The Kingdom of God is at hand

Get relationship right with God - giving him ALL of your heart - not just the part given to him on Sunday mornings, or when someone is looking. Focus on him as the only source of your devotion and dedication - not as much on every passing whim or fancy. Intently choose to follow his will instead of the constant pull of your own. Submit your thoughts to him and allow him to purify them, filtering out all the "noise" the world adds. Take up the tasks he lays before you and don't seek to accomplish them in your own ability or talent. This is what makes up the first and most important command. The thoughts of most religious zealots would be, "We have this down pat!" There will always stand this one command that will expose our hearts. To consider another above yourself - to focus on loving with integrity instead of with false pretense - this comes closely on the heels of being rightly related to God.

“The most important command is this: ‘People of Israel, listen! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second most important command is this: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.’ These two commands are the most important.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Nothing but truth can open the blind eyes, crumbling the prideful elevation of thought which keeps others at an arm's distance. Jesus addresses how someone can portray a self-made confidence which will melt away in the face of the reality of the love of the one who truly has the first command correct in their lives. He is revealing that we might not have kept the first command all that well! If we love to get something in return for the actions we display, we don't have the first command correct yet! Jesus rewards this man with something we might otherwise miss in the subsequent verses. Read along: 'Jesus saw that the man answered him wisely. So he said to him, “You are close to God’s kingdom.”' Jesus commends the man for recognizing truth and then he tells him he is close to God's kingdom - he might not have said this man was about to enter into truth fully, but I think he offered it to him that day. The man was getting a deeper revelation into truth than he might have experienced before - we may not know if he embraced the Kingdom of God that day, but we know he was on the verge.

Jesus is always ready to reveal his truth to a willing heart. He isn't frightened by being challenged about truth, but when a hungry and seeking heart comes to him seeking truth - he isn't going to hold back. In fact, he will offer all he has to save but one soul. He will reveal truth and then give not only what we seek, but we don't know we have need of in the first place. This is just what we can expect from Jesus. Maybe we need to lay down our pride long enough to consider the truth he gives. Who knows how close we are to embracing what may prove to be the most liberating of truths we could ever encounter - the kingdom of God is at hand! Just sayin!



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