Kingdom Does Not Arrive

Categories The Early Years

Alpha & Omega must be understood wholly, without separation. Yet between the two, we focus on God primarily as creator, not as finisher. I believe that this is why we put so much emphasis in our desires to plateau. While we ponder the mysteries of the beginning of earth – we do not spend an incredible amount of energy on it because we know that God Himself is the beginning; and, we know to a certain extent that we will never fully understand how earth, time, or God began. On the contrary, because of our lack of attention to God as Omega – we exercise an excess of energy on goals and success. The result is that we cap out with age.

While Paul encourages us to learn the secret of being content (Philippians 4:11), he is referring primarily to situational contentedness (4:12), upon which we gain strength from Christ to overcome those situations (4:13). Look at how much emphasis is placed on faith as a continual work in Philippians:

  • 1:6 He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
  • 1:9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 
  • 2:12-13 Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
  • 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Paul could not have put greater stress on how imperative it is to carry a mindset of ongoing continuation of faith. I am grieved over how stale and passive faith has become. Our great commission is to “make disciples as we go” (Mathew 28:19), yet few of us even know how to do that; those of us who do typically act on a schedule basis rather than the principle of daily living. We also have misunderstood the context of Joel 2:28 (old men will dream dream’s). Somehow, we have derived that older generations are not expected to have dreams, fervor, or spiritual growth. We’ve applied justification, through occupation of time through work, family and education, that our elderly and middle-aged population are expected to cap out, coast and receive admission through the gates of life. We are raising younger generations with this principle so effectively, that it has crept into the mindsets of young adults – whom we have previously expected to have dreams and passion. Now, it has fallen largely to youth to carry the burden of passion and vision. Jesus is very adamant of warning against this tendency (Mathew 7:13-14 & 21),

 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

It is not God’s intention for us to become spiritually mature. There is no such thing. There is no arrival in Kingdom aside from God. He is the Omega. We experience growth as a process – not as a means to an end. When we are with Him, we grow in Him and through Him (Mathew 7:17-19),

So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

When we are not growing, we are not with Him nor are we doing His will. If this does not scare you just a little bit, then it may well be crucial that you reevaluate your concept of what it means to be in the Kingdom. The Kingdom is here and now and it requires an active pursuit of faith.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Colossians 1:9-13).

Living a life worthy of the Lord is the primary characteristic of knowing His will. Bearing fruit, growing in the knowledge of God and being strengthened with all power are the three things that are associated with living a life worthy of the Lord. The one thing that these three attributes share in common is a continual growth that is outwardly evident. If we lack this, then we aren’t living in God’s will, according to Scripture. Hebrews 5:11-14 explains the visible effects of a life without growth,

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

On the contrary, Ephesians 4:14-16 details the observable result of growth,

We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

There is not any gray area here. If we are in accordance with God’s will, then we are teaching and growing – our growth stimulates growth in others which contributes to the growth of the entire Kingdom (which is here and now) – all until the day that Jesus returns…until we are made righteous in Him (Ephesians 4:12-13),

[Our] responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

What is the full and complete standard of Christ? Righteousness. When is this received? When we are made like Christ, Philippians 4:20-21,

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

In other words, we will continue growing the body of Christ by growing ourselves in spiritual maturity, which is visible by the fruits of our teaching, our love and our understanding of the Word, until the day Christ returns to complete his work in us, uniting heaven and earth for the millennial reign of the Kingdom. And it doesn’t end there. God is the Omega. We never plateau. If you are looking for a climax, some pivotal point in your spiritual life, or a place where you can pull of the pedal and coast for a while – then you have sincerely misunderstood the cost of following Jesus (Luke 9:57-62) and what he meant when he said that we cannot be his disciples unless we pick up our cross and follow him (Luke 14:27). Further, this should not be a discouragement, but an encouragement to find new life as we age. God intends for us to grow in Him our entire lives. This means we have something to look forward to every day. At any moment, the creator of the universe can reveal a new mystery to us. How fortunate we are, despite our utter sinfulness, to experience relationship with the Alpha and Omega.

Why would we ever want to arrive? I hope and pray that you will continue to grow in your understanding of God. That you will continue to experience His glory in more frequent and intimate levels. That you will grow content with situational needs and thirsty for growth every single day. If we are not experiencing growth, are we truly experiencing God, or are we restraining Him to what we are familiar and comfortable with? Examine your personal growth and experience. There is always more. God is waiting.

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