Kingdom living is at the core of Jesus teaching. This principle has taken me almost a lifetime to realize and understand. Jesus is not about my “being good” so I can get into Heaven and avoid Hell. Jesus is not about a desert piety that will make me more spiritual. Jesus is about living a “Kingdom life” here and now to the honor and glory of God.
Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom of God in His teaching than about any other topic. Unfortunately the phrase “Kingdom of God” has little resonance in today’s vocabulary or life direction. I must constantly remind myself about what this kind of direction might mean for my own life.
One of the most difficult—and yet most important—aspects of Kingdom living has to do with the simplification of life. We must learn to let go of some of the attachments to life. Richard Rohr suggests that to pray and really mean “thy Kingdom come,” we must be able to say “my kingdoms go.” He says that most Christians split our loyalties between God and Caesar!
I suspect Rohr is exactly right. Furthermore, letting earth’s “kingdoms” go is not easy. Especially in our highly charged, ever frenzied, get ahead, consumer driven world. And if we do let go…how do we manage to pay off consumer debts, student loans, and incurred mortgages that come due regularly? How do we manage utility bills, car payments, and dress appropriately for church? How do we compete (on behalf of our own children) with the parent who offers his/her child a birthday party with 25 kids at Chuck E Cheese?
How do we assist others to move in this direction without sounding overly pious and totally out of touch? How do we live a “kingdom life” when the phrase “Make America great again” seems to really mean, “Make every American rich?”
How do would-be followers of the Master remain creatively faithful to Kingdom living?
Do we realize that living simply is the way most people have lived since the beginning of humanity? We who live in the most prosperous and affluent time in human history have all kinds of problems recognizing this.
The only answer may be to try to model some smaller examples: A simpler observance of Christmas in 2016? A process that is disciplined and intentional! A practiced effort to consume less? Giving something away we “”own” at least once each week. Knowing the difference between what I want and what I need? A determination to spend some small but significant blocks of time in works of mercy?
Think about it. Pray about it. Look to Jesus for an example and inspiration. Re-read the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). Try it, even with some “fear and trembling.” Teach it. Preach it. Model even small bits of this. Suggest it along the way. It may lead to a new freedom to truly live! This is exactly the case that Jesus makes! And part of what he meant when he taught us to pray,”Thy Kingdom come.”