Heaven is Not Synonymous with The Kingdom of God
The kingdom of God isn’t heaven. Let that sink in for a minute. We blend these two concepts all the time but they really aren’t interchangeable and defining the difference changes the way we live day-to-day. If the two were interchangeable, everything Jesus came to do on earth, including his death on the cross, would be about what happens after we die. That’s a hard faith to stick with. If following Jesus is about attaining eternal life, we’ll get hung up along the way. We just aren’t long-term minded enough to withstand the junk that gets thrown in our path. Most of us at some point have given up a major long-term goal for something that we wanted immediately.
Thank Goodness There’s a Difference
So let’s clarify. Heaven is the magnificent place we go when we die. It will be amazing in every way. The kingdom of God however, is anywhere that the rule, reign, and authority of God are being worked out. Heaven is where God’s rule, reign, and authority are perfectly manifest— which is impossible here on earth (at least until Jesus returns). The Kingdom of God is HERE and NOW, and we have a chance to be part of it. That’s why Jesus came, so God could dwell within us, have ongoing relationship with us, and so we could be included in what he is doing. Actively doing. Today.
Do you know what this means? What we do day in and day out matters. It’s part of something bigger—bigger than your career, your hobbies, even your family. Our entire life is a place for God’s rule, reign, and authority to be manifest. God is here, in the details of our everyday. Every time the insurance guy underwrites a policy or the nurse changes an IV, or a mom labors over homework with her kids—kingdom of God. Every time the executive meets with his peers, or the college student works towards her dreams, or the realtor shows a home—kingdom of God. When we live in the understanding that we have a role in God’s ongoing plans, all the crap that gets in our way no longer has the power to throw us off course. God walks us around it, through it, over it, under it. However you say it, he gets us through.
What We Do Today Matters
My prayer for you today is that God will consume your thoughts and guide your decisions. Submit your choices, your many roles in life, and your people to God; ask for his rule, reign, and authority to be present and actively working in every area of your life. And then, experience the difference. I’m talking about the difference that takes place in your life when God is no longer your long-term exit plan but the one authoring your story every single day.