The kingdom of God is in the midst of you. Luke 17:21
It’s our nature to take even the best of things and warp them by doing them our way. A few times, I’ve heard the addict, in the throes of his addiction, explain that to share the gospel with other addicts, he had to use heroin to gain their trust. I was doing God’s will. He wanted me to use.
God never asks us to sin though and his way of doing things is radically different than our way. In today’s passage, one of the Pharisees asked Jesus when his kingdom was coming. Whether he believed in Jesus or not, he thought Jesus was speaking of a political kingdom because that’s how he understood the world. If Jesus was the messiah, he must assume political power.
Jesus though, had little interest in the power and politics of man. He explained that the kingdom of God had already come and was in their midst. The Pharisee was likely unimpressed. This is it? Jesus didn’t use the law to coerce people into following him. Governments come and go, but the gospel is eternal, outlasting presidents and kingdoms. Christ’s kingdom grows through the transformation of one heart at a time.
It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of believing our nation’s salvation lies in politics. Changing lives, one at a time, seems like hard work and slow progress. Like the addict, we want to take over and grow God’s kingdom our way. It would be easier to just change the laws so that we can be a Christian Nation again.
We’re never going to bring about the kingdom of God through politics though. His kingdom resides in us and it is in our own transformation that it spreads. If we desire God’s kingdom, then we must daily abandon our way to follow Christ and we must share the love he’s shown us with those around us.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be involved in politics. As Christians, we can and should participate in our democracy. I know Christians who live out their faith in inspiring ways in the political arena. I’m just saying that the church doesn’t exist to wield political power and that it’s lost its way when it aligns itself with one person or political party. Our job, as Christ’s followers is to live out his kingdom, here and now, by loving God and sharing his love with those around us.