Imagine if you lived in Jesus’ real world, the one he describes with images of beautiful green pastures. Jesus describes what life in his very real Kingdom is like with his picture of a quiet and serene, nourishing pasture: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
“He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” Jesus is saying that life in his Kingdom is a life of relaxing, rhythmic balance. No matter where or what the circumstances, whether “going in” his protective and comforting presence, or “going out” in our real world, we will find pasture.
King David painted this same picture in his beautiful shepherd psalm:
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”
Green pastures. Quiet waters. He restores my soul: Soul restoration. I want this, don’t you?
“But you don’t understand my life,” I’ve had people say to me, both men and women. “If I don’t, it won’t! If I don’t push, control, manipulate, force, fix … it, or them, it won’t go the way it has to for me to be happy.”
Green pastures. Quiet waters. Soul restoration. Life in his Kingdom.
“But what about my boss? What about my child, who is not doing right? What about my spouse, whom I can’t seem to fix? For crying out loud, what about Rome? Don’t give me your platitudes about God and Jesus. Try living in my world – the real world.”
To which Jesus might say, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
You can have this life, my friend. It’s not a sales pitch from Jesus. He means it. It’s real. It’s available. You can have it. But you can’t have it with your, “If I don’t, it won’t,” approach to life. You can’t have it with your busy, harried, more-is-better life.
And you cannot have it trusting Self over God. The Self-life will steal your peace. Self leads only to the empty life, the average life, even the substandard life. Life to the full, the true life that is truly life, is only open to you through trust.
Trust he is for you, he is with you, and he is even out before you.
Green pastures. Quiet waters. Soul restoration.
This is Life in the Kingdom of God.