I’ve been trying to understand better what the kingdom of God is like. I’ve read through the parables, and they all amaze me. Here is a few things that are shaped by the parables that I read that help me understand what maybe the kingdom of God (heaven) is like.
Let us say there is an immigrant from Italy named Tony. Tony however, now lives in Canada. Tony lives in Canada, does all kinds of things in Canada like eat, work and spend time with people. Yet Tony is Italian at heart. His true identity comes from being Italian. When Italy one the World Cup, he was out on the streets dancing. If Italy goes to war, he is out on the streets mourning. Tony lives in a house with his family and his wife is also Italian and only cooks Italian food. Tony also sends his kids to an Italian school and he doesn’t even speak English, he only speaks Italian. How many people would say that Tony isn’t Italian anymore because he lives in Canada?
I think the Kingdom of God works like this. Even though we live in the world. Even though we do not leave the world. We are still kingdom people. We talk kingdom talk. We live the kingdom way. We look at every circumstance through a kingdom filter. We have given our allegiance to the Kingdom, not to the world. Our goal is not to get to Italy….heaven. Our goal is to stay here and to make more people experience the kingdom.
Now if we added to this story a bit. Let’s say that along with Italy comes a bunch of values that they uphold. They go to every major league soccer game that is played in their local city, they finish eating everything that is front of them and they never wear socks. Italy has values, and therefore Tony has the same values no matter where he is because his heart is with Italy. So Tony starts to go to a lot of soccer, eating a bit more and not spending money on socks. Let’s say though that Tony wears socks one day because his feet are cold. This does not mean that Italy has changed; all it means is that Tony isn’t living inside the values of Italy.
I think the Kingdom of God is bigger than just members of the Kingdom. I think it works and is progressed by values of the kingdom like the fruits of the spirit. There are kingdom ways of doing things, and not every kingdom member does them all the time. This is why it’s hard to look at someone and say if they are a kingdom member or not. It’s bigger than just one person here and one person there. God is advancing his kingdom in members and non-members.
The kingdom is a mentality that we hold. It’s a way of life. It’s a different kingdom than that of money, power and sex. To value a kingdom mentality is to value the kingdom. To live a kingdom mentality is to live in the kingdom. Could this be what John was talking about all through his gospel? Some say that the term “eternal life” is synonymous with “kingdom of god” and “kingdom of heaven” in the other gospels. So to live a kingdom mentality is to live in the kingdom which is to possess eternal life.