The Kingdom of God

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no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above (John 3:1)

 

Summer’s here and that means stripping off the winter woollies and slapping on the sun cream. And this year I can do that with renewed confidence thanks to my new electronic activity tracker. Yes folks when you next see my rippling physique you may well confuse me with Aidan Turner (Poldark). Every morning my fitness tracker tells me how much sleep I’ve had, how many steps I have to take that day and how many calories I need to burn off. Then at the end of the day I simply sync all this information into my computer and then sit back and watch my progress towards the body-beautiful. My activity tracker even prompts me to get up and move if I’ve been sitting down for more than an hour. So I no longer need anyone telling me how lazy I am my activity tracker does that for me. It’s like wearing your conscience on your sleeve. And it works – not that I’m obsessive about it. Of course I am!! Yet sometimes after breakfast all I want to do is lounge around and do nothing but I can’t because my activity tracker is soon on my case. So up I get and walk aimlessly round the room in circles in an effort to reduce some of the 8,500 steps I have to take that day. And should I only reach 7,000 by 8-00pm out into the street I stride like a tormented athlete in-training for nothing in particular. But it’s good for me! Isn’t it? If nothing else it’s making me take responsibility for my own health and well-being. Who knows it might even help me turn back the clock to my youth. Can you believe that? No! Neither could Nicodemus who came to Jesus quizzing him about the impossibility of being born again physically i.e. of returning to his mother’s womb a second time and reappearing with soft, velvety flesh cooing innocently at his mum! Get real, said Nicodemus, what do you take me for? Old, wrinkled flesh can’t be made young again end of story. Wrong said Jesus you’re confusing apples with pears – there are two different types of being. Flesh begets flesh but Spirit is born of Spirit. And as the spiritual realm is where God is that is our ultimate destination- with him. This means that to know Jesus intimately we must be reborn in our Spirit nature (i.e. remade, redeemed, re-invented etc) and so give up the futility of striving after the wind. And the resurrection is the nearest we get to in this life to seeing our own spiritual reflection because the resurrection makes us aware that the material world isn’t all there is. There’s more to live than the body. The body has its place, of course, but the Spirit has a more pressing (eternal) purpose; so it’s the Spirit we should be “training.” So, when I eventually arrive at the seaside I’m going to find the deepest stretch of water I can and then take great pleasure in dropping my activity tracker into it from a great height. I might even count how long it takes to hit the bottom and then sync that into my computer. After that I’m off to McDonald’s for a Big Mac – followed by a long walk with weights tied to my ankles. Have a great summer but keep out of the midday sun. The body of flesh may fail us but we need to look after it; after all it is the temporary home of the Spirit which will “shine” on forever; never aging, never wrinkling; always spritely and ever young. Ah!

In Jesus’ name

Derek Marsh