail, going round and round without ever finding satisfaction or peace. We should trust that God will provide for our needs as we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
This is a call to live with an eternal perspective, to recognize Christ as our king, and to seek the things of his kingdom. By doing so, we will experience the peace and joy that comes from a life lived in communion with God, and we will find that all that we need will be added unto us.
A few days ago, a friend here reached out to me in need of immediate guidance. He explained that he was facing a dilemma with two doors of opportunity open to him and was unsure of which path to take. As I listened to him, I couldn’t help but think what an amazing problem to have – the kind of problem we wish to face every day. The next day, I shared this story with someone else to encourage them and used it as a testimony to inspire others. In fact, I was able to encourage three people with just that one testimony. This experience showed me that testimony is a spirit of prophecy. When one person experiences a breakthrough in their life, it is an opportunity for everyone to participate in that breakthrough. We do this by celebrating and sharing our testimonies with each other – this is one of the practical applications of fellowship.
Fellowship is more than just attending church on Sundays. While that is a significant part of it, true fellowship also involves opening our hearts to one another, sharing our joys, struggles, and what the Lord is doing in our lives. It’s important to find friends and people to fellowship with in the local church. The local church is a powerful institution that God created for our benefit. When we fellowship, we partner with the prophetic work that is done in the local church and get to participate in every breakthrough that happens. These breakthroughs are not limited to just one individual but are accessible to everyone in the church community.
Acts 2: 42 (ESV) – And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
The people referred to in this verse were those who had just been baptized and added to the church. They devoted themselves completely to four things: the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.
Devotion is an intentional focus that requires surrendering completely. When we come to church and listen to the Word, we are devoted to the apostles’ teaching. The second aspect of devotion is fellowship. Fellowship can include the breaking of bread, which may refer to Communion, but it also extends to sharing meals with one another. Food has the power to connect hearts and open up our willingness to share our lives with one another.
Therefore, I encourage you to intentionally fellowship with people, not just to be a channel of blessing, but so that God can bless you and you can participate in His prophetic work in the church. By doing so, you will open doors to blessings and opportunities that you never thought possible. I can attest to this truth in my own life. Every blessing and revelation of Christ that I have received has been through friendship and fellowship. Fellowship is powerful, and I urge you to take advantage of its benefits.
That’s why I believe church is not limited to just Sundays. Even though we live in busy metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai, taking time for church is worth it if you’re intentional about it. It will bless you so much. So, let’s focus on three things: the word (which is the apostles’ teaching), fellowship, and prayer.
Prayer builds your personal relationship with God, the word grounds you in your faith, and fellowship helps you grow in practical aspects of life. You need all three of these to be healthy in your faith. If you focus too much on just one aspect, it can make you spiritually unhealthy. Just like a disease is caused by an imbalance in the body, imbalance in your spiritual life can cause problems. Therefore, it’s important to have a balance in the word, fellowship, and prayer.
It’s important to avoid extremes in our spiritual life. For instance, if we focus only on the word and ignore fellowship and prayer, we can become arrogant and self-righteous, picking fights over every little disagreement. Similarly, an extreme focus on prayer without grounding ourselves in the word and fellowship can lead to addiction and depression, as we seek to constantly experience God’s presence without understanding His truth or connecting with others. And if we only focus on fellowship without prayer or the word, we may find ourselves gossiping or focused on earthly things rather than growing in our faith. Instead, we need a balanced approach, where we intentionally prioritize the word, fellowship, and prayer. This balance brings unity to the church, challenges us to grow and mature, and helps us live a healthy and fruitful spiritual life. By engaging with imperfect people in fellowship, we are stretched and challenged, and we need the grounding of the word and prayer to bring balance and growth to our relationships and our walk with God.
I want to share with you three important things that can help you prioritize your spiritual life: prioritize God’s word, fellowship, and prayer. Each of these dimensions needs to be activated intentionally, and as you grow in these areas, you will experience the Zoey life of God, which is the abundant and uncontainable life that includes healing and everything else you can think of. This life spills into every other aspect of your life, transforming it from the inside out.
An example of the power of intentionality can be seen in the life of David. He had an army of giant killers, but failed to protect his own family, which left him vulnerable to attack from the enemy. It’s important to be intentional about protecting all aspects of our lives, including our families. We need to be intentional about growing in God’s word, fellowship, and prayer.
When we prioritize these three things, we grow in the full knowledge of God’s word, and this knowledge spills over into every other aspect of our lives. Our intentions can make a huge difference in our relationships with others and with God. It’s important to be intentional in every aspect of our spiritual lives, just as we are intentional in our personal relationships.
By being intentional about fellowship, we don’t just mean attending church on Sundays or night prayers, but intentionally reaching out to others and building godly relationships. So, let’s prioritize God’s word, fellowship, and prayer in our lives and watch as God’s life spills over into every aspect of our being