Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Whose Kingdom Reigns in Your Life?


Satan is in rebellion against God. He has already lost, and he knows it, but until he is locked up for good he still looks for opportunities to wreak havoc any way he can. (1 Peter 5:8). Knowing he cannot overthrow God makes him angry, frustrated, and he has turned his hatred toward humans, who are made in the image of God. He will do whatever he can to devour or destroy the human race. 

If he can’t kill you, he will try and recruit you into his rebellion against God. If that doesn’t work, he will try everything he can to keep you from walking in God’s kingdom and fulfilling your God-given purpose. You are a threat to him and he knows it. If he can keep you under his domain of darkness you will be out of his way for now, but will ultimately end up in eternal captivity and a slave to darkness.

But there’s good news…

For He (God the Father) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14.

To be under the “domain” of darkness is to be in a place where darkness rules over you. It’s not a place of freedom. It’s not a place where you can do whatever you want. It’s a place of bondage, captivity, stumbling around in the dark, unaware and unable to find your purpose and place in life, and really, unable to find life itself. In this place satan has you where he wants you.

But God…

This Scripture in Colossians tells us that the Father in heaven rescued you from the domain of darkness and transferred you to the kingdom of His beloved Son Jesus. This was done when Jesus died on the cross, and it becomes a reality in your life when you believe in Jesus—that He died for your sin, that the Father raised Him from the dead—and when you confess Him, verbally acknowledging Him, as Lord of your life.

The domain of darkness is still around you, its around all of us, but through faith in Jesus Christ you are pulled out of that domain and placed into the kingdom of Light, even while still here on earth.

The apostle John gives more light on this in quoting Jesus:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

God, the Father, sent His Son Jesus to the earth to die on the cross so you could have eternal life in His kingdom of Light. He didn’t send Jesus to judge and punish people for sinful behavior. There is a time of judgment coming when that will happen, but not yet. Now, He has given us a way to escape this judgment. He sent Jesus to save us—to show us how to come out from under that domain of darkness and into His kingdom of Light. 

Jesus went on to explain:

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18

Whoever is under the domain of darkness is already judged. Jesus didn't need to come pronounce judgment because judgment is already inevitable for those in darkness. Judgment already rules over them. Instead, Jesus came to proclaim a way out of the judgment and into freedom from the domain of darkness. 

He continues:

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. John 3:19-20.

Judgement comes on those in darkness including those who choose not to accept the Light when its offered to them. These are those who turn from the Light—from the rescuing hand of Jesus—and choose instead to stay under the domain of darkness. Instead of being willing to expose their sin and dark deeds to the light of Jesus so they can be forgiven and their sin eradicated, they choose instead to continue in their sin, to stay in the dark and hide, most likely hoping they won’t be found out, or ignoring the fact that there will be a judgment to come. But there is a judgment, and there is no way to opt out of that reality. We cannot be our own god and create our own truth, and if we think we can we are buried deep under the deception of darkness.

Everyone born into this world is born under this domain of darkness, under this judgment, because of the fall in the Garden of Eden. When the first man and woman yielded to the deceiver, they disobeyed their Creator God, who warned them not to eat the fruit of the tree that would kill them. Their spirits died when they ate it which bound them under the dark domain. They died spiritually while their physical bodies lived for a while. 

The entire human race is born in this condition because everything reproduces after its own kind, whether its apples, dogs, fish, or fallen human beings. The first man and woman, bound under the dark domain, destined their children, and the human race, to be under the rule of this dark domain and its judgment.

In this fallen condition the first reaction to doing wrong is to stay in the darkness—to hide rather than admit to the wrong. This is the root of pride.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the gardenGenesis 3:7-8.

They lost the glory of God as their covering, became full of shame, and hid. The awareness of their sin caused them to hide from God.

So what about the Kingdom of Light?

Every kingdom has a king. Jesus is Lord and King in this kingdom of light. But He is also our priest. A priest is a mediator between man and God. Without Him we would have no access to God. We would be forever bound under the domain of darkness. But He came and offered Himself as the sacrifice for sin in our place. The price He had to pay for rescuing us was His own blood.

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:7-10

When Jesus was here on the earth in the flesh, he offered up prayers to God, the One who could have saved Him from death. Jesus wasn’t looking forward to the death on the cross that He knew He would face to pay for our sin. He could have asked God to call off the whole plan and leave mankind under the domain of darkness and all the torment that goes with that. But instead, Jesus submitted His will to the Father’s. And as a result of His obedience, He became the source of our eternal salvation.

During His agonizing prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane before His death on the cross, Jesus submitted His will to the will of the Father in heaven