16
Jun
09

Miserable in the kingdom of God

I want to write more blog entries about the fact that if you have truly accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior, and you have experienced what is written in Romans 8:15 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” there is no way you can lose your salvation and your place in Christ’s family and kingdom no matter how you think/feel/behave, and actually you’ll discover as you dive into the New Testament that the question of losing your salvation isn’t one that the Biblical authors spend much energy on. They simply don’t think that that would be a relevant question for somebody who has truly accepted Christ and has become a new creation in him! 

Another question that I’ve thought about is: “can you be miserable in the kingdom of God?“. And to that question the answer is a clear yes! You don’t have to experience the blessings of being in the kingdom of God. You are not forced to enjoy everything that Christ has bought for you. God won’t twist your arm to make you eat of the living bread and drink of the living water that is Christ and experience the healing that he came to bring. 

The truth is that if you’re in God’s kingdom you are free! You are free to enjoy the benefits and the blessings of living a surrendered life where Jesus is Shepherd and you are just a sheep following him. Jesus calls that life abundant (John 10:10). It’s a wonderful life where you get to experience what Paul talks about as both love (Ephesians 3:19) and peace (Philippians 4:7) that goes beyond regular human understanding. Jesus could be asleep in the boat in the midst of a storm because he knew who he was and was free to rest in the fact that he was God’s beloved child (Mark 4:35-41). “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free“, Paul cries out in Galatians 5:1 and he continues: “stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery“. You are free to live the abundant life of the kingdom. Circumstances may not be different than other peoples’ circumstances, but you can get to experience peace, joy, excitement, love, passion and everything else that’s truly great in the midst of whatever circumstances, because you know that Jesus Christ is always there with you, and you know you’re safe in him and with him!

I am a member of the Danish kingdom. I have a Danish passport, and if I move back to Denmark again, I will get to enjoy the benefits of being a Danish citizen again. I will get the education I want, the health care I need, etc. without having to pay extra for it. It’s part of the blessings of being a Danish citizen. But I don’t have to enjoy a single blessing of being a Dane. Nobody forces me to do it. I don’t have to ever go to Denmark again and reap any of the blessings of my kingdom. 800px-Dannebrog
And in the same way you don’t have to experience the blessings of being in the kingdom of God. You are free to hold on to your Christianity misunderstanding where all Jesus did was buy you a ticket for Heaven, which will guarantee you free entry to Heaven the day you die. Many people live as if that’s all Jesus did for them. They don’t see that Christ promised them abundant life today! Not just when we die. It’s very possible to be miserable in the kingdom of God. To stand towards the edge of the kingdom and pout with other people who in essence are saying: we wish we were like the people outside of the kingdom! Many Christians live like this. They have recreated and new spirits and they have the fullness of God dwelling within them, but they have cut themselves away from experiencing the blessings of their new reality in their soul and body, either because they simply don’t know that they are new, perfect creations in Christ (2. Corinthians 5:17), and they still believe the Satanic lie that they are just “dirty, rotten sinners saved by grace“. Or maybe they know something about who they are, but they are still not trusting God to be God, and they try to make life happen based on themselves, their resources, their flesh – and Paul yells out at them: “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?“. (Galatians 3:3)

Or maybe it’s simply just a matter of fear. We are in the kingdom, but we are still afraid of the king. We haven’t had it revealed to us that God is good. Like Lucy in C. S. Lewis’s magnificent story “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was wondering about the lion Aslan, we are wondering about Jesus: “is he safe?”, and we need to have it revealed to us the way Lucy did that “no, Jesus isn’t safe, but he is GOOD“. He is not safe in the sense that you can control him like a little pet, but he is good. Infinitely good. And all his thoughts towards us are good and filled with love. 

800px-Lion_waiting_in_Nambia

Jesus asked a somewhat weird question to a disabled man in John 5: “do you want to get well?“. And he is asking you, the child of the kingdom, the same question today. We are also sick, with bruised and battered souls and bodies after rejections and abuse, but Jesus knows that our lives will be changed completely if we receive healing, and he is not going to force himself on us. The disabled man had to trust Jesus to change his reality completely, and we need the same reality change from Jesus. He will not force us to experience the healing life of being in his kingdom, but he is extending the invitation to all of us.

I used to think that abundant life and peace and joy were illusions, until Jesus started opening my eyes to the realities of life in the kingdom of God! I thank Jesus that he did that, and I know he’ll do the same for you. Just ask him.

Blessings, Torben

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