‘From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4:17 (NIV).
The kingdom of Heaven was close enough to touch, so Jesus proclaimed that people everywhere should turn away from their sins and come back to God. The kingdom of Heaven was close to the listener’s hearts and it is just as close to ours today.
And just as in the days when Jesus was on earth, people still ask ‘How do I qualify to enter God’s kingdom?’
The values of a worldly kingdom are built upon selfishness, pride and independence, power and authority, personal gain and happiness, revenge and anger. Christ calls people to repent and turn from the worldly kingdom ways and pursue a kingdom life that is the antithesis of all that they have lived for in the past.
Jesus said that the kingdom of Heaven is organized differently to the worldly kingdom. In God’s kingdom, wealth and power and authority are unimportant. Kingdom people seek a different set of values and consequently, they have different attitudes.
Kingdom ways reflect the life and behavior of the kingdom’s King, Jesus. And when Jesus preached His sermon on a mountainside in Matthew 5, He gave people a clear picture of what living in His kingdom would look like.
Kingdom people are poor in spirit, they are not proud and do not seek personal independence. Rather they pursue humility and depend not upon themselves, but Christ. Kingdom people do not pursue happiness at any cost, but in suffering and mourning and hardship, rely upon the comfort and strength of Christ.
They pursue meekness, not power or authority over others. They pursue what is right before God. They walk with integrity and honesty rather than pursuing personal gain first. Kingdom people pursue peace for the world before peace for themselves. And kingdom people stand on their convictions even if it means persecution and personal discomfort.
‘Dear Lord, help me to live in a way that honors you and shows others I am part of another kingdom. You see my struggles. I ask for your wisdom, strength and resolve to let go of what is not part of the Heavenly kingdom. Thank you.’
In Jesus’ Mighty Name,
These are the traits Jesus is looking for in His followers. God blesses those who live His kingdom values. If our goal is to be kingdom people, then applying these teachings will challenge the way we live each day.
How well are we living in this Heavenly kingdom that dwells in our hearts? Where are we struggling just now? What part of the worldly Kingdom still has a hold on us? Let’s bring these concerns honestly to God in prayer.
Be Greatly Blessed!