Making My Kingdom Work

7 09 2010

Jesus is getting packed and ready to leave. He has been talking about what life ought to look like for His followers once He is gone; He has been talking about it for forty days. All the while, it seems, His disciples have had a niggling question in the back of their mind that Jesus didn’t seem to be addressing; was He going to? It’s all fine and well, this living a surrendered life, this loving your neighbor, and all this about trusting and obeying, but what they are really concerned about finally comes out:

“Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?” (Acts 2:6 NLT)

“Is this the point, Jesus, where you fix things for me?”

In my own complicated little inner world, I realize as much as I know that Jesus came to “serve and not be served” and calls me to the same, I just really want God to serve my interests. I want Him to fix what is bothering me; isn’t that what I pray most about? Praying about my needs is a legitimate prayer, but I want more then that; I want my life to look right to me. I have said that I think when God is in something, there will be a sense of balance to it; you know, that life will be balanced. A friend said back to me, “When did God ever promise that?” He never did.

He did promise me peace (peace comes with trust). He did promise me strength (strength comes through prayer). He did promise me wisdom (wisdom comes through absorbing His words). He did promise me His constant companionship (His presence through my submission to the Holy Spirit). He did promise me freedom (which comes through letting go of my self-interests).

He never promised me that He would make my kingdom work; I have to remember this as I cut-out out concepts for my kingdom.  I want this, and this, and this and if things were “that” way I would be “happy.” God didn’t even promise to make me happy. I invented that idea because it would be nice to be happy in my kingdom, wouldn’t it?

Just as the disciples were waiting to hear about the time when Jesus would make things make sense, I am looking for that too; like it is all going to come together at some point. Like there will be reason and rhyme and resolution.

But I have to look at what Jesus talked about and what He did not talk about; and what He did not talk about is how things would all go for me.  In fact, in Jesus’ answer to His disciples He essentially said, “As far as the details go — when is this going to happen, how is that going to happen — I am not going to talk about it. That is God’s concern, not yours.” And then He spells out what is our concern and that is “in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8) in all corners of our kingdom, in the kingdom next door, in the kingdoms across the ocean (Acts 1:8).

I say this, and I want this to be more important to me than anything else, but I pre-confess that I know something today will catch my eye, something will capture my attention, something will consume me and it will be about, again, my kingdom and not God’s. The cares and concerns of this world are a red herring.

So I just have to end this by praying that God won’t let me get away with it.  Lord, I just invite your Holy Spirit to be after me about this when my prayers turn to asking You to make my kingdom work for me, rather than asking that Your kingdom would work in me.

— Teresa Klassen

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