Lessons Learned: the kingdom of God is a kingdom of hearts.

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There are not many things in God’s word that take me by surprise much anymore. You’re listening to a AWANA graduate & a girl who rarely missed a Sunday growing up. I have had my fair share of bible studies & sermons & I consider myself to know quite a bit about the bible.

That’s why when the word of God jumps off of the page & places my thought life on hold for a week or more, I get really excited. There are simply times where God’s words were written just for us, right now, in this exact point in our lives. & that’s just cool.

In the first part of ACTS, we see themes like unity, prayer, community, & servanthood. We see a people, so in awe of the Man who came to die for them that they just pray. For 10 days straight they pray, waiting for His promise of the Holy Spirit, whom they really had no idea about at the time. We see them wait patiently & serve one another. We see that they don’t act & start a bible study, or put together a ministry, or have an elder meeting, until the Spirit arrives. They just wait & pray. We see a patient church who finally got that Jesus wasn’t coming to start a war, but to defeat a lifelong enemy.

I wonder what we see today in our church. We see people rushing, checking off marks, accomplishing tasks, & leaving no room for the Spirit’s power to work.

While He was on earth, in Mark 9:1, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” I have always been confused by this verse, thinking that Peter & John would live forever until Christ returns, but I have misunderstood it. Maybe you get it & you’re thinking I should know this, but it was news to me.

The kingdom of God “is not about swords, guns, or huge armies to fight in epic battles. It prevails simply wherever Jesus is ruling & reigning in the hearts of His people. That is true power. That is the kingdom of God.” -ACTS byMark Driscoll

WOAH. That makes so much of the gospels make perfect sense to me! When Jesus says that His kingdom is eternal & “not of this world” {John 18} He means His reign has started now, in the hearts of His people.

Breathe in these verses, knowing that God’s kingdom is at work within us:

“Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.” Matthew 21:43

“and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15

“He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:33

Does that not effect your whole purpose, this very day?

If we are to pursue His Kingdom, His Spirit living in the hearts of His people, will we not receive joy, peace, & purpose in simply doing so? What can bring more joy than bringing joy & peace to someone else?

If we are rich & filled by earthly things, how hard would it be for us to truly enter into that dependence on the Spirit’s power? What if filling you up that takes the place of an eternal purpose?

If God truly does live in us, via the Holy Spirit, would we truly live as ineffectively as we allow ourselves to live today? Have you ever felt the renewing of the Spirit when you confessed & turned from a sin to the face of the God who died for you? Do you know that eternal, ravenous joy?

Do you know Christ? Do you need His power? All you have to do is ask. “Christian” or not, all you have to do is believe that Jesus died to take away your sins & clear the way for His Spirit to work, & then ask for His power to indwell you. Do that & just watch your life & your world change right before your eyes.

When it comes down to it, God’s kingdom is not a kingdom with castles & jewels (though our place in Heaven will be no doubt filled with them) but rather it is a Kingdom of hearts, all striving towards the finish line, in unity & grace, each one adorned with the “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Do you know how effective even a little bit of Spirit/kingdom work can be in this frivolous, draining world?

As effective as a bit of yeast in a lot of fluffy flour.

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