Heaven On Earth
I remember a couple times through my time in high school extra -curricular activities. For whatever reason, I would come back to a new school year and there would be a new head coach or director in place of the previous one. This happened with football, soccer, choir, drama, etc. I noticed with each coach or director, there were three elements that were crucial to understanding and working well with that person. Each had their values, implementation, and what they expected the product would be from the first two. So, for example, a new soccer coach might come in and say, “Unlike your last coach I think the key to success is conditioning”. So that told me they value conditioning/hard work. Then usually they implement those values with statements such as, “ So this is the way it is going to be, whether you like it or not, because I am in charge”. Finally, they would state the product they expect to see. It usually sounded something like, “If you do this I expect to have the fittest team in the league, and have an undefeated season”.
In Matthew 5 the Sermon on the Mount begins to introduce a “new coach/director” and a new kind of “team”. Jesus is the new “coach” and he is introducing a new game plan on how to win, and be a great player. In Luke 6:24-26 the text highlights the kingdom of the earth, and what it values (power, comfort, gloating). And then in Matthew 5 we see in verses 3-12 the beginning of what a great citizen of the kingdom of heaven looks like, and what they value (weakness in the eyes of the world, sacrifice, and even exclusion from worldly views). Jesus is huddling up his followers and saying here is the game plan: stop going through the motions like the religious leaders who are just waiting to go to heaven. Instead, realize your job is to bring pieces of heaven to earth.
When you get this concept and understand the relationship between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth it begins to give life purpose. It should give you purpose for the here and now, and not to just wait for God to take you to heaven one day. So how do we practically do that? 1. Your example has already been set. Start looking at the example of Jesus and how he began bringing heaven to earth through true Godly love and grace. 2. Perception gives perspective. Begin seeing the world around you as Jesus did. Start engaging the world using the commandments He has given us and not reacting to it how the world teaches us too.
The challenge is to live more like Christ did and help the world see the characteristics of God and His kingdom.