Life In the Kingdom
- 1 Life In the Kingdom
- 1.1 Everlasting Rest
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- 1.3 Continue Reading…
Such a journey demonstrates the power of transformation in my life. It was not the first step of my spiritual journey, but its footprint marks the course of my life in ways I have yet to discover. Already, the struggle to retain its blessing has dramatically confirmed the truth it began to reveal: I am a son.
“But as many as received Him to them He gave the power to become children of God” (John 1:12). “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, if we share in His sufferings” (Romans 8:17). “Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). “Whose commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3), and whose desire is that may be one just as He is one with the Father (John 17:21).
The Chinese word ‘to be’ allows for a constant state of change. It provides a simple context in which to understand the truth that I am a son of righteousness, but do not yet fully live in this truth. I am secure as a child of God, yet do not walk in that reality. The perfect relationship between Creator and creation that was broken through sin has been restored.
Nevertheless I still choose to live as if I believe our relationship is like to a nice fairy tale and not the most powerful, dynamic influence in my life. I sometimes pursue the Kingdom of God, but find that it is much easier to pursue a normal life.
The Kingdom of God as revealed through its ambassadors shines forth as an unmatched treasure worthy to achieve. It is my inheritance, my bank account, my retirement fund, and my reward. Yet, it is easy to forget to make deposits when so much of my life is wrapped up in a system that is structured toward the pursuit of a lesser treasure.
As the westernized world plows through the furrows of capitalism and the wealth it has produced, it has left behind the ability to enjoy the blessing of prosperity. On the contrary, wealth has become the curse of the American lifestyle. It is that which drives people to slave away in the production of money with the vain hope that someday in the future, money will return the hours they invested with it. From the moment a child is born, his life is geared toward acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the race for more. Human value is measured by potential economic productivity and productivity is largely determined by something other than knowledge.
This is the city where Charles and Zorah grew up: a city where individuals lived in constant fear of disaster, a city where beauty had given way to function, and where life had given way to survival. It was a city where individuals lived to die. Hope existed in the form of limited opportunity to move out of reach of the coming flood. Even those who lived higher up the hill were still governed by the city rulers. The systems that governed the city (like the city ruler who killed Austin and Charles), seldom made themselves visible, but held absolute power. Even the man who raised Zorah only styled himself as a king by request of the city rulers.
Those who sought for hope that could not be destroyed generally had nothing to lose and no opportunity of winning the reward offered by the city rulers. These poor and abandoned people left the control of the systems that governed the city by moving to a different country where they found all that they had desired. Charles had heard of this and desired to discover whether the reports were true. His own investigations had not led him to any clear conclusions of whether the King’s Country actually existed. In fact, the attempt to rationalize belief in something that can be known only through personal interaction often leads to disillusionment.
Charles’ only hope lay in the generosity of the systems that governed the city and he was rewarded for complying with their demands. However, the combination of disillusionment over the existence of truth and unhappiness over its apparent inaccessibility created desires that would never be satisfied by the comforts and security of the decaying city.
It is difficult for a person to lose the desire to know truth, but it is easy to stifle that desire with comfort, or to redirect it with knowledge. The remnant of this desire, which was so apparent in the children of the place, probably played a key role in Charles’ response to Adam’s call. The call of truth came from the other side of a cement slab where Charles would die in the world he had known. If he had known this, Charles may not have continued to search for the King’s country when he and Austin were left alone at the Bazaar. The faith of his young companion, however, drew him onward in the quest.
Carried through the tunnel opening by faith demonstrated through action, Charles and Austin found themselves in the Kingdom of Zorah’s father. They did not know what to do, but took advice from the children of the place As they ran toward the King’s castle with strength neither one possessed after their injuries in the tunnel, Charles and Austin were transformed. Their pursuit of the one who could give them help had made them into different people. Charles’ request to be made whole as before and the king’s response of silence indicated that the man and the boy would never be like they were before (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Even Zorah had changed from a hooded girl in the dying city to a free, beautiful princess. In this country, her appearance reflected the meaning of her name: awaken the dawn. Living up to her name and appearance, Zorah had given light to those who would soon follow the path she had taken with Adam. Adam and the other woman from the story were the only two people who did not appear to have changed in the process of taking the journey.
