Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is surging in multiple locations in China, for which many people are under some form of lockdown. Under the raging epidemic, a great number of people are going through a very difficult situation. People all over the world are pondering a common question: will the world be better? Nevertheless, the people of God should cry out, "God, may your kingdom come."
A few days ago, Pastor F (pseudonym), based in East China, shared about the kingdom of God to inspire people who had been suffering from the epidemic and various other tribulations.
Pastor F started, "In such complex emotions and inexplicable tensions that we can't describe in words, all kinds of human wisdom, abilities, and experiences... can't give a definite answer before such a huge uncertainty at the moment. Faced with the current situation, we will know deeply that there is nothing we can do. As the people of God, how should we view our relationship with the times we live in? When we feel our own smallness, thinking that we can’t do anything or change anything, God says No. He tells us - you were born for this age."
Living in such a magnificent era, secular people in the world would think about one question: "will the world still be all right?" But the people of God have a different cry, which is "thy kingdom come."
She continued, "Everyone is feeling powerless and experiencing all kinds of disappointment, but our call is different from this world, which is 'God, may your kingdom come'. Yet, when will His kingdom come? And how? In other words, as God’s people, what can we do? This is what we need to seek together.”
"The kingdom of God is constantly mentioned throughout the Bible, in which we see the original form of the kingdom of God in the Garden of Eden, also the failure of Adam, the covenant between God and Abraham that laid the groundwork for the restoration of the divine kingdom. We see that Israel headed by David became the first prototype of His kingdom. We also see the glorious divine kingdom in Daniel's visions... But who has preached about the kingdom of God the most? It was Jesus himself. During the three years that Jesus lived on earth, his main message was never about the church or Christianity but was mainly about the kingdom of God. It’s said that He mentioned the kingdom of God over 120 times. In fact, the birth of Jesus was the beginning of the restoration of the kingdom of God on earth.”
The pastor claimed that the purpose of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection is to restore the divine kingdom on this earth. As Jesus told us that the kingdom of God is within you, the message about the kingdom of God would reach us from our eyes and ears into our minds, be deeply recognized by us, then enter our hearts, initiate the power to transform, change our lives, and finally bring out the power to transform the world.
Regarding how the kingdom of God in our hearts could be built, Pastor F explained it from the following three aspects.
First, the kingdom of God within us is a matter of righteousness. In fact, a large part of the hardship and disappointment we experience in this generation is because we have seen much injustice, but we are unable to change it. While the kingdom of God is precisely about righteousness which can only come from and relate to Jesus Christ, so we have no righteousness outside of it. Our righteousness only arises from faith in God. So, if we think we can build up His kingdom within us by doing better and becoming righteous ourselves, that is totally wrong.
As Edward Mote said in the book Solid Rock: "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand."
Second, the kingdom of God within us is about peace. When we search the Bible, we will see that God's blessings are often associated with peace. Nowadays, all the enemies do on earth is steal our inner peace.
Third, the kingdom of God within us is also about joy in the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was born, whether John the Baptist, the angels, or the three magi from the East, they all welcomed the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the restoration of the kingdom of God with great pleasure and joy. Likewise, when the kingdom of God is taking shape in us, there will be great joy flowing in us. Such joy is not given to us by the outside world but is a quality of the divine kingdom itself, which is supernatural and does not depend on any external circumstances.
Pastor F concluded, "It's a bit difficult to talk about joy with you at a time like today. It's hard to say it, especially to those who are facing the epidemic and other difficult situations. But I still have to say that we must rejoice. We shall overcome all difficulties because of the joy that comes from the kingdom of God and takes root in us."
- Translated by Shuya Wang