One of the staple pass-times as a boy in the 70’s was playing “King of the Mountain!” In case you’re not in my age zip code, allow me to explain. All you needed was a mound of dirt and three or more boys to play. The object of the game was to battle with the other participants for the top of the mound. Once there, you were THE king of the mountain! You ruled the others for that moment.
I have such good memories playing King of the Mountain…well, except for the one time I broke my now brother-in-law’s leg playing the game, but that is another story. The point is, even at a young age we understood the concept of ruling a territory. We acted out a child-sized display of a phrase often heard in church meetings but rarely discussed elsewhere, “the Kingdom of God.”
It is obviously of utmost importance for the believer to understand the concept of the Kingdom of God. Okay, that grandiose statement deserves a little justification. How about this: in the Bible Jesus preaches more about the Kingdom of God than any other topic! Not bad huh? Here is one example from the book of Matthew, chapter 6:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Verses 31-33 NIV)
There you have it; the primary concern of followers of Jesus (non-pagans) is to seek His kingdom and His righteousness. But what exactly is “the Kingdom of God” and where do we start looking as we “seek?” Let’s reason this out by examining the term “Kingdom.” What comes to mind when “kingdom” is mentioned? Two things likely: Territory and a ruler, or in other words borders and a king, right?
If you have territory under the authority of a king, then viola–you have a kingdom!
Territory borders of the kingdom
Let’s look at the first thing you need for a kingdom, borders. What are the borders in the Kingdom of God? First, we need to realize that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and therefore has spiritual rather than physical borders. Jesus tells how to cross this spiritual border during a conversation He had with a Pharisee named Nicodemus who came to Jesus during the night with a question. By the way, not many people realize it but this was actually the first episode of “Nick at Night.” Okay, back to the Kingdom of God. Here’s what Jesus said to Nicodemus:
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:1-7)
Simply put, you cross the border and into the Kingdom of God when you are born again. At the moment you call on Jesus to save you, your spirit is born, which enables a relationship with a Spiritual God. Once you are “born of the Spirit,” you have entered into the spiritual territory known as the kingdom of God.
Ruler of the kingdom
The second thing you need for a kingdom is a king. Would you like to hazard a guess at who the king is in the kingdom of GOD? If you took a stab in the dark and guessed, “God” survey says…. you are correct! Remember, every kingdom has a ruler that distinguishes it from other territory and in the Kingdom of God, God rules.
Let me bring this all together and sum up the equation with one sentence.
Wherever God rules, there is the Kingdom of God.
Being a citizen of the kingdom
So the kingdom of God is anywhere God’s people are living in obedience to His Spirit. It is as simple as that. Now, are there people who have called on Jesus, been born again and are disobedient? I’ll answer that question with a question, are there American citizens who disobey American law (rule)? Absolutely. And just like lawless Americans lose some of their freedoms and rights, the sad truth is that disobedient Kingdom people miss out on blessings that belong to them as citizens in the Kingdom of God.
Being a member of the Kingdom of God is a wonderful life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is a life where everyone has an important role. If you have crossed the spiritual border, you have a role in God’s kingdom. And while I may not be able to tell you exactly what your particular role is, I can tell you what your role contributes to while you are on this earth. Citizens in the Kingdom of God all work to expand God’s Kingdom.
So now that you know what you’re looking for, and how to gain access, seek the Kingdom of God. It is very near!