God’s kingdom is not found in historical places, modern business enterprises, vast cathedrals, or monuments of education. God’s kingdom is simply and solely made up (in the life we can touch and see around us) of you, of people. We are the living kingdom of God on earth. It is not in stuff, or places, but us! If right now earthquakes shook down all buildings, mountains, and trees, but killed no one, nothing of God’s kingdom would have been shaken. Not one thing would have been lost!
God advances and establishes his eternal kingdom on earth in people. Is he a power hungry egotist? No, he invites us to live in heaven! Our choice! You don’t have to live in peace, joy, love, freedom, or justice! It’s your choice, he just offers complete and total access to all of his goodness free of charge. Getting back to character.
When you believe God is good, loves you, and delights in you. Things change. You believe in yourself, you see others greatness, you have value and belonging. This changes our demeanor and reactions and choices to life as it comes our way.
So often the idea of character has died in modern media culture. But ahh the power of its value continues to live on. So many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around character or really defining it.
What is Character?
Boiled down to our lives, character is how we treat ourselves and one another. From my personal perspective character is the embodiment of the entire old testament law: “Love your neighbor as yourself” = Your character.
The cool part about experiencing heaven on earth is our daily experience of God’s character. This is what impacts our hearts and minds and changes us. Who is he, is he really this kind, thoughtful, nice, involved, and actively caring? Yes, he is. Humans experiencing God’s character is what advances his kingdom on earth because it causes us to reflect his lightness.
So often our minds and attentions are called to our external as estimations of our success or value. Our cars, our houses, our jobs, our location, our accomplishments. But to be honest, all of this without possessing good character is empty and pointless. Stuff is stuff! It is not eternal and it does not nor can it give us value.
But your character! Oh, your character! When given the opportunity, God will bring attention to how you are treating yourself or other people, rather than what someone else has done or how things are another fault. We have so much power in how we choose to treat one another. How are you treating people? He values them so much and we get to participate with his love for each individual as much as we choose to allow!
When God says let your light shine it’s your character he wants to shine through! You’re kindness, you’re service, you’re honesty, you’re empathy, your friendliness, your peace-ability.
Not a Performance Scratch Card
Character is not a measuring stick that God wants to hold over you to reveal all your shortcomings. We all have them! No really! We all do! But it’s not about stressing out about it or trying harder and harder to love people. It’s not meant to give you an aneurysm! Spending time with God – living with him actually – causes us to be reminded of how he’s already designed us and who he’s created us to be. We don’t have to work hard at it! His kingdom in us was given to us fully and completely as a free gift! He loves to give us his kingdom, all aspects of it.
As we live life with him and experience his goodness we are discovering the character of our spirit. We are joy, we are kindness, we are gentleness and patience. It’s who we are. Part of the glorious goodness of living in God’s kingdom here on earth is being reminded of our goodness! You are good, through and through. There are no dark spots in you.
Your journey of learning and living is beautiful in its own unique way. God’s character is revealed in you and through you to others in a way they will never experience it through anyone else in their entire lifetime. You reveal aspects of God’s nature and character that cannot be replicated by another. Our character is a gift to others that happens naturally and freely when we come to know and experience God’s!
How Does Character Affect Our World?
Character is actually the strength, or lack of it the weakness, of any nation. Seriously. When the citizens of a town, school, or country have good character, the strength of that body is insurmountable. When character is lacking or weak, any force of destruction will rule the day. There are areas of the world rich in resources but lacking God’s character in its people and poverty permeates the population. A business or government will only stand to the length at which the people who compose it walk in character. Corruption, scandal, selfishness, greed, violence (which are all examples of treating others poorly) will cause any entity to rot from the inside out.
If you want to improve the strength of a business or government you will focus on, teach, and reward positive interaction between the people involved. The most talented artist or celebrity in the world can produce something beautiful but their life will have strife and unhappiness behind it if that talent is not first given a good foundation of character to withstand the temptations of treating themselves or others poorly or with little regard.
Again, this is an entirely unseen area of society. You can look at a photograph of a roomful of people and see what they are wearing, or how they’ve done themselves up, but when the photo is over, how do they treat the other people in the room, or the people they pass when they walk home that night or their family or their spouse when no ones looking? It matters. Its important.
Give great regard for your character my friend. More time energy or effort that anything external anyone will ever see. It is the only thing eternal, the only thing God looks at, the only thing he sees. He sees Christ alive in you, living through you, loving yourself and others in a beautiful expansion of his kingdom here on earth. It starts with me. It starts with you. It starts with Him.