“For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.”
Psalm 145:13 NLT
Whenever I consider eternity, I’m challenged by the writer Susan Ertz’s quote that many people long for eternity, when they don’t know what to do on a wet afternoon. It is remarkable how quickly I used to get bored. The path of pursuing a contemplative life that I entered upon while caring for my first wife, Katey, has, by many a twist and turn, brought me into a space in which I cannot remember when last I experienced feelings of boredom. I’m no super-saint, but time is now my friend and no longer something with which I struggle, unless entertained or distracted.
The great thing about God’s forever kingdom is that it expresses its partial shape here in the earth. We enter that wonderful, life-giving kingdom upon yielding to Jesus, and then navigate mortality’s many challenges with the kingdom both present and ahead of us. This places great emphasis on the choices I make.
I’ve learned I can live my life three ways and only one proves satisfactory, keeping me in God’s immediate presence. The first only requires me to serve the letter of the Christian law: church attendance and affirming biblical truths while I live my life. There is always a shadow of deceit, of self and others, as I refuse to live out an authentic faith born of my personal battles.
A second, and more honest, approach is to let life happen and spend my time reacting to my circumstances. This is exhausting and only ever reveals the worst aspects of my character. This is because I am reacting from my own sentiments created by my situation. These may feel like my true feelings, but are in fact no more than my preferences in reaction to what I don’t like.
Finally, I can acknowledge my immediate reaction without choosing to express it. Here I might pause and review the landscape I’m entering into and take a moment to discover Jesus in this moment. Simply Jesus as Jesus is, and not as I might like Jesus to appear.
Which of the three ways of living is closest to how you live?
Lord Jesus, may your kingdom come and your will be done.