Kingdom Thinking – A Biblical Paradigm
Read Time – 10 minutes
Last year as I went through the Bible in a year podcast with Fr Mike (I would highly recommend this) I was reminded of many of the stories in the Bible which don’t fit into our modern view of normal life. There is the parting of the Red Sea, Gideon defeats 10,000 soldiers with 300 farmers, Balaam’s donkey talks to him, the feeding of the 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish, and many more such events. Many have tried to explain these events by saying they are myths, in other words they really never happened. Others try to give the events natural causes. For example that the people just shared what they had brought and that it was really not a miracle of multiplication (this is the heresy of modernism). Father Mike reminded us that yes, miracles do happen, and that these stories for the most part in the Bible are true. One thing for sure is that God wanted every one of these stories to be in the Bible since all scripture is inspired by God.
This got me thinking about the effect that our culture and our life’s experience have on our ability to have faith in the Bible and the teaching of the Church. We see life through the lens of human experience, and our culture greatly affects our lens. In other word,s what we come to think over time about life, God, and others greatly affects our ability to have faith in the historical Jesus.
I am aware of a scientific study done several years ago that tried to measure the effect of paradigms (what we come to believe is true over time) on peoples’ ability to see the facts. A group of scientist were studied and the findings were remarkable. If the results of a scientific experiment were in line with the individuals expectations he could see the results in great detail. But if the results of an experiment were different than what the scientist expected he was unable to see the results in a way that could change his views. So if we, the church, buy into the world view that miracles don’t happen today for example … well even if were present when a miracle happened … we might not even be able to see that it happened.
Jesus had a kingdom world view (paradigm). He saw the world from the perspective of heaven. Most of the time his followers had a hard time understanding what he said because they did not see things from the same point of view as he did. I have found that when we look at life from a kingdom point of view we see thing differently.
One night many years ago my wife was having back issue and was in pain. She wanted me to find the hot water bladder but I could not. I did find an old electric heating pad which had not worked in years. I plugged it in and sure enough it did not work. I shook the controller and it still refused to work. I really wanted to find some way to alleviate her pain so in desperation I put my hand over the controller and said in the name of Jesus work. When I opened my eyes the light had come on and the pad was heating up, and it continued to work for many years. Now in the past I would have explained this as a coincidence, that perhaps I jiggled it just right. Now however I see it as an answer to prayer … a little miracle. The world would not agree with me (even some in the church perhaps) even if they saw it.
Another time my friend was telling me that his crops were close to being lost due to lack of rain … an outcome that he could not afford. On Saturday my family and I were camping at Saskatoon Park and my wife and daughters had gone for a walk while I tended the fire. I was thinking about my friend when I saw a large black cloud in the west. Without thinking how silly it was I pointed at the cloud and said “in the name of Jesus go over to my friend’s farm and dump your rain.” Then I looked around to make sure that no one saw me do this. A few days later I saw my friend. He said “you will never guess what happened, I was out checking my crops and a big black cloud came out of nowhere and drenched my crops with rain … and right across the road my neighbor hardly got a drop.” I asked him when this happened. He replied that it was Saturday about 2:00 pm. I uttered the prayer Saturday at 1:30 pm. My location was approximately 30 minutes from his. Once again the world would call this a coincident and think of me as being foolish for thinking otherwise. Many in the church might also struggle to see this from a kingdom perspective.
Matthew 17:20 (ESV) He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” In this scripture Jesus demonstrates Kingdom thinking.
Matthew 6:22–23 (ESV) 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
This is not referring to our natural eyes, but our spiritual eyes. If our spiritual eyes are aided by kingdom thinking, as Jesus was, then we will be able to see the world as he did. But if we allow our materialistic, secular humanistic society to direct our thinking, with it’s darkness, then we will not see the truth (Jesus) in our everyday lives and will not be free of darkness.
The more we read the scriptures and think about what Jesus said and did the more we will be able to think act like Jesus. If we allow the truth of God’s word to form us, and stop doubting, the more we will have a world view like Jesus and eyes to see Him at work. There is no such thing as healthy doubt … or at least, Jesus never taught such a thing. He did teach that faith is required to usher in the kingdom.
Romans 10:16–17 (ESV): 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
We would do well to compare everything we hear to the Word made flesh and if what we hear does not sound like something that Jesus would say … discard it (no matter how clever it sounds).
Jesus knew the Father’s love, and allowed that love to touch everyone around him. We too can know the Father’s love and allow it to touch everyone around us. All we need to do is come to sit at his feet and learn from him and ponder his words to us in our hearts as Mary did.
May the God of all love, the source of all faith, the one who is truth form our hearts and minds to be like His. May we allow His Word to abide in us and we in Him. And may His kingdom come on earth just as it is in heaven.