I’ve been thinking and teaching over the last few weeks about the two kingdoms Jesus taught about; darkness and light, heaven and the world, however you’d like to phrase them. Jesus said he had come to bring life in all its fullness, and that means living like him, fully in the kingdom of God.
So what does that actually mean for today?
Here’s an analogy that’s worth considering – and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too.
When you travel by aeroplane, there are restrictions on things you can pack in your luggage; you can’t pack knives or flammable liquids in your hand luggage because you won’t be allowed on the plane. At the security gate they will scan your luggage and remove anything you can’t take on board (whilst maybe questioning why you wanted to take it anyway!)
Our life here seems, according to Jesus, to be an opportunity for us to pack things that are consistent with God’s kingdom. There are some things you can take along, and some things that will not make it through security. The challenge is to live our lives here as consistently as possible with the values which determine the kingdom of heaven: that’s what it means to live out the prayer ‘Your kingdom come’.
Anyone thinking I’m suggesting that we don’t access God’s kingdom by faith but by what we do and how we live here is missing the point – we get through the gates by faith. But as we turn to New Year resolutions and reflecting on the year we have lived, how about instead of making our resolutions on the past, we make them based on our future – the kingdom of God. This is how we pack our bags for heaven – living in the here-and-now by the vision and values of the kingdom of God.
So, what do we pack? Faith, hope, and love… ‘Clean hands and a pure heart’… What else comes to mind?
What are you taking out of your baggage as the year turns? And what are you replacing it with?
Have a very happy new year!