“Looking at his disciples, he said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.’” (Luke 6:20–26, NIV84)
From Jesus’ perspective there are only two types of lives. There are those lived out for the kingdom of God and those lived out for the kingdom of this world. Both have their prophets and teachers. Jesus calls the prophets of the kingdom of this world false prophets. He also describes what their external life looks like. They live for the things this world seems to offer. They pursue riches, comfort, security, sensual fulfillment. Jesus warns that the outcome of such a life will be poverty, conflict, uncertainty and want. What Jesus is saying is that the things of this world do not ultimately fulfill what man truly needs. Only God can fill the true need of every man and woman’s heart.
The life lived out for the kingdom of God has very contrasting results. Because the Christian, pursuing the kingdom of God, places value in the realm of eternal truths instead of this world, he may in this world seem to be in physical want. He or she will face difficulties, trials, and persecutions because of that pursuit of God’s kingdom. But in the end, the things experienced in this temporary world cannot be compared to the glory and peace realized when one enters eternal rest. We mustn’t think that life gets rosy because we become a Christian. The Christian life can be painfully hard. But what God does promise is that it will be filled with love, forgiveness, hope and peace.
The question to be asked today is, which kingdom are we living for?