The Kingdom Is Our Way Forward
by Curtis Zackery
While Jesus was on earth, there was one idea He wanted people to focus on and understand through His life and teaching; the kingdom of God. He intended for His followers to be rooted in and living from the reality of this message. Over and over in the Gospels, Jesus takes great care to point to and explain what the kingdom of God is like. He makes clear His view of the priority and importance of this message in Matthew 6:33 when He says to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” As we consider what it means to live in faith as followers of the way of Jesus in our current cultural moment, the message of the kingdom is all the more important.
We don’t need to be convinced that our world is a broken place. Politically, racially, economically and culturally, our world is out of rhythm. In Romans 8:22 it says, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” We are all longing for things to be the way things were at the beginning, before sin disrupted the rhythm of connection with God. But we receive a beautiful promise in the book of Revelation 21 when God, seated on the throne, says to John in a vision that He is making all things new again! This is the message of the kingdom! The most amazing thing about this is that God intends that we, His followers, join Him in the work of the renewal of all things. When instructing them how to pray, Jesus tells His followers to pray with the kingdom in mind:
“Our Father in heaven, hollowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)
In this verse, the first thing that Jesus teaches us to ask for is that earth would look like heaven now. When we pray for and look at our neighborhoods through these lenses, we remember that God desires to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1:20) Author NT Wright said, “We are called to be part of God’s new creation, called to be agents of that new creation here and now.” Timothy Keller says, “Christians are called to be an alternative city within every earthly city.” We, as the family of God, get to join Him in this beautiful work! We find rest in the assurance that God will give us what we need by His Spirit to engage our world in the way of the kingdom!
Let’s encourage one another to seek first the kingdom. Let’s make sure we are advancing His message, rather than our best thinking. Let’s believe that just as our lives have been redeemed and restored, so can happen in our cities. Let’s consider that God can make things new in situations that seem hopeless.
The future may feel uncertain, and the realities of our current cultural moment may feel overwhelming. We can take heart that Christ has overcome the world. We can rest in the certainty that there is a kingdom that is greater and more beautiful that what we can build in our own understanding. Let’s be people that pray the prayer, “In (my city) as it is in heaven.”
Curtis Zackery is perhaps best known for his deep empathy and contagious passion for the gospel. Whether teaching, speaking, or writing, Curtis provides a perspective on the gospel that is raw, accessible, and relevant. He is the author of Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath. More information can be found at https://www.findrest.org/.
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