Jun 5, 2009

when heaven gets in the way of the kingdom

Have you ever noticed how easy it is for Christians to turn their faith into a destination mentality?

"Just pray this prayer and you're set, dude."

It's like we turn into the guys who work the carnival games and try to woo people in by pitching them a prize. They ask a surprise question like, "What do I win if I give you my money?" and we respond accordingly.

"Heaven, baby, heaven."

And then they wonder, "What else do I get to take part in? Like maybe before then?"

And we're stumped.

"Uh, anything in this general area right in here. Anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses. Anything between the ashtrays and the thimble. Anything in this three inches right in here in this area. That includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers."

While heaven is very real, off-the-charts-awesome, and something I look forward to with great anticipation, I believe we present an incomplete understanding of our faith and the Kingdom of God when we merely promote the streets of gold and a big, big house with lots and lots of room.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called the Screwtape Letters in which one demon talks with another about tricking a human:

"Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing."

I'd argue that the same could be true when we make "heaven" an end.

Did you know that Christianity involves a reconnection with your Creator that can bless your socks off today?

And that creates a reintegration back to who you really are - beneath the surface of whatever mask you've been wearing?

And all the old ways you thought about life - even the deep, spiritual, theological ones - get an extreme makeover for the better?

Something you get to take part in today - TODAY - is enjoying and revealing the Kingdom of God.

Someone asked me recently what the meaning of life was. My response was that it is God giving all of Himself for all of you, so that you can give all of you for all of Him... and enjoy everything that means both ways.

That starts... right... now.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)

1 comment:

Kansas Bob said...

Nice words Tony! Good to be reminded that the kingdom is more about today and not so much about tomorrow.