Not of this world

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” (John 18:36).

I am only beginning to find out how true that really is. The Kingdom of God is totally contrary to the kingdom of self, but, being human, we think our way is the best way. But we are called as Christians to enter into a new life, a new Kingdom. We are called to live life differently than those around us because we stand for different ideals.

Some Christians feel the need to be different just to be different. But I am more concerned with difference that manifests, not due to intentional effort, but because there has been a profound and foundational shift in who we are. This has captivated my imagination as of late, so we are going to explore this together over the next several days (weeks? years?).

The foundation of the Kingdom of God rests upon the assertion “Jesus is Lord.” If I were to modernize the word, I would say “Jesus is King.” The Kingship of Jesus is the beginning and end of the discussion in my mind. Whatever ground we cover in the course of this discussion, King Jesus is the beginning and the end of it.

If Jesus is my King, then noone else can be, for “a man cannot serve two masters.” This, then, means that I am not lord of my life. “I am not my own, I was bought with a price.” But a king is a man who rules, king is a function as much as a title. Someone who claims the title, but is not obeyed, or who has no ability to enforce their rule isn’t really a king.

This brings us rather quickly to obedience, the bane of our American ideals. How hard it is to submit! How hard it is to give up control of our lives to someone else. We have been hurt in so many ways by those who have power over us. And yet Jesus asks for complete and total obedience – not based on authority, but on love… “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”

God’s Kingdom is ruled by love and we are not so much kings as king-makers. By our obedience we enthrone Jesus in our lives, or we rebel against His rule and set up rival kingdoms of our own. Regardless of our choice, God’s Kingdom is forcefully advancing into the kingdom of this world. But we have the opportunity to partner with God, to see His Kingdom come and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. The call of Christ is the same today as it was over 2,000 years ago, “follow me.”

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