Eighteen year old Micah asked to speak with me after lunch. “OK, here’s the thing: I want the kingdom. I don’t want to miss it like most people around me. I want it. But I’m afraid I’ll miss it. I’m afraid the weeds will crowd it out, or the cares of life will smother it. What do I need to do?”
What a great question. And what hope it gives me to see young people passionately seeking the kingdom. But how do we actually do it? Since the Kingdom is at its essence the most practical and real thing in the cosmos, there must be practical and real ways of seeking it.
These suggestions have helped me:
- Pray for the kingdom. It is, after all, the first priority of the Lord’s prayer. “May Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Faith inevitably becomes sight, and as we pray for the Kingdom we will eventually see it all around.
- Develop an ear to hear the King’s voice. As Jesus spoke to the twelve, He is still speaking. And if our ears are tuned, we’ll hear him saying, “Look here at this pearl, at this mustard seed, this party, this movie, this football game….” Pictures of the Kingdom are everywhere, and it’s the Father’s delight to point them out to us.
- Ask for “Kingdom Eyes.” Like fine art, good wine, and beautiful music, it’s a cultivated taste. “This people will listen and listen, but not understand; they will look and look, but not see, because their minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and have closed their eyes.” We need the help of the Spirit to see the Kingdom.
- Take your expectations out of the church building. The kingdom became flesh in Jesus, and it’s been invading the streets and the neighborhoods ever since. You’ll see it in a homeless person, in the widow next door, in the fatherless child across the street. “Sanctuary religion” tends to cloud our vision of a world full of beauty, grace, and human need.
- Obey the small promptings of the King. Nothing opens the kingdom like walking the streets of human need with the King at our side.
“Don’t be afraid, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” – Luke 12:32