We’ll pick this conversation up again throughout the year. It had quite an impact on many of us so let’s capture where we got up to and invite the Holy Spirit to deepen its work in us.
We described the kingdom really simply as God’s way of life. Jesus told us he came so that we could "have life – and have it to the fullest” (John 10:10) and is himself described as “the author of life” (Acts 3:15).
So when he tells us his kingdom has come among us, he is telling us his life – his way of life and the quality of life he inhabits – has come among us and is available to us.
The kingdom is typically described as the rule and reign of God – but that misses the point. It focuses on who is in charge and, although significant, the essence of God’s kingdom is so much more than who the boss is. The essence of God’s kingdom is love and life.
So as you think about where you currently live, work, and play – do you see these things in the midst? If so, the kingdom is being formed there. If not, may it come!
Finally, before we take a closer look at each area, let’s revisit Genesis 3 briefly and see how the curse that was released from Eden’s Pandora’s Box directly affects where we live, work, and play (…excuse the extreme mixing of metaphors and mythologies there).
In Genesis 3, as Adam, Eve and the Serpent are each confronted with the full impact of what they have done, God describes the way the selfishness and pride they have unleashed in what was an innocent world will now infect everything they know. Here’s the description:
To the Serpent: “I will put enmity (war) between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” (Gen 3:15)
To Eve: “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” (Gen 3:16)
To Adam: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:17-20)
And for all of us, the curse to the serpent means we are now born into an always present war with the kingdom of darkness – bringing resistance, pain, danger, and death to the world that was designed as a place where we could freely play. (Check out Cat Steven’s Where Do The Children Play for a great way of picking up this lament).
Through this lens, we can see that the curse of sin and selfishness hits right at the heart of our lives – bringing death, pain and disruption right where we live, work and play.
The Kingdom of God then must have the opposite effect. So what does it look like for us to see it turning back the effects of the curse as the fruits of the Spirit begin emerging where we live, work, and play.
We’ll pick that up in part two as we look at work.