Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew that the Kingdom is now. So what does this Kingdom look like?
A kingdom where God is God and we are not
A place of total dependence on Him
A place of total abandonment to His will and His will becomes ours
A place where we don’t have to be seen or heard or understood because our Savior sees and hears and understands us
A place where even when we can’t see Him or feel His presence, we know He is there
A place where all responsibility is His
A place where all the law of Scripture becomes insight into His heart and teaches us to know Him better
A place where the lists of rules fade and His very life, His Spirit, leads us in His ways, in His truth, in His life
A place where God uses even our mistakes and mess-ups to accomplish His will
A place where we begin to know who we are in Christ
A place of Sabbath rest every day
A place to sleep in the boat during the storms or even to walk on the waves
A place of revelation that everything comes through His permission
A place where He wants to tell us we are loved and secure and accepted.
A place where He will love people through us when we don’t love them at all
A place where we can pray, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing,” instead of, “Father, help me to forgive.” Then He changes our unforgiveness into His forgiveness.
A place where when someone is rude, hurtful, irritating, or even inconvenient, you can say, “Thank You, Jesus, for this appointment. Please love them through me.”
A place where when you are tired, grouchy, sarcastic, and downright ugly from all your “efforting,” you can say to God with great confidence, “Here, take it all. I’m too weak and tired even to give it to you, but I know You want to carry it all.” And finally, you know He takes it and you keep moving by faith. You don’t feel Him take it, but you know. Eventually the feelings catch up and you thank Him for all of it.
Are there Battles in the Promised Land? Yes.
He may ask us to hold our tongues or shout for joy so that He tears down the walls around our hearts we have been building for years.
He may ask us to give up the devoted thing we hide, and if we refuse we lose, and if we surrender it to Him we win.
He will ask us to give Him our idols. If we try to give them up with our own “efforting” they will grow stronger. If we give them to Him, He will demolish them.
Every time we take matters back into our own hands it ends in sin. Every time we give our life to Him to manage, it ends in victory.
After God woke me on Friday, February 6, 2004, and told me I no longer needed to be God, He spoke Galatians 3:3 to me: “Diane, are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”
For the last 11 1/2 years He has been showing me the devoted things I hold onto and gently releases my grip and takes them. He has been showing me how intensely He loves me.
In the process I have learned Colossians 3:3: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” I am not my own, I was purchased. By the power of the Spirit, Christ lives in me, and He lives out of me.
As I learn how much He loves me and know this love that surpasses knowledge, I can be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:14,21) instead of the fullness of me.
I don’t have to live in regret of yesterday or fear of tomorrow because I have Jesus today, and He wants to express Himself through me in this moment and every moment thereafter.
What a journey. My desert experience was mine and yours is yours. They look different but in so many ways they are the same. Nothing is ever wasted in God’s economy. He used it all in my life to reveal Himself to me and He will use it all in your life as well. He uses EVERYTHING. I must have been so stubborn for it to have taken so long, so full of pride and my own “efforting.” Every painful moment of my death to self was worth it. To get a glimpse of Him is worth everything. Now I can live in the Kingdom of God and bask in His love and thank Him for everything in my life, because my goal is no longer to be comfortable or even to please Him, because in Christ I do. My goal this side of Heaven is to know Him. I want to know everything that is humanly possible to know. I want to KNOW JESUS! What a journey.
 Matt. 13:33,44,45,52; Col. 1:13 – JBW
Part 2 of 2
The Jesus Story, and Jesus in Me present the gospel of salvation and living by grace for young children. These illustrated books by Don Hammatt can now be viewed and ordered at his web site. Video editions of the books to view and share are here: http://www.thejesusstory.com/videos