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The Kingdom of God is Within You

February 25, 2013

How you treat yourself is a metaphor for how you treat the world.

I had to remind myself of this recently.

A very interesting man at a bus stop the other day mentioned to me the dilemma of performing an act that may not be great for your health, but the importance in deciding the payoff. For example, drinking a few beers may not be entirely beneficial for your physical health, but the experience and social lubricant it may provide outweighs the negative effects.

It’s quite the balancing act, really. If you compromise yourself too often, say to smoke cigarettes – for that payoff of the buzz of tobacco – the single act in itself probably won’t effect you enough to make make much of a negative impact. However, it’s the addiction to cigarettes that causes problems. Each puff, each cigarette, each pack purchased, builds on the next and the accumulation is the problem, not necessarily the single white stick – even if it is the ‘nontoxic’ kind.

I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to decide this balance for  yourself.

And you have to look within yourself to decide this. You can’t look at others to provide the answer for you, which has been my struggle.

I’ve realized I haven’t been doing this recently. I’ve been looking to those around me to justify my actions, even if they go against the conscience in my own heart.

And the more I ignore my own heart, the harder my own heart becomes to find.

So, for me, I think it’s time to stand up and be the person I want to be, not the person others want me to be. As an extremely passive and unassuming person, this is a huge challenge, but it is necessary if I am going to be the person I know I am capable of being.

We can’t control what goes on around us, but we can control what goes on within us – for the most part. We can control our reactions to the external world. So, every time we get upset at something out of our control like the rain, or the people who block traffic along the street outside the drive-through Starbucks, the only thing we’re hurting is ourselves. We are adaptable as human beings, but that’s something that’s easy to forget, we have the ability to adapt and change for the sake of good.

Side rant:

It seems, in our culture, a lot is being dictated for us – the food available for us to eat, the money we’re allowed to spend, the gods we worship, the entertainment we have available, etc. But, instead of blame ‘The Man’ or the government, I think we need to take responsibility ourselves. Besides, isn’t it as much our fault Wal Mart has destroyed the small business grocery, electronic store, etc. as it is Wal Mart’s? We’re the ones who have been choosing cheaper over more personal all along.

It’s easy to vote for change, it’s effective to be the change.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently about how completely screwed up and corrupt our culture is. And I think everyone can sense this in some way. So, why just keep doing the things we’ve been doing for years? Why let others dictate our well-being for us?

I think Jesus had a pretty good response to this.

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’

– Luke 17:20-21

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