Monday, September 15, 2014

The Kingdom of God and a More Integrated Life

How hectic is your life now that the new school year and fall sports have begun?

Many of us spend our days feeling pulled in a hundred different directions.


We’re pursuing the “good life.”

We want our kids to get the best grades possible in school. Why? In order to get into a good college. We often push their involvement in sports and the arts in order to bolster their portfolio for college admissions.

Why do we want our kids to get into a good college? So they can make as much money as they can.

Why? So they can have nice things, provide for their families, buy the things they want, and travel as they desire.

Why? Well, that’s just what we do. This is what it means to have a good life.

As we’re pursuing this good life we can hardly manage our family schedule. We have to be three places at one time.

We continue to accumulate stuff. Then we have to have more space for our stuff. And we have to keep up with the latest versions of our stuff. Our kids need to have the best and latest versions of our stuff.

We’re busy, stressed out, and overwhelmed by life.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. We can begin to view life through “kingdom lenses.”

Consider the words of Jesus according to Luke 12:22-32.
 22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 

We juggle a hundred different tasks as we seek after the things of the good life. But in the kingdom of God, we only have two concerns:

First, seeking after the kingdom of God and, in distant second, “all these things.”

We end up living like the world when we don’t consider the present realities of the kingdom of God. Jesus said all the nations of the world seek after these things. When we fail to look at life through the lens of the kingdom, we seek after these things too.

While the world seeks after the things that are causing us to be anxious and overloaded, we are supposed to seek the kingdom. And as we’re seeking the kingdom of God, the Father knows we need some of those things too.

Seeking these things = disconnected, self-centered, anxiety.

Seeking the kingdom = integrated, God-centered, kingdom-centered, contentment.

There is a Hebrew word in Scripture, tom (sounds like “tome”). This word is often translated as “blameless” which causes us to think of behaving in a good, moral manner. Tom has a much deeper meaning, however.

Tom is completeness, fullness, wholeness. A life characterized by tom is an integrated life. God intended for us to live this kind of integrated, whole life which is possible in the kingdom of God.

Why are we living such fragmented, disconnected lives? We’re seeking after “these things” rather than the kingdom of God. We’re not viewing life through the lens of the kingdom.

We have to retrain ourselves to simplify the components of our lives into the two categories of 1) the kingdom and 2) these things.

As our understanding of and appreciation for the kingdom of God deepens, we’ll become amazed by the fact that it is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. Forget about all these other things that command our attention for a moment…God is giving us the kingdom!

God knows we need the necessities of life and they’ll be added to us as we seek his kingdom. Seeking the kingdom is the good life.

[Originally posted at Kingdom Subjects]

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