THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU, BUT IT DIDN'T ORIGINATE WITHIN YOU
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17 I have thought often about the saying, 'The Kingdom of God is within you. ' It is quite an astounding thing to grasp a hold of this concept. And yet, perhaps we need to examine it further to fully understand what it means.
For us to truly understand the truth of this statement by Jesus, we need to know the context of when it was uttered. For you see, the Pharisees had tried to corner Jesus again through this statement of theirs. As always they had been mistaken about the kingdom of God that He was speaking of. The Jews had looked for a worldly king who might deliver them from the Romans, and as we know, the kingdom that He spoke of, was not of this world.
And yet in fully understanding the idea that the kingdom of God is within us, doesn't mean that it originated within us. For as we should know, there is nothing ultimately good within us, apart from God. Our very nature strives for itself, and isn't ultimately concerned about the welfare of others. To be sure, we ultimately know what is good and right and true, but we fall every day. As the Apostle Paul says,
15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. 19 For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise. 20 But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. Romans 7
And so indeed, when we consider that the kingdom of God is within us, what is meant is that through the new life that we now can have in Him, an entire universe of spiritual fruit is to be found. An entire avenue of new life opens up deep within us, bubbling forth, and spreading to others. But this kingdom cannot be extended through our old self, and our old nature, which ultimately still exists within us. It must die daily, but it still exists within. It is of a different kingdom, a fallen one.
And if one would compare the Kingdom of God with those who seek out truth found in other forms of religion, truthfully they would eventually see that what they are seeking originates from within themselves, but not within that part that is the kingdom of God.
For if one seeks truth within by attempting to reach a higher self so to speak, this higher self or consciousness, is still ultimately themselves. Even though one might say that they are freed from themselves or their ego, the core of themselves, is still them. This may well be difficult to put into words, but the point is that God speaks first within the deep reservoir of our spirits, and that is not us. And then that deep part of us that is our spirit, knows that the voice that calls out to them, is beyond themselves. It is not a higher form of themselves, but it is God Himself reaching out to us.
The entire premise of mysticism is that man can transcend human experience, and then experience a oneness with the universe, where he ultimately becomes a god by living on this higher plane. Again, this is man striving to be god. The problem arises not only in thinking that one has arrived, but in foolishly thinking that chanting, meditating, or visualizing, can somehow wipe away our sins. One may well reach a state of peacefulness, but their experience is still aimed at a betterment of themselves, through themselves, without the help of God. It is ultimately self-serving.
And so, again the Kingdom of God is within us, but it can only fill that part within us if we allow Him to come in and abide with us. That is entirely different from the one who would attempt to reach a higher plane of consciousness. For that place would then only be filled with an attempt to become a better part of themselves. And a better part of anyone, is still not God.