I woke up this morning with a new definition of “the kingdom of God” (one of Jesus’ favorite subjects) running through my mind:
–All humans are called to follow and obey the inward King who rules on a throne of love (not by coercion) through the urging, prompting, leading, nudging, conviction, and guiding of His still, small voice in the human heart and conscience. If we learn daily to deny the rule of the dominating and destructive desires of self and to promptly and consistently obey the Inner Light of King Jesus, we will begin to enter into and live out the kingdom of God — on earth as it is in Heaven!
The idea of the “Inner Light” was taught by George Fox and others in the early days of the Society of Friends (the Quakers). After searching for a relationship with the living God through various English denominations, George Fox finally heard an inner voice speak to him: “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.” Fox became convinced of the biblical truth that God’s Light is shinning in every person to give them the opportunity to follow the living Jesus Christ.
Quaker Michael Birkel (Earlham College, Richmond IN) puts it this way: “Early Friends got the expression from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, where we find in verse 9 the phrase, “the true light, which enlightens everyone coming into the world.” And Quaker Max Carter (Guilford College, Greensboro NC) writes: “Early Friends understood that to be the Light of Jesus Christ. It was not a metaphor, but it was the real presence of Christ within.”
Robert Barclay, one of the early Quakers, stated in 1678 that “the Inner Light is never separated from God nor Christ; but wherever it is, God and Christ are as wrapped up therein.”