is not the real world. Don’t get me wrong, its not an illusion its just not the world as God intends it. There is a brokenness in it that has distorted it from its original design, purpose, and reality and so there is a kind of unreality, a sense of it being skewed, that permeates it. There are markers of the real world in this world but the fullness seems always just out of our grasp.
The Kingdom of God is the real world, the world as it should be, a world restored to its design, purpose, and destiny by the One who created it in the first place. It is also real and can be experienced in time. The difference between the Kingdom of God and the world we experience is that the Kingdom of God, its values, its Faith, its vision, embody the fullness of what God intends and the fullness of what it means to be a human.
This creates a tension for the observant Christian. We live in a world that has an unreality to it because it is good, because it was created by God, but broken because it is tarnished by human sin and mortality. We experience this brokenness in so many ways and the power of it can often be overwhelming. Even if we are truly convinced there is more and better that more and better can seem far away and extraordinarily difficult to achieve. We also live in a another world, as it is, a world we call the Kingdom of God the reality of which sometimes intersects the world we experience every day but also has the potential to alienate us from it as well.
The result is that we are travelers in time. We live in places and share the common lot of those who share this time and place with us yet we also know that even in its best moments our experience is touched with the sadness, sin, and death that has been horribly inserted into this realm. And its hard to live that way, caught between two worlds, the world we were born into and the world we called to. Choices have to be made. Loyalties need to be discerned. Where, in the end, do we belong? To what world will our final allegiance be given? Jesus was so right when He said our heart would be where our treasure is.
In these times, when the veneer of respect for our Faith is rapidly wearing off in the public arena, where the times are growing dark as people in greater numbers seem to have cast their lot with this world, and where even people who were entered the Kingdom are now looking over their shoulders at the world they left behind, we will all be tested. What realm can lay claim to our true citizenship? What storehouse holds our true treasure? Which world’s thoughts will become our thoughts? And the stakes may be eternal.
The answer? All I know to do is to stay as close as possible to Jesus and together we’ll ride out the storm and make it safely home.