Unfortunately the message of Christianity has often been reduced to “going to heaven when you die.” The offer seems to be, ‘place your faith in Christ so that you can have your sins forgiven, so when you die…you get in!’ Although this is true, that’s not all there is – there is so much more!
The result of this reduced message is that many Christians live spiritually impotent lives with very little joy, peace, strength and satisfaction. Many Christ followers are plagued with high levels of anger, lust, fear, jealousy and worry. Their faith has very little impact on their ‘before heaven’ life.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
In this passage Jesus is not talking about heaven, but the life we are living right now. The offer for anyone who wishes is “rest of soul”…deep peace, joy, contentment, and anxiety-free living. He came to bring us the same kind of life He lived when He walked the earth.
When Jesus began preaching, his message was simple, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus came into the world to make the Kingdom of God available to anyone who wishes to enter. We can better understand what Jesus meant by this statement when we consider that we all have mini-kingdoms…our house, our bedroom, our cubicle or office. Our “kingdom” is the place where we have complete control or say over what happens. Our kingdom is the place where our will is done. Dallas Willard explains, “God’s kingdom is the effective range of His will, where God gets what God wants.” What Jesus is really offering us is the opportunity to partner with God to bring about His will on earth, here and now. WOW! This is so much more than “going to heaven when you die.” God invites you and I into His current rule of the earth…to bring about His will and to expand His Kingdom. Jesus made this clear when he gave us what has become known as the Lord’s prayer. Jesus said we are to pray that, “Your kingdom come, your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
Our calling, mission, and opportunity is to live with God in His kingdom right now! To partner with Him to expand the effective range of His will. This is the abundant life, the most exciting, fulfilling, and satisfying life available to us.
Will you enter in?