When Jesus was here on earth, His message was a powerful call: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The word “repent” literally means to change the way you think. So what Jesus was declaring was essentially this: “I’ve brought My world with Me, but you’re going to have to think differently to see it.” Here in America, the concept of anything called a “kingdom” seems like something relegated to another time and place. After all, we are a democracy, and our leaders are chosen by the vote of the masses. But in God’s government, there is no vote to determine whether or not His Kingdom rules over all. According to Psalm 103:19, it just does. Thankfully, He is not a ruthless dictator, as some have painted Him to be. He is absolutely a good Father. So then, what is the Kingdom of God?

The Kingdom of God, in its largest scope, is the rule of God over everything and everybody, everywhere, for all time and eternity. In its earthly sense, here and now, it is the silent and steady rule of God over all, though not recognized by most. In a personal sense, for you and me, it is the rule of God over surrendered lives through the Holy Spirit who is working in us to conform us to the image of Christ.

God, expressed in the nature of Father, Spirit, and Son, is reflected in the human family. Now I’ll be the first to admit that the Trinity is nearly impossible to explain.

Reformed theologian, Dr Sinclair Ferguson said, “Many Christians tend to think of the Trinity as an impractical, speculative doctrine. But not so for the Lord Jesus. For Him, it is neither speculative nor impractical, but the very reverse. It is the foundation of the gospel. Without the love of the Father, the coming of the Son, and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, there simply could be no salvation.”

I heard this comment years ago, and it resonated so strongly within my heart, I’ve never forgotten it. God is a self-giving, other-centered, relationship of Love. And made in His image and likeness, so are we. You can see this most clearly within the human family.

Earthly fathers reflect the nature of Father God: protector, provider, the source of life, from whom the family gets its name. Human fathers reflect this aspect of the image of God.

Earthly mothers reflect the nature of God seen in the Holy Spirit: helper, comforter, guide, revealing the ways of the Father, leading us into all truth. Human mothers reflect this aspect of the image of God.

Everyone is a child of man (Jesus called Himself Son of Man), and thus reflects the nature of God expressed in Jesus Christ. “…those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29). “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). All of us reflect this aspect of the image of God.

Now, if we don’t know where we came from and who we have been created to reflect, we simply don’t have a clue how to be who we truly are.

When it comes to being a father, we often refer to the influence most prominent in our lives. What you behold you often become, so if your dad was distant, abusive, or neglectful, you may hate all of those things and yet struggle against becoming the very image and likeness of your father. If your dad was a negative force in your life, the term “Father God” may be offensive to you, and you may think of God in the same terms that were displayed toward you.

Mothers, you learn from your mom, too, because the Holy Spirit as a personality is hard to wrap our minds around. If your mom was overbearing, critical, or controlling, surrendering to the indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit can be difficult.

See, the negatives we learn from our human family relationships actually negatively affect our respect and trust for a God we hardly know, because frankly, we won’t allow ourselves to develop a close relationship with someone we’re not certain we can trust. But you can trust God. When you surrender to that truth, then ask Him how to be a husband, father, wife, mother, brother, sister, child. Whenever you place yourself in the mode of a student, willing to ask questions and learn from another, you open yourself up to transformation. Then from that place of transformation, let God the Father teach you.

In our homes first, we must put the loving heart of God on display. And let’s be honest. We need God to show us how to be a family. The human family is the clearest example of the Kingdom of God we have, so is it any wonder that the devil tries so hard to destroy families? No matter what state your family is in at this moment, God wants to put Himself on display in and through you as a family. He can heal decades of dysfunction, can bring love where hate has ruled, can bring healing where trust has been shattered, and can bring redemption when all hope seems lost. How? Because His Kingdom is sure.

The Kingdom has come, is coming, and will come. It cannot fail, will not fail, and is not failing now. God will have His way and for some strange reason, has trusted us to be living displays of his eternal grace, intentionally releasing His righteousness, peace, and joy from within us to impact the world around us. He has told us to pray that His will be done. God would not lead us to pray something He did not intend to answer. As we pray, that Kingdom is coming bit by bit, person by person, family by family, nation by nation, until the announcement is fulfilled: “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).