I have talked a lot the last few days about the importance of recognizing the gospel lived out – the kingdom coming on Earth as in Heaven – right now. But what does it look like in practice?
I love this quote from a document produced by my church, Greenhouse:
“There are many religious buildings and Christian groups that sing songs, facilitate monologues, and call themselves “church” – but that does not make it so. [Yet] there are huts and caves and homes all over the world that look highly plain on the outside, but on the inside you find a worshipping community on mission. And that is Church.”
“A worshipping community on mission.” The concept here is that if you look at the early church, and any healthy, gospel-driven church since, you will find people first committed to God-seeking, and second committed to one another and their communities. This is “loving God, loving people” in practice.
So kingdom living looks like this:
- Individual and community lives which center around deep devotion and submission to God as expressed in a high value of daily, real, lengthy times spent with God – in prayer, worship, scripture, learning, reflecting, meditating. Are we actually spending more than 15 minutes with God every day? It should be measured in hours, not minutes.
- Community lives that are lived in real, actual relational proximity. We love each other, eat, play and pray together. Weep and laugh together. In short: we actually know one another and share one another’s burdens. Do you know your friend’s deepest pains, struggles and challenges? Are you holding one another up in those ways?
- Relationships with our broader community, no matter their faith or lack thereof, which express this same love, care and concern for their well-being, for justice, for the poor, for the orphan, for the widow, for creation and so much more. We are on mission to love the world, and we actually do stuff that makes a difference.
These are the hallmarks of kingdom living on Earth, now. Where we are deficient in these areas, there is grace, to be sure. But we should ask why, and seek God’s help to grow. Our desire should be for the fullness of kingdom life – not just because it’s what God requires – though he does. But because it is the way that will lead us to the fullest, truest, most meaningful life – for us and for those around us – and that is good news.
Grace and Peace,