Saith the late Christian sage Dallas Willard:
The Kingdom Among Us is simply God himself and the spiritual realm of beings over which his will perfectly presides – “as it is in the heavens.”
That kingdom is to be sharply contrasted with the kingdom of man: the realm of human life, that tiny part of visible reality where the human will for a time has some degree of sway, even contrary to God’s will. “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord,” the psalmist said, “but the earth He has given to the sons of men” (115:16, NAS). And as things now stand we must sigh, “Alas for the earth!”
To become a disciple of Jesus is to accept now that inversion of human distinctions that will soon or later be forced upon everyone by the irrestible reality of his kingdom. How must we think of him to see the inversion from our present viewpoint?Tweet Thisthat he is even now “the prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5). Then we heartily join his cosmic conspiracy to overcome evil with good.
Human life certainly resists the great inversion. To it, the very idea of any such inversion is an insult and an illusion. …The “real” world has little room for a God of sparrows and children. To it, Jesus can only seem “otherworldly” – a good-hearted person out of touch with reality. Yes, it must be admitted that he is influential, but only because he affirms what weak-minded and fainthearted individuals fantasize in the face of a brutal world. He is like a cheerleader who continues to shout, “We are going to win,” though the score is 98 to 3 against us in the last minute of the game.
When this cheerleading approach to the “real world” triumphs among those who profess Christ, they may then have faith in faith but will have little faith in God. For God and his world are just not “real” to them. They may believe in believing but not be able to rely on God – like many in our current culture who love love but in practice are unable to love real people. They may believe in prayer, think it quite a good thing, but be unable to pray believing and so will rarely, if ever, pray at all.
I personally have become convinced that
– Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, pp. 90-1, emphases and links added