Monday, April 1, 2013

Is the Kingdom of God Within You?

In Scripture Jesus tells us "The Kingdom of God is within you." (Lk17:21) How do we know this? We know it  when we experience joy, not just happiness, but a feeling that transcends happiness.  It is a feeling that comes from the heart when we know God is with us. But what is the opposite of this? Elder Paisios tells us that it is "when we have anxiety, feelings of guilt, then there is a portion of hell within us."   When we are sadled with anxiety we have left Paradise and find ourselves mired in hell. This is common condition for most people today. Many drugs that we regularly take are for relieving us from this anxiety we experience in our daily life. But we are capable without any medications to experience joy from all our activities in life.
Elder Paisios says, "It isn't difficult to achieve this; but unfortunately, egoism prevents us from this spiritual magnificence."

What is required to change this anxiety into joy? The key according the Elder Paisios is to allow God to govern our lives. The involves a surrender of our ego to the Church, to Christ whose Church is His Body. In the Church we are guided through the services, sacraments, teachings about prayer and ascetic practices like fasting to overcome our ego-centeredness and become Christ-centered.  But first we have to choose to surrender to the teachings of the Church.  We must pray often and for sure every morning and evening. We need to follow the liturgical calendar, and participate regularly in the sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Confession. We must follow the fasting guidelines fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as during the  fasting periods like Great Lent. We must read Scripture and the writings of the Holy Fathers.  We must make Christ and participation in His Church a top priority in our lives as well as the life of our entire family. Scripture says, "Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt 6:33)

Elder Paisios says,
People today have made their lives difficult, because they are not satisfied with a few things, but are constantly chasing after more and more material goods. But those who would like to live a genuine spiritual life must first of all be satisfied with a few things. When their life is simplified, without too many concerns and nuisances, not only will they be liberated from the worldly spirit, they will also have plenty of time available for spiritual things. Otherwise they will tire themselves out by trying to follow the fashion of the times; they will lose their serenity and will gain only great anxiety."
Examine your life and search for all those things which are not necessary, that only complicate what otherwise could be quite simple.

The elder gives a very simple example of a man who asked him to come to his home. When he arrived he notices that the man took of his shoes and walked carefully on his toes.  He asked him, "Why are you walking like that?"  He replied, "Its nothing Geronda; I am walking careful so that I don't ruin the parquet."

See how easy it is to complicate our lives? We decorate, we clean, we strive to make money so we can redecorate only to worry about maintaining an appearance. The same goes with our clothing.  Also our hobbies, our vacations and so forth.  How about all the activities we have our children enrolled in. They keep us busy as well as themselves. Where is time for the creative time at home doing art things with Mom or Dad as I remember from my youth; for apple picking, for building a model railroad, for reading, for climbing trees and and laying on top the vines that have grown over them gazing into the heavens  wondering how far the sky goes? We organize everything these days and it only complicates our lives, shuts us off from joy making it more burdensome financially and more stressful to keep up with it all. Joy is replaced with achievement which is always only temporary happiness.  

Seek simplicity in your life and you can discover the Kingdom of God within.

Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels IV: Family Life, p160


  1. I am a Baptist, so I am not 100% with you on the Liturgical Calendar, though we do observe one. However, I find what you are saying overall very true and helpful. Thank you for this.

  2. Bible, Gita, Quran, every holy book is the work of this brain. Long ago when there were no temples, people used to believe that God resides in our heart. It still is residing there only. All one has to do is, awakening the spiritual feeling in you. Meditate and be calm. You can hear the voice of almighty lord. After that you'll never do anything wrong, and no harm can be done to you.

    Henry Jordan

  3. By who's standards will you never do wrong? The Bible? Quran? or the Gita?

  4. Of course for Christians it is the Church who gave us the Bible. But you can find similar virtues in other religious texts. Judgement only comes from God however. We have to open our heart and listen to our conscience. Do our best and when we fail , repent as God is merciful. We keep trig as we continually improve our way of life coming closer and closer to God.


    There are some who deny water baptism is essential to the forgiveness of sins, by debating the clear meaning of "born of water" found in John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    The primary debating point is that born of water refers to natural child birth. Was Jesus telling Nicodemus that one of requirements to enter the kingdom of God, was that he had to exist? That makes no sense. It is obvious if you were never born you could not enter the kingdom of God.

    To suggest that "water" in (John 3:5) means embryonic fluid, is at best an unreasonable conclusion.

    Jesus said you have to born again to enter the kingdom of God. Being born of flesh the first time is not being born again. Again never means the first time!

    When the apostles were preaching the gospel, did they say, in order to enter the kingdom of God, you have to physically exist; that is, you must have been born of embryonic fluid (water)? No they did not.

    Jesus said "unless one is born of water he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) Jesus said "has been baptized shall be saved."(Mark 16:16)


    Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,(The AND cannot be ignored)

    WATER BAPTISM: washing of regeneration.
    SPIRIT: renewing by the Holy Spirit.
    NOTE: It is God our Savior that saves us.(Titus 3:4)

    Acts 2:38 baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    WATER BAPTISM: for forgiveness of sins.
    SPIRIT: receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


    The only way to not understand that Jesus meant water baptism in John 3:5, is by using extra-Biblical sources.



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