1 Corinthians 4:20, NRSV
God's kingdom is very powerful. Absolutely nothing can stand in it's way. It is a kingdom that has the power to change the lives of individuals, societies, and cultures. I believe the intention of God is that we live within his kingdom as engaged people, not passively waiting for a message or sign. God's kingdom is very active, super active, and those who understand this will be very busy manifesting God's work in their lives. It is natural for one living in the kingdom to show God's power, it is not easy, it is work, yet it is still natural. You see, God is not asking the impossible of us, in fact, the works of the kingdom were ordained ages ago, Ephesians 2:10.
God has a future goal, but today we need not be concerned with the future, instead we should focus our attention on right now. Today, this very moment. Why? Because the kingdom is now, it is not only in the future, but right now. This does not mean that you should not know of the future which God has revealed, it means that such knowledge should not cause in-action, stagnation, because we know that it will all work out in the end! No, we are called to action, today.
Ephesians 1:17-20 The Message (MSG)
But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven,
You might ask, is Paul referring to God's kingdom in Ephesians? I believe he is (more on this later). I love the language used in this translation; "focused and clear", "immensity" and "glorious way of life", "utter extravagance", "endless energy and boundless strength". These are all words of intention, power, endurance, and strength. Where does it come from? Christ Jesus, it flows from God through him through the resurrection.
So, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:20, that the kingdom is based on power, not talk. When Paul says 'talk', he is speaking of empty words, ideas that will never be acted on, setting huge and unrealistic goals, lofty ideas with no intentions or power putting them into action. Paul is getting after some folks in Corinth. They feel like they do not need any guidance, like they have it all. I love Jonathan Mitchell's expanded translation of verse 8:
1 Corinthians 4:8 Jonathan Mitchell NT (JMNT)
You folks already continuously exist being ones having become completely satiated, with the result that you are now fully satisfied. You are already suddenly rich. You people suddenly reign as kings apart from us! [note: these three statements could also be questions: Are you… Are you… Do you…?] And would that you surely did reign, so that we could also reign as kings together with you!
Did you catch the note? Paul is asking them, sarcastically. In verses 18 and 19, he says they have become arrogant, full of talk with no power. The Message translation says they are just hot air. Jonathan Mitchell frequently uses the term, "breath-effect" when speaking of God's spirit. When God speaks, it is nothing short of life, of power. These folks in Corinth are the complete opposite, just breath with no effect.
God's Way is not a matter of mere talk; it's an empowered life.
1 Corinthians 4:20 MSG
It is an empowered life. You see, that is what Paul is driving at in Ephesians chapter 1. There is real power in what God has for us and that power, the same power that raised the messiah, is dwelling in you. What are you prepared to do with it?