The Kingdom of God Cometh Not By Observation
King James Version (KJV)
20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans that the Kingdom of God is found in righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 14:17) We can look all around us for signs that God is near, that His promises are coming to fulfillment, that He is at work. But here, Jesus tells us that we won’t find the Kingdom of God by looking at what is going on around us–rather we will find it by looking within. A Kingdom is necessarily communal, so the “within” will not simply mean within my own heart, but the interior life of the Body of Christ. When the fellowship of the saints embodies righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit, then the Kingdom of God will have arrived.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He included the phrase: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom of God is a place where His perfect will is accomplished. That should tell us that if we are looking for His perfect will to be accomplished and lived out in us that we must first and foremost seek that inner fruit that abiding on the Vine produces, the fruit of the Spirit. Essentially, the Kingdom of God comes through personal transformation into the image of Christ, for Jesus said “I always do those things which please him” speaking of the Father. (John 8:29) Jesus, the very Word of God, embodied and always carried out in thought, word and deed the perfect will of God.
I encourage you to investigate this subject further, for I cannot delve too deeply into it here, but the power of Jesus’ earthly ministry and victorious resurrection are inextricably linked to His obedience to the Father. Many times Christians want to come to God and experience His blessing through some means other than obedience to His commands. Maybe there’s a special prayer we can say, perhaps a certain religious rite, or maybe a certain amount of tithing and other good deeds that will enable us to experience the power of God. But no, the only way to God is through Jesus, and Jesus embodies the path of obedience. For to love God is to obey His commands. (1 John 5:3; John 14:15)
The power of the Kingdom of God can be experienced by allowing Christ to live through us, for when we do so, we have His power. Jesus indicated that the Kingdom of God had come upon the Jewish leaders when they questioned Him about casting out demons. So the Kingdom of God is also a place where God’s miraculous power prevails. Often we hope and pray for the miraculous and for the promised blessing, but it seems far off or non-existent in experience. I have no doubt about the following: We do not experience the power of God because we are not like Christ. Paul said of himself in Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) The power of God certainly rested upon Paul’s ministry, but he had doubts about the Galatians and told them that he labored in birth pangs until Christ were formed in them. (Gal. 4:19). The fullness of Christ had not yet manifest in them and they were not producing the fruit of the Spirit. The goal of every believer and church is to be a walking embodiment of Christ.
So, if you are waiting for God to do great things in you or within your church, consider whether Christ has truly been formed within you, such that you could with Him say, “I always do those things which please the Father.” When such is the case, the Kingdom of God will manifest itself gloriously.