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The Kingdom of God Can Be Yours – All It Will Cost You Is Everything

The early church was marked by intensity. Men and women filled with power and conviction that came down from the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; their unity was remarkable. They had become family in every important sense. The first believers, thousands of them, laid aside everything that they had possessed before, holding all things in common. They become one people, one body, in the kingdom of God.

The demands of the gospel experienced by the early church were total. This was not a Sunday-morning activity. It was not an add-on. The life of the early Christians was not a mere sub-culture or “identity” that served as flavor for the rest of their life as residents of imperial Roman society. For these women, men, and children, Jesus Christ had become the core and center of a new shared life. Together, they experienced and followed the inward Rabbi, the resurrected Lord who guided them through the Holy Spirit.

So much of what passes for Christianity today is a pale reflection of that fellowship. The church has become a club, a tradition, a tribe – just one more identity thrown into the melting pot of the imperial cosmopolis. I’m Quaker. You’re Brethren. She’s Catholic. He’s Orthodox. What difference does it make? Caesar still reigns supreme. Our loyalty is divided. We have failed to become family.

The gospel of Jesus is more than personal improvement, social engagement, and friendly potlucks. The good news of the kingdom is a direct challenge to imperial culture. As citizens of the kingdom of God, we are called out of the centrifuge of individual achievement and consumerism that transforms us into loyal imperial subjects. Jesus calls us to de-center the wealth, power, and violent glory of America and all other empires.

We cannot enter the kingdom of God alone. Only by shedding our success, our wealth, our security and privilege can we pass through the eye of the needle and become part of a new society. True freedom is only possible when we surrender everything to follow Jesus.

What is holding you back from surrendering all? What keeps you clinging to the false promises of empire? What are the people, places, things, and ideas that you still haven’t surrendered to God? When will you finally enter through the narrow gate, becoming a brother or sister of Jesus?

Related Posts:

Are You Able to Drink the Cup of Jesus?

Without the Spirit, The Body of Christ Is Just a Corpse!

  • Egrace

    What does that even mean today? Where does this conversation take us today? Help!

  • like these Quaker querys. Some of them require more questions I think. Here are some of my Daydreams and hopes but the short answer is I don’t know:
    1.)Q:What is holding you back from surrendering all?

    A: is it not self will run riot? I am selfish, self-centered. I’m all I ever think about! Perhaps surrendering this is impossible!! Perhaps that’s as i should accept it as a place to begin. It certainly is current experience!! Program I follow in Alcoholics Anonymous encourages us to work with others and to reach out to the alcoholic who still suffers. I’ve seen this create a community. The problem we have in common is loneliness… And discouragement. another thing we have in common is hitting bottom. When one has literally faced down death one has a cusp of understanding to bridge the gap between person and person I think. It gives one’s testimony the weight of empathy. We are encouraged in the program that this reaching out is what keeps us sober and Serene. One must, of course, experience this for oneself to know it has any effect whatsoever to relieve the intense craving and insanity which being addicted to a poisonous substance is all about.

    Q:What keeps you clinging to the false promises of empire?

    A: I am not sure where to begin!! I never knew anything else but these promises, and the propaganda that they are true, I have swallowed since childhood. First I think I’ve got to unlearn a lot of this crap!! I am only beginning to understand the depth of deception coming down in these days of Revelation. The short answer to this question why I cling is I fear the loss of a sense of security and privilege of the upper hand of dominance yes. Right, which comes down to having power to assumed privilege, to keep things in the status quo. Once that power is challenged one is in a world of hurt MHO. One has to move through the changes that come in accepting grief and loss. The first stage and this grief and loss process is denial. The second stage is anger. The next stage is bargaining. One would do anything to stay out of the next excruciatingly painful stage I think , depression: one’s experienced companions along the road warn of full Mourning one has never known. This is what they tell me is included in the journey to accepting one’s powerlessness over alcohol but also in all one’s affairs. Is this what Jesus came to liberate us from…?

    Q:What are the people, places, things, and ideas that you still haven’t surrendered to God?

    A: I take a look around me and see that all I possess or think I possess are gifts I have stolen. There is a paradox too deep here for me to comprehend with the little brainspace that I have been gifted with. That must have been intentional!! To be the fool and the fooled at the same time!! I am asked to surrender all and yet cannot surrender any of it!! So I go on… So it be… I assume more will be revealed… It’s supposed to go on for as long as it does… You know… from Glory / to Glory… In the program I follow they suggest that when you don’t know what to do don’t do anything… It’s not a cop out… I hope!!

    Q:When will you finally enter through the narrow gate, becoming a brother or sister of Jesus?

    A: I’ll answer this with a question… What is your answer? When and how will you, Micah Bales, do such if you’re not “there” already? In other words when you get there what does there look like? I could use a clue!!

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    Little giddens
    ~T. S. Eliot

    • Egrace

      Very helpful, thank you

    • What a great response, Charles. Thank you!

      As for your last question, I think that one of the biggest barriers I face to entering the kingdom is my relationship with money. I find it very hard to surrender control to God, and having money is a tried and true way of trying to feel in control!

      I know that I can’t escape my addiction to control on my own, but I’m hoping that as part of a community of Jesus-followers, I might find the strength and courage to release my grip.

      • Very very good! MHO He never leaves or forsake… He’s right there with you constantly and your family. The program suggested relaxing into his way as getting used to his kingdom is a life long term. Even ever after… Here is something practical
        I found today in chapter 6/”into action” from A. A.:
        As you go through the day, pause when agitated or doubtful. Be still and ask for the right thought or action. It will come. Remind yourself you are no longer running the show. Humbly say to yourself many times each day “Thy will be done.”
        God is answering your prayers all the time! And I’m so glad…