Every time I say this phrase in my head I hear it in the way George Costanza from Seinfeld famously shouted, “Serenity Now!” Only, I am not shouting “serenity now,” but “kingdom now.”
Why am I shouting this?
Well, because it is what we are all shouting all the time. Now, we’re not actually shouting it directly. However, we are shouting thousands of different things that all say the same thing, “kingdom now.”
“Alright Nicholas,” you may be thinking, “You have introduced your cute, little catchphrase. Now explain yourself, or off with your head!”
Calm down first, then I’ll explain.
Okay, so, now to explain my little catchphrase. Why Kingdom now? Because we are obsessed with this life we are currently living. And, rightly so, as it takes faith to think that there is anything beyond it. We know we are alive now. It takes faith to believe that there is something beyond this.
Most Christians, at first, will say they believe that there is more to our existence than this life. We’ll talk about heaven of course, and rightly so as well. Oddly enough, pretty much every single culture almost ever has had an idea of an afterlife. This is a massive question for the belief that there is nothing more, for why would we believe such a thing. Some say it is genetic. Okay, why is it genetic? How and why could nothing become something, and then evolve into something that wanted more than that something?
Rocks do not, as far as I know, long for anything, much less to be something other than a rock. Although, rocks are rather laconic, so maybe I am just not listening hard enough. We humans, however, are burgeoning with desire. We don’t even know what to do with it all. So much so do we desire that this life quickly reaches its limits in meeting our desire. Even those who have everything that we all think would make us happy are left searching for more, often more so.
Thus, every man wrestles with the idea of the afterlife, with something more.
As Christians, we definitely believe this. At least we think we do. I say “think” because we don’t really act like it.
God, through the Bible, has time and again told us that this life is no longer our own. We are to take up our cross. We are to die to ourselves. Our lives are now God’s. We believe that we are sinners, saved by grace. God decided, out of love, to pay the price of our sin for us, as we are powerless to do so ourselves. In return, we are to obey Him, and it will not be easy. The Bible sucker punches only those who not read it. It is very open and honest about suffering and that we will have desires that we will not get to give into. God says He’ll change our hearts. Our desires will slowly meld into His. Our reward for doing so is the Kingdom of Heaven. A place of perfection. No sorrow. Eternal bliss.
As I said, we know this in part. Only, we are constantly battling the desire for that kingdom not to be in heaven, not wait, not to give up who we are. We want our kingdom now.
Every day I struggle with this. My life doesn’t look like I wanted it to. This is not a Christian problem for sure. Lots of people struggle with this. Only, as Christian, the chances are so very much higher. You see, this is because we often blatantly choose to go against tour desire now for what lies ahead. Our desire to build up our material wealth here is strong. Our desire to keep everyone alive is strong. Most give into it fully. All of us give into it somewhat. We are faced with a decision to live for God, and build toward heaven, or for now, and we win some and lose some.
Thankfully, they are not always at odds, just often.
God may not give you something you thought you’d have, perhaps a spouse, or children. Perhaps he gave you a spouse, only not the one you wanted. Maybe you want a big house, and God wants you to give up the high paying job to share the gospel. Perhaps not. But… perhaps.
Point is, we’re all screaming “kingdom now,” when the truth is the kingdom is later, like it or not. Your goods will not go with you when you die, and every single person you know and love will die. All of them. Don’t be fooled into trading the fleeting scraps of this life for an eternity of bliss. There your treasure will never end. You loved ones will never die. You have to get there first. And more importantly, in this life, God’s glory is to be shared. The gospel, that we were sinners, and yet were saved, must be told to everyone, and you are the on to do it, and so am I.
May we actually live like we believe what we say we believe. May we lay it down, even though it is hard, even though we struggle to want to build up this life now. May we not over do it and let go of this life as a whole either, swinging the other way in extremes. Amen.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.