The Presence of the Kingdom (1)
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6.19, 20
Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4.8-10
“You are Mine!”
Through the prophet Isaiah, God spoke one of the most unbelievable, astonishing, and altogether beautiful of all truths: “I have called you by your name; You are Mine” (Is. 43.1).
As we have seen, God has called us into His Kingdom, for His glory—into a new realm of light and life where we are making God and His glory known as fully and as far as we can. As God sees us, we belong to Him—lock, stock, and barrel. Yet this is no slavish confinement; rather, it is a liberation from the darkness of sin and the fear of death into the light of truth, the beauty of the Lord, and a life of increasing righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. We are not our own. God has called us by name, and He intends to use us—all of us, every aspect of our lives—to bring glory to Himself by filling our world with Jesus Christ.
Like I said: unbelievable, astonishing, and altogether beautiful. We are not our own, to stumble around in our own best ideas, our misguided desires and corrupt loves, and our flighty values and priorities. We belong to God. We have been conveyed into His Kingdom. We are increasing in Christlikeness by the indwelling power of the Spirit of God. And through us righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit are flowing to fill our world with Jesus.
The presence of the Kingdom in this world—real and increasing, on earth as it is in heaven—begins in each believer, in our soul and into the space and time of our lives by all our words and deeds. This Kingdom presence is real and increasing wherever believers give all diligence to make their calling sure and are seeking the Kingdom as the defining priority of their lives.
And this glorious transformation begins in our mind.
The mind of Christ
The Scriptures teach that our understanding of ourselves—who we are, what we’re here for, what we should be doing—plays a large role in what we actually become (cf. Prov. 3.5; 14.33; 16.9; 23.7). How we think about ourselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of what we will be. Living the Kingdom presence in every aspect of our lives begins in how we think; it begins in the mind.
As John Stott wrote, Your Mind Matters. This being so, we must give more attention to our mind, to understand and use it as God intends.
The mind is that facet of the soul that receives, processes, stores, recalls, and employs information. With the mind we think, understand, compare and contrast, sort, analyze, decide, plan, and much more. Before we were conveyed into the Kingdom of God our minds were “darkened”, to use Paul’s apt phrase (Eph. 4.17, 18). We could not perceive things truly, and we were captive to the lies of the devil. We were “in the dark” about everything, and mostly didn’t even realize it. This affected all our thinking, including how we think about ourselves.
But when God sent His Spirit into our soul, empowering us to hear and believe the Gospel and making us new creatures in Christ Jesus, He brought with Him the mind of Christ. Now, every believer has the mind of Christ, at least in rich potential, with which to think our way into the presence of God’s Kingdom (1 Cor. 2.16).
We have the mind of Christ! We must learn to think like Jesus does, to think His thoughts after Him, so to speak, so that, increasingly, we take all our thoughts captive—just as Jesus has taken us captive—so that our thinking is obedient to Jesus and His Word in every aspect and function of our mind (2 Cor. 10.3-5).
This is a tall order, I know. But think of the promise learning to think with the mind of Christ portends. Think of the new ways you’ll see the world, the fresh and bright ideas you’ll begin to think, the deeper understandings of God’s Word you’ll acquire, the new dreams and visions you’ll nurture, the big plans you’ll make, and the wise decisions and actions you will take. When we think with the mind of Christ, we realize the presence of His rule in this most foundational aspect of our soul, where He Who is making all things new makes our minds new with the righteousness, peace, and joy of His Kingdom.
Not our own: Praise the Lord!
We are not our own. We belong to Jesus. He intends to own our minds, to renew our understanding, refurbish our outlook, restructure our thought processes, rewire our decision-making, and set us squarely on the golden path of His purpose and will, so that we might follow Him in all His ways (1 Jn. 2.1-6).
The presence of the Kingdom begins in our mind. But we must give all diligence to fill our mind with Jesus’ thoughts, Jesus’ agenda, Jesus’ way of living, and Jesus’ goals and objectives. To do this we search the Scripture, calling on the Lord to renew us in our mind, so that we stop thinking and planning like people in the world do and we devote all our mind to knowing, loving, and serving Jesus and seeking His Kingdom in all our thoughts (Rom. 12.1, 2).
We also devote our mind to discovering the works and glory of God in the world around us, as He is continually revealing Himself there for us to discover, know, and love (Ps. 19.1-4; Prov. 25.2). The more of our mind that becomes captive to Jesus, the more our thoughts will be true, pure, and Kingdom-focused. The presence of the Kingdom in our mind is the starting-point and touchstone for the increasing Kingdom presence which God calls us to know.
For reflection or discussion
1. What does it mean for you to know that you have the mind of Christ?
2. How do you practice taking all your thoughts captive for obedience to Jesus?
3. What can you do to improve the way you seek to grow in the mind of Christ?
Next steps—Preparation: What new discipline can you take up to help in surrendering your mind to Jesus? Begin doing so today.
T. M. Moore
A companion book to this study of “Kingdom Presence” is available at our bookstore. Learn more and listen to an excerpt from The Kingdom Turn, by clicking here. Then order your free copy.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study.
Presence of Mind
- T.M. Moore
- June 23, 2023
Kingdom presence begins here.
The Presence of the Kingdom (1)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore