“Lens 1 or 2? 2 or 3?”
These are familiar questions to those of us that visit the optometrist to get our eyes checked. We look on as the optometrist changes the lens through which we see the world, searching for just the right one to make the world appear in its clearest form.
The Bible presents two realities or two lenses, to view the world through—the world and the kingdom of God. These two lenses are very different and depending on which one we look through, we will see very different things.
Many of us who are followers of Jesus struggle with our kingdom vision – especially at work. We have world vision throughout our work week and kingdom vision on Sunday mornings.
We see Jesus address these two lenses in John 18 when he is questioned by the government leaders of His day after being arrested.
Through the lens of the world, things were not looking good. Many of Jesus’ followers believed he had come to save them, but mistakenly thought he came to save them politically. Jesus responds to the government leader’s questions saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Lens 1 or 2?
In Luke 17, we see it again as Jesus is asked by the religious leaders when the kingdom of God would come.
They anticipated that it would come dramatically—they wanted to know what to look for when it arrived. He answers them with lens 2 saying, “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 in the midst of you.” Lens 1 or 2?
God tells us that the kingdom of God is not of this world, but that it has come in the person of Jesus and in the people that are following him.
When we look through the lens of the world, we do not see clearly. We can end up focused on the wrong things and operating on mistaken assumptions. We see this in years like this one, with build-up to a major political election. We see this every day in our work when we are pressured to understand success through the lens of the world.
But when we look through the lens of the kingdom of God, we remember that this is not our true home. When we see the story all the way to the ending, we live differently — with true purpose. We remember that God’s kingdom is in the midst of us – indeed it is inside of us. We recognize that the kingdom of God moves less like a political revolution but instead moves in quiet power from one person to the next.
So as we continue through this world, we must not lose sight of our true purpose — the one that we can only see with our kingdom vision.
Father, may your kingdom come and your will be done in our lives, our workplaces, and on earth as it is in heaven.
Lens 1 or 2?
Co-Founder and CEO, The Harvest Group