One of the earliest recorded instructions of Jesus found in the New Testament is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). One of the simplest explanations of the word “repent” is to see things from God’s perspective. The demand for changing our understanding is because of the momentous time in history of Jesus bringing the kingdom of God to us. Once we allow the Lord to open our hearts to what this means, it will liberate and empower us.
Jesus preached this message to people who were oppressed by the Romans and living in physical bondage. They were bound by the rules of the Pharisees and their religious systems.
Living in a country free from government oppression and religious laws, however, doesn’t negate the need for the liberating words of Christ. People can still be enslaved by financial debt, addictions, a craving for approval, or any number of strongholds.
Jesus’ words spoken more than 2,000 years ago are still true for us today. His teachings are never bound or limited by time or place. He invites you and me to see the kingdom from His perspective, because He wants us to know the truth.
First, we must recognize that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst this very moment. Jesus came to earth to establish it with all His divine principles and blessings. Once we know Him, then we become a part of His great plan to liberate us from every fear and entanglement, from anything which inhibits us to experience an abundant life.
Some people grow up in a religious tradition which destroys hope for this life. They are convinced to just plod along, enduring their problems, with no expectation that God will, or even care, to intervene. Their only option, they feel, is to wait until eternity before they can experience freedom from their misery.
This perspective is no less tragic than the Jews looking past our Lord for another savior. Jesus was the real Messiah walking right in their midst, and yet some were so misguided they kept looking for His arrival in the future. In the same way, if we only see heaven as our celestial destination after our death, we miss God’s grandest plan for us now in this life on Earth.
This incredible journey begins with throwing off our old perspective so we can embrace all Jesus has given us. He is saying, “It’s here! Now! The kingdom of heaven is right here in front of your face.”