Does God speak to you through images? Sometimes when I'm listening to a sermon or Bible teaching, an image comes to my mind. I have notes in many random places describing these images for later illustration. But then, once the illustration is done, it's hard to put it back into words; it's more of a feeling.
Today I will try to put this one into words, just for you. Just in case it can be an encouragement to you as the words that inspired it encouraged me.
First of all, is it titled "Set Apart" or "Thy Kingdom Come"? Perhaps both?
I've been thinking a lot about being "set apart." For years, "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2) has been my theme. I want my thoughts to be in agreement with Jesus, "the author and perfecter of our faith," and not my own version of wisdom (Hebrews 12:2).
When my life felt crushing because loved ones were upset with me, I clung to Jesus. We are promised trials, tribulations, and even that the world will hate us because we are not of it anymore (John 16:33, John 15:19). So being "set apart" held a lot of hope for me. Even if people despise me, God "chose [me] out of the world" (John 15:19). He chose me. He created me in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Even more, God himself began that good work and promises to bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6)! So I can trust in His Holy Spirit to guide me in righteousness, and trust that His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). He does not want me "weighed down with [...] the cares of this life," but living in compassion and forgiveness, like Jesus (Luke 21:34, Colossians 3:12-13).
But that's not the whole of it.
"I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." (John 17:15-18)
The kingdom of God--righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit--is within us, when we invite Jesus to be our Savior and dwell in our hearts (Romans 14:17, Luke 17:21, Ephesians 3:17). Jesus Himself taught us to pray: "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). So I envision the mission of believers to be a bridge between Heaven and earth, shining His truth and love to those around us. We're hanging out in the in-between, set apart to bring the kingdom of God into this broken world.
"Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house." (Matthew 5:15)
And there it is, the title staring me in the face all along: "In Between."