When you think of God’s Kingdom, you may think of God’s final reign in heaven with His people. Or you may think of Christ’s reign on earth for a 1000 years during the millennium.
But God’s Kingdom is actually here and now, pervasive, taking control of everything in it’s path.
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been FORCEFULLY advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
But if that’s so, where is it? The Kingdom does not appear to be forcefully advancing. The world is a mess.
Jesus tells us where it is.
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."
Jesus says that His Kingdom is within you.
But why would it be there? Does it ever become external?
God’s Kingdom Begins Internal and Becomes External
A kingdom always reflects the nature of it’s king.
In that regard, you will notice that Jesus comes TWICE. He came the first time as a SUFFERING SERVANT. He will come the second time as a REIGNING KING. The first is an internal experience, the second is an external one.
Right now, His focus is on the INTERNAL aspects of man. He came to deal with man’s inward nature (see my article, How To Deal With Sin).
The Suffering Servant first establishes His Kingdom from the INSIDE OUT. God deals with man internally before He advances His Kingdom externally.
But does just “getting saved” advance God’s Kingdom?
The answer to that is the difference between trust and faith.
The Difference Between Trust and Faith
Some people will think that advancing God’s Kingdom means that they must DO something to advance it. They’ll create a ministry and start TRUMPETING the name of Jesus. They externalize their experience and teach people to live in FAITH.
Have “faith” that God will heal you.
Have “faith” that God wants you to have money.
Have “faith” for miracles.
But this is not the internal expression of God’s Kingdom that He wants to advance in you.
God wants you to TRUST Him. If you want to advance God’s Kingdom on earth you have to be able to trust Him.
Why? Because trust is the only thing that “gets you through”, whatever hardship you are in. Through TRUST God is able to advance His inner qualities needed to make a difference.
James talks about the inner qualities developed though trust and perseverance.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith (through trust) develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1: 2-4
You see, the difference between trust and TRUE FAITH is that faith has eyes and trust doesn’t. Trust is really the precursor to faith. Trust inspires true faith.
Once you give your heart to God by trusting Him and EXPERIENCE for yourself that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), God is able to give you the eyes to see things you wouldn’t ordinarily see. But it all begins with trust.
When it comes to a Kingdom that is “forcefully advancing”, what could be more powerful than a person who through trust, has developed INNER qualities that make a difference to the people around them.
For example, what could change the world more than an inconvenienced driver who shows self control vs. road rage and anger? What could change the world more than a person who’s patient and kind rather than irritable and touchy?
Sure the person of “faith” can tell you about their great ministry, but the person who has learned to trust God, walks in the POWER of His presence. These people are the people who CHANGE the world. These are the people who ADVANCE God’s Kingdom.
So take the time to develop trust. Don’t worry about some big fancy external ministry. Make sure your motives are pure in whatever you do. Let God get the glory.
How is trust developed? It can only be developed through meditation and life’s experiences (see my article What Does It Mean To Trust God?). I would also encourage you to get a copy of Truth Based Thinking and read the Apply Truth chapter.
Once we learn to trust God, God begins to externalize to the world what He has been doing internally through us all along. It becomes a natural expression rather than a forced ministry. God will give us direction and give us “eyes” to see what He wants us to do.
If you are struggling with your PURPOSE in life, also read my article How To Find Your Specific Purpose In Life. God foresaw you before the beginning of time and put IN YOU what He wants you to do. You can discover what that purpose is, but every purpose begins with TRUST.
May God give you His grace to advance His internal Kingdom in you.