by winston davenport, jaunary 15 2014
The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. These three words sound wonderful. No talk of judgment, sin, or repentance. The Kingdom of God means we live above all our frail efforts to earn something that was freely given to us.
Jesus told the disciples that "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
At hand means "within reach," or "readily available." That means that we should not be waiting for the Kingdom of Heaven in any sense. Not waiting to die in order to go there. Not waiting for Jesus to come back to bring Heaven here. Not waiting for God to approve some sort of revival. The Kingdom is here and has been here all along.
Jesus also said, "The Kingdom of God is within you."
Doesn't get much clearer than that, does it? The Kingdom is quite literally the presence of the Father. And His presence dwells in you and me right now. No wonder the Bible says, "In the presence of God is fullness of joy." Because the Kingdom is His presence, and joy is one of the three components of the Kingdom, it's easy to see the connection.
So why these three words? Righteousness. Peace. Joy.
Sometimes Christian words get tossed about arbitrarily, and they lose their significance. I have read many a devotional that sounds something like this: "His glorious love will rain upon you with his mercy and presence in the grace of His abundant lovingkindness." These are just religious sounding words scattered on meaningless sentences to create a sense of piety. But not with the New Testament. These words, righteousness, peace, and joy were deliberate. Let's discover what they mean.
Righteousness means "right standing," and in biblical context is referring to our right standing with the Father. A revelation of righteousness causes us to know where we stand in relation to the Father. That seems awfully important. You probably have some understanding of this fact: Jesus came to deliver a new gospel. A message of good news. That nothing is separating you from the Father. That because of a revelation of Jesus, you have become aware of your intrinsic connection, your latent oneness with the creator from whom you came. Righteousness means that it doesn't matter where you've been, what you've done---you are in right standing with God. You came from Him, are an extension of Him. If you are living in a revelation of righteousness, you are experiencing the first facet of life in the Kingdom.
Next we have the word Peace. Ahhh...peace. Makes you think of tall grasses blowing in the breeze, ocean beaches and pina coladas, or perhaps a cozy fireplace setting with a hearth, good book, and cup of cocoa. While these notions seem peaceful, peace is so much more than a setting or a feeling. Peace, especially biblically, has to do with a state of being, not a state of circumstance. Jesus gives us peace, not as the world gives. Peace is a state of being. Peace has to do with what realm of existence you are living in. If you are allowing life to happen to you, you cannot live in the realm of peace. If you realize that you came to this earth to create your own experience, to subject life around you to the obedience of the Kingdom, you will walk in a supernatural confidence and authority that is described as peace. This is most clearly seen in the story when the disciples are desperately bailing water out of the boat in the storm. Eventually they wake Jesus up and He calms the storm. The disciples were living in the world's peace, which was clearly disrupted as soon as the storm started trying to kill them off. Jesus was in the same set of circumstances, but He was operating from another realm---a realm where a storm wasn't a threat at all. He was asleep! No wonder he possessed the authority to stop the storm. Because peace is a state of being, not a state of circumstance, it cannot be disturbed. If you have a revelation of peace, you are experiencing the second facet of life in the Kingdom.
Finally the Bible mentions Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy is an emotion. While we usually relate it to excitement or running wildly around the room, it can be much deeper. Joy is a product of righteousness, because when you are aware that you are an uninhibited extension of the Creator of the universe, it's difficult to not experience positive emotion. When you are operating in peace, aware that there is no circumstance that can threaten you because you are a creator of circumstances rather than a victim, you will experience positive emotion. Positive emotion is nothing more than this: thinking thoughts that are in alignment with who you really are. If you are thinking thoughts that are congruent to the Kingdom, you will feel joy. If you are sick and you are thinking thoughts of being sick, you will feel sadness, because your thoughts are out of alignment with the Kingdom of Heaven (sickness doesn't exist in the Kingdom of Heaven). If you are sick and you are thinking thoughts of being well, you will feel joy, because your thoughts are in alignment with the Kingdom of Heaven (well-being exists in the Kingdom of Heaven). Basically, emotions are a gauge to tell you how near or far your thoughts are from Truth. If you have a revelation of joy, you are experiencing the third facet of life in the Kingdom.
Righteousness is who you are in relation to God.
Peace is who you are in relation to the world around you.
Joy is who you are in relation to yourself.
That pretty much covers it! The Kingdom of Heaven is awesome, it is here, and your only pursuit should be to live in a perpetual revelation of this Kingdom, this government, this "God's method of existence." It is who you really are and it is why you came to this world: to live in the Kingdom and to infect everyone around you with it. If this is what you seek, two things will happen. You will find it ("Those who seek, find"). And everything else you desire will manifest ("Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you").
by winston davenport, january 15, 2014