Which Kingdom Are You Advancing?
Conservative religious people involved in kingdom-of-the-world thinking often believe that their enemies are the liberals, the gay activists, the ACLU, the pro-choice advocates, the evolutionists, and so on. On the opposite side, liberal religious people often thing that their enemies are the fundamentalists, the gay bashers, the Christian Coalition, the antiabortionists, and so on. Demonizing one’s enemies is part of the tit-for-tat game of Babylon, for only by doing so can we justify our animosity, if not violence, toward them. What we have here are two different religious versions of the kingdom of the world going at each other. If we were thinking along the lines of the kingdom of God, however, we would realize that none of the people mentioned in the above lists are people whom kingdom-of-God citizens are called to fight for.
Our battle is “not against flesh and blood”, whether they are right wing or left wing, gay or straight, pro-choice or pro-life, liberal or conservative, democratic or communist, American or Iraqi. Our battle is against the “cosmic powers” that hold these people, and all people, in bondage. Whatever our opinions about how the kingdom of the world should run, whatever political or ethical views we may happen to embrace, our one task of kingdom-of-God disciples is to fight for people, and the way we do it is by doing exactly what Jesus did. He defeated the cosmic powers of darkness by living a countercultural life characterized by outrageous love and by laying down his life for his enemies. So too, we contribute to the demise of the “power over” principalities that hold people in bondage when we refrain from judgment of others and rather extend grace to them, when we let go of anger toward others and instead “come under” them in loving service.
A person may win by kingdom-of-the-world standards but lose by the standards that eternally count-the standards of the kingdom of God. We can posses all the right kingdom-of-the-world opinions on the planet and stand for all the right kingdom-of-the-world causes, but if we don’t look like Jesus Christ carrying his cross to Golgotha-sacrificing our time, energy, and resources for others-our rightness is merely religious noise. Jesus taught that there will be many who seem to believe the right things and do religious deeds in his name whom He will renounce, for they didn’t love him by loving the homeless, the hungry, the poor, and the prisoner (Matt. 7:21-23; 25:41-46; cf. Luck 6:46-49). However right we may be, without love we are simply displaying a religious version of the world, not the Kingdom of God. – Author Anonymous (for now).
I am going to let the author of the above quote from a book I am reading remain anonymous for now. If you know the answer, feel free to guess. I may give you a prize, or a copy of the book if you want it. The author up to this point has decribed what he sees as the differences between the Kingdom of God, which Jesus initiated at his first coming, and the kingdom of the world, which is ruled primarily by the forces of evil and is characterized by the exact opposite traits as God’s kingdom. It has been an interesting read and I am looking forward to finishing.
More to come.