Preface: This is a work in progress; but I am posting it to be able to share and continue to tweak it. It’s my goal to present a simple overview of the abundant Kingdom Life (John 10:10) that is available to us now, through Jesus, with God, all day every day in every circumstance. This entails a significant perspective shift from the way that I, and I’d dare say the majority of Christians today, have previously encountered the “good news.” For more on that, read my story here. Or continue on to discover what I have discovered to be foundational for Kingdom Living...these are things I have learned, not come up with on my own. For references be sure to see the notes at the bottom of the page. To see what should result from a Kingdom Life see, Part 2, "What Does Spiritual Maturity Look Like?"
KINGDOM LIVING ESSENTIALS:
Who am I? (Identity)
I am an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe. 1
I am a beloved child of God in whom Christ dwells and delights, and I live in the unshakeable kingdom of God. 2
Why am I here? (Purpose)1
I am becoming the kind of person God created me to be…
The greatest thing God gets from my life is the person I become!
I am in “training for reigning” – becoming the person God created me to be so that he can empower me to do what I want as I rule and reign with Jesus forever.
Gen. 1:26, Psalm 8; Rom. 5:17; Rev. 22:5
Who is God?1 (What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about you.4)
God IS Love. 1 Corinthians 13 is a description of God.
God is the most joyful being in the universe.
God is a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible and totally competent being.
God is an immaterial, intelligent and free personal being of perfect goodness, wisdom and power, who made the universe and continues to sustain it, as well as to govern and direct it in his providence. 1
Sovereign. The sovereignty of God doesn’t come in the form of inflicting evil actions and bad things on people. It comes in his capacity to bring things out for good no matter what happens. (Rom. 8:28)
"God's Got This." - Does He?
1) What is reality? God and his Kingdom.
God’s kingdom is the range of his effective will. Where what he wants done, is done.
The spiritual realm is reality. The physical realm is current experience. “We are spiritual beings having a human experience not human beings having spiritual experiences.” 5
God inhabits space like we inhabit our body. He is present at every point in space. The presence of God and the manifestation of God’s presence are not the same thing. He is here. Are you aware?
2) Who is well-off/blessed? Anyone alive in the kingdom of God.
A life without lack is a life in which one is completely satisfied and sustained, no matter what happens. The secret to a life without lack is rooted in our knowledge of God. God with us.
Psalm 23; Hebrews 13:5; Rom. 5:17
3) Who is a good person? Anyone permeated with agape love.
Mark 12:30-31; Galatians 5:14
4) How do I become a good person? Become Jesus’s student in kingdom living.
Routine easy obedience is what comes out of the inner transformation – Matt. 5:20
True Christlikeness, true companionship with Christ, comes at the point where it is hard not to respond as he would. 1
DAILY KINGDOM PRIORITIES:
Love God most. Mark 12:30
Live in life-union with Jesus. John 15
Seek first the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33
(I elaborate on this more, here.)
You must arrange your day, so you experience deep contentment, joy and confidence in your everyday life with God. ~ Dallas Willard
A CURRICULUM FOR CHRISTLIKENESS
These two primary objectives are not to be pursued separately but interactively. They are to be simultaneously sought. 1
1) ENTHRALLING THE MIND WITH GOD:
The first objective is to bring apprentices to the point where they dearly love and constantly delight in that ‘heavenly Father’ made real to earth in Jesus and are quite certain that there is no ‘catch’, no limit, to the goodness of his intentions or to his power to carry them out. 1
1 John 1:5
When the mind is filled with this great and beautiful God, the ‘natural’ response, once all ‘inward’ hindrances are removed, will be to do ‘everything I have told you to do.’
2) ACQUIRING THE HABITS OF GOODNESS:
The second primary objective of a curriculum for Christlikeness is to remove our automatic responses against the kingdom of God, to free the apprentices of domination, of ‘enslavement’ (John 8:34; Rom. 6:6), to their old habitual patterns of thought, feeling and action. These are the automatic patterns of response that were ground into the embodied social self during its long life outside The Kingdom Among Us. 1
This part of the curriculum for Christlikeness consists of disciplines for the spiritual life – training, via indirection. A spiritual discipline (soul-training exercise) is something I can do, that enables me to do something I cannot otherwise do. I can’t run a marathon today. But I can train for it, and someday I can run the full race. We can become increasingly like Jesus -having abiding peace, a heart filled with love, hope that endures regardless of the circumstance – a person who loves her enemies and doesn’t worry about anything. 2 Someone who increasingly demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit; Galatians 5:22-23
THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND CONFLICTING KINGDOMS
The Christian Response to the Problem of Pain and Evil: 1
Accept the full reality of suffering and know that God is there and good will triumph.
God does not do evil. He knows better.
A world with the possibility of pain and evil develops creatures of the highest caliber.
God is going to win.
The sovereignty of God doesn’t come in the form of inflicting evil actions and bad things on people. It comes in his capacity to bring things out for good no matter what happens.1 (Rom. 8:28)
We live in a world at war. The devil is real. His end goal is to tear it all down -kill, steal, destroy (John 10). His primary method is lies and deception (John 8). 3
The nature of the devil’s strategy are deceitful ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society.” -John Mark Comer
Ideas are the primary stronghold of evil in the human self and in society. 1
To follow Jesus is to trade in your mental map and that of your culture/society/family or even church at times, for Jesus’ mental maps. 3
THIS is why Jesus came as a TEACHER. As a TRUTH teller. “Repent and believe” does not mean “stop sinning and believe (agree in your mind) that Jesus is Lord. Instead, “Rethink everything you know about who God is and who you are and what the good life you crave actually is. Put your trust in me, Jesus, to heal you, free you, and lead you into the life you ache for.” 3
1. Essentially all of the above has roots in Dallas Willard's vision of the gospel as taught by Jesus; including but not limited to: The Divine Conspiracy, The Allure of Gentleness; Renovation of the Heart; or watch/listen to his teachings here.
2. James Bryan Smith: The Good and Beautiful God
3. John Mark Comer: Live No Lies, the John Mark Comer Teachings podcast series (from sermons he gave at Bridgetown Church)
4. A.W. Tozer
5. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin