Characters from the film “The Wizard of Oz.” Photo by Richard Hitt.

Have you ever brought preconceived notions to a new situation, but then realized they simply don’t apply anymore?

I did something of the sort when visiting Southern California as a teen.

Growing up in Central Canada, I was used to street numbers being put on the actual houses themselves, at eye-level. But when I stayed in San Diego for a time, I noticed that the street numbers were instead spray-painted on the vertical parts of the curb at the foot of people’s driveways, just a few inches above the pavement.

That made no sense, I thought to myself. In winter, those numbers on the curb will be covered under several feet of snow, and no one will be able to read them. How silly!

I soon realized that my line of thinking was faulty: it doesn’t snow in San Diego. The numbers on the curb will always be readable. What was true for Toronto had no bearing on what was true for San Diego.

I needed to realize that I was “not in Kansas anymore,” as Dorothy said in the film, “The Wizard of Oz.”

I think we sometimes make the same mistake when we think about the Kingdom of God.

We superimpose our past experiences and assumptions on it, but we don’t realize that with the Kingdom of God we’re in a whole new world. The old rules don’t apply anymore.

We may be used to thinking that we must work to gain God’s approval, that our acceptance depends on how good we are. After all, that’s how it works in school or on the job.

But in the Kingdom of God, that notion is upended. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, His righteousness is imputed to us. We don’t need to wonder if we’re “good enough” for God: when He looks at us, He sees the perfection of His Son.

Similarly, we may struggle with thoughts of the bad things we’ve done in our lives, how we’ve hurt others or sinned against God. We may think that God is like a human being, who isn’t able to truly “forgive and forget.” We may think that our sin remains hanging around our neck forever like an albatross.

But in the Kingdom of God, a sea change happens. Through belief in Jesus’ atoning work on the Cross, our sins can be wiped out. Scripture tells us that when we repent, our sins are removed from us “as far as the east is from the west” ( Psalm 103:12). God remembers them no more!

Or we may be accustomed to believing that we must do everything in our own strength, that any good outcome we wish for in our lives is dependent wholly on our own efforts.

But in the Kingdom of God, they do things a different way. There, you’re never alone: you have the Holy Spirit to guide you; you have Christ living within you to strengthen you; you have other believers to come alongside you and support you.

Image by Andrea Don from Pixabay

You can pray to God and receive grace, comfort, answers and even miracles. Flip through the Scriptures and see for yourself: sight was restored to blind people, ill people were restored to health, dead people were restored to life. In the Kingdom of God, the old rules don’t apply anymore!

So cast off your outdated assumptions and preconceived notions of what is possible.

The Kingdom of God is unlike any other place you’ve visited: there, grace is possible, forgiveness is possible, miracles are possible.

Wouldn’t you like to live in such a place? You can, even as you’re still living in your regular, workaday world.

Accept Jesus as your Saviour and watch as the Kingdom of God starts to infiltrate your life.

You’ll receive grace and forgiveness that once seemed impossible, divine interventions that may confound the laws of physics, and a close relationship with God that may have seemed unimaginable.

You’ll realize that you’re not in Kansas anymore!

© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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