Kingdom (#20)

 

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descending
Comes our homage to demand.

And Jesus answered him, “It is written,“‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:8, ESV)

When Jesus rejected the devil’s offer, he proved, beyond any doubt, that he would not fight God’s battles with the devil’s weapons. He would not hit below the belt. Just as the kingdom he came to found was not the devil’s kingdom, he would found his kingdom with a foundation that the devil could not conceive of. Our weapons of war are not carnal but spiritual, and powerful to the pulling down of strongholds.

The kingdom that Jesus came to found is invisible. It comes not with observation, and it is not of this world. It is founded firmly in the hearts of those who repent and receive the Holy Spirit.

From the beginning, John the Baptizer and Jesus the Christ had one introductory word: “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.” George MacDonald explains that the Kingdom had come in the person of Jesus. “He was in the world with his Father in his heart. That was the Kingdom of heaven.”

The devil’s religion is all surface and no core. His kingdom is founded on the visible: pursuits of power, pleasure, and personal gain—all of which will perish with him.

The kingdom that Jesus came to found is individual. No man can see it unless he is born again, no matter how many members of his family have entered the Kingdom. When one person, at any stage of life, in any tribe or culture, turns their inward compass to repentance, and sets their face to do the Father’s will, whatever may come, that person is at the door of the Kingdom.

The devil’s religion is all about individual glory, and therefore individuals always lose themselves. When self is forgotten, we begin to find our truer selves.

The kingdom that Jesus came to found is authoritative. He does not require special pleading or extra incentives. He carries his incentive with him; his incentive is his very self. The kingdom of righteousness carries intrinsic value, because it is not just a right way to live; it is the only way we can live.

Jesus is the single pearl, greater than all others, more perfect, more valuable than anything, so that when you find it, all other joys lose authority, and only derive their joy from this one source, of the inner life of knowing him. There is no exaggerating what Jesus offers us. He offers a new integration point from which to see all life.
Jesus, thank you that your Kingdom is invisible, personal, and authoritative. Thank you that your kingdom cannot be shaken.

Amen.

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