Christ’s mission on earth depends upon the Kingdom of Heaven being expressed in our midst. As my pastor says, “It is what makes Jesus believable.” Yes, it is that important for each of us to know what it is, where it is, and what part we play in its fulfillment. But this is the fact; most of us don’t know what it is, don’t know how to find it, and have little idea what we are looking for. And to be as pointed as I can muster, if we can’t get along, we have little hope of ever experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven; that’s the gist of it—game over. We must grasp this understanding; if we can’t live in forgiveness and contend for reconciliation, not only will we be oblivious to the Kingdom of God, never able to recognize it, we will not enter it. These are somber considerations.

How does a little, staggering verse like the following float by us and nonchalantly end up banked away in our favorite portfolio of scripture memory or on a Christian bookmark? “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you” (Matthew 6:33). God, in His infinite wisdom and majesty, is putting light on the one, true path before us. Are we blind? It seems there should be more than just a smidgen of alarm that we come to grips with the Kingdom of Heaven. It must be the object of our travail, not social justice, not the church, nor Heaven itself.

We must seek His righteousness. That’s a big, HIS righteousness. I am not the quickest to the draw, the guy with the highest IQ, or the Ph.D. in Theology, but I have a clear picture of His righteousness, and it is Jesus. He wants to teach us about this righteousness. But there is a prerequisite; it can only happen if we humble ourselves and receive from Him as little children, ready to be taught.

All the vices we struggle with gain their power from pride. Pride is both the atheist and idolator. Rejecting God’s way and choosing our way, we become the atheist. St. Theresa Avila prayed this beautiful prayer. Govern everything by your wisdom, O Lord, so that my soul may always be serving you in the way you will and not as I choose. Let me die to myself so that I may serve you; let me live to you who are life itself.

The self becomes its idol. (More to come on this shortly)

On the other hand, the Kingdom of God is only found in humility. Andrew Murray says, “Humility is not only one among the virtues; it is the first and chief need of the soul.”

God’s Kingdom is where God’s will is being done. And it cannot be done apart from the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God consists of the people in whom God rules.

Now, back to that “Self,” The Kingdom of Self. The pleasures of this world, sin, lust, the whole of it all, is nothing else but the Kingdom of Self. It is the aggrandizement of pride—I know a better way. I am better than them. The utter horror, deception, and euphoria of sin, self, and pride are only conquered through the continual operation of God in our life by the power of the Holy Spirit. As followers of Jesus, we are called to die to ourselves and live to Christ.

What makes Jesus believable? Humble people, gathering in fellowship, among whom God’s will is being done—a bit of Heaven on earth.