In the end, Charles had finally reached his goal and enjoyed all the benefits of the King’s Country. The fact that he didn’t leave immediately demonstrated that something about him had changed, but the fact that he didn’t know what to do next demonstrated that he was still in the process of becoming.
Although he had entered the King’s domain, he did not know how to live there. Part of him desired to return to the land he had come from to show people the way to this new country. Another part of him wanted to simply enjoy living in the King’s Country. Questioning the integrity of his decision, Charles lay down beside the lake and slept – the most visible demonstration of trust and peace.
Before a year had passed, I would come to understand and appreciate the last memory of this dream in a whole new way. After my journey to Colorado reached its end, I knew that God did not want my service. He simply wanted me. I knew I was a son, but I had no idea what that meant! I knew I could live by the laws of the Kingdom of God (King’s Country), but I didn’t really know what they were. I knew that I no longer needed to live under the rule of money and had the promise of provision as I sought the Kingdom of God. However, I did not know how to construct a system or lifestyle that reflected my freedom and royalty.
The one thing I could figure out was that I needed to seek God’s Kingdom first. Within the verse, the action taken by the individual is to seek the Kingdom of God. Everything else is received through faith as a result of this venture.
Determined to prove the word of God through my life, I am learning what it means to live every day in the pursuit of God and His Kingdom. As a son, I have no obligation beyond my own joy and no sacrifice that is not an investment with immeasurable returns. Each day is a new adventure enjoyed from the safety of a relationship that doesn’t change. I know the One Who created me, Who rules the world that I live in, and Who has adopted me as His son. Whereas the relationship of a servant is one based on the actions I perform, the relationship of the son is one chosen by the father. This is my security.
From this vantage point, I continue to explore the Kingdom that I have entered and will share its secrets as I encounter them through the rest of my life.
As I take to my knees to write what is in my heart, I desire to understand what I am
giving up for. This sacrifice of my life, this pain, this letting go, must be something I do
for a great reward.
The joy set before him, led Jesus to die. The cross where He suffered is now where I died.
Long ago, I gave up the life I once had, to take from Him what He died to give.
Now, in fear that by following in to things I do not know – that I may never understand,
I am forced to once again trust Him with my life and reach out with empty hands.
The good that I had, I dropped to the ground. Now with nothing, O Lord, I come.
Give; give me all that I desire. I desire more of You. I desire only You.
My one great reward and my one great treasure is to know You, to hear Your voice.
Nothing inside me understands this call. It seems like I have given up the world.
Sometimes I wonder if I will look back one day and wonder what fantasy it was,
That drives me to give everything away. Abandoning the life I could have, every day.
Like the ancient ones of faith, I desire a Kingdom that is not of clay,
But I don’t know if, like them, I can spend my entire life waiting for someday.
The pressures around me to conform to the attitudes and lifestyles of normality,
Remind me at once of the gravity of my situation, the futility of life, the morality of
And, by the grace of God, the absolute hopelessness of my situation apart from Christ.
If I were not first drawn into the desire to have what is best, I could not enter rest.
But the rest eludes me in the struggle of war. To keep the faith is tough.
When life is easy, I get careless. When it is hard, I am tempted to let go.
But one thing keeps me holding on, pressing in. I have found a treasure in a field,
An unshakeable Kingdom, a promise that is sure, and a fortune that will not be taken away.
In order to buy, I must give up all that I possess. Including my life. Nothing less.
This payment not to buy, but rather be given. The reward is priceless – sacred by blood.
For me this treasure is free, but I cannot with hands that are full of pleasure
And a heart that is full of pride, find room for a vision that could overflow my life.
So giving up, emptying out, losing what most desire to gain, I complete the suffering,
I buy with a great cost what is already mine to possess: Salvation through Jesus Christ.
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