It starts with John proclaiming Jesus’ coming, that the kingdom of God was “at hand,” which translates from the Greek to mean near, approaching, to come near.
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ — Mark 1:14-15 (NASB)
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” — Mark 1:14-15 (NIV)
Then Jesus came and preached the same thing:
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” — Matthew 4:17 (NASB)
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” — Matthew 4:17 (NIV)
The enemy took away our identity as children of God in the Garden of Eden. Jesus came and reconnected us so that we could be God’s children once again through Him. Total shocker for the enemy so he had to change his game plan. If he couldn’t in truth keep us separated from Abba, he would make us believe we are separated from God’s kingdom by making us think we are just biding our time here on earth until we die and we step into our inheritance in Jesus (power and authority) in heaven.
I love this next one, because Jesus is literally standing among these men who have claimed to be experts about the Torah and are now asking when the kingdom would come. Jesus’ reply is classic “read between the lines” in response. He’s saying, “I’m right here. I’m the kingdom.”
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” — Luke 17:20-21 (NIV)
There’s even more meaning here as well. The older NIV translation actually says “because the kingdom of God is inside you.” And if you look up the Greek translation of the word “midst,” it means within, among, inside.
Now look at these:
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:27 (NIV)
This is nothing new, right? We understand that Christ is in us. But what I’m beginning to grasp more fully is that if Christ is the Kingdom of God and Christ is in us, we carry the Kingdom of God in our midst—within us! There is no separation.
Abba spoke these words to me during worship Sunday: “You are established in Me.”
My friends, we are established in Jesus, the kingdom of God and the heavenly realms. That is powerful! Believe this and you will no longer feel ineffective in your faith walk. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform your mind with this truth (Romans 12:2)
Now I’ve frequently heard the verse that says faith like a mustard seed can move mountains. Did you know Jesus also compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed as well? Take a look:
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” — Luke 13:18-19 (NIV)
Just as our faith is meant to grow stronger, so is the kingdom of God. As we grow in faith and share our faith with others, we are helping to expand and grow the kingdom of God that is within us, because Christ is in us.
That means we are atmosphere and game changers, my friends. Wherever we are and wherever we go, we carry the Kingdom of God with us. And as we ask Jesus to increase in us, we are also expanding the kingdom as well and becoming more and more influential in the atmosphere around us—our homes, our families, our friends, etc.
Make sense? Let’s go just a little bit further. Look at this piece of Scripture:
And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. — Ephesians 2:6
So as I’ve taken this journey, the Lord’s prayer has totally changed in its meaning for me. If we are in Christ and Christ and His kingdom are in us and we are seated in the heavenly realms with Him, then when we pray this prayer I believe we are literally praying open the heavens in whatever situation we are praying about.
Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. — Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)
I am now praying this prayer over my family, situations, over myself and over many of you, my friends. For my husband, I pray that God’s will for his life as He ordained it in heaven will be released and present here on earth now. I pray this for my daughters too.
Over situations I pray God’s will be done exactly as He has planned it in heaven. The light bulb is going on in and over my head, and I think I’m getting it. So much of what we pray and how we pray it comes from what we truly believe inside, my friends. Ask the Holy Spirit for revelation from God’s Word and for Him to transform your mind and what you believe. Then watch how your atmosphere changes as you are transformed!
Praying for radical transformation for all of us, SUMites!
(p.s. This week I'm at the American Christain Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis. Forgive me if I'm slow to reply to comments and emails. Love and treasure you all! Hugs!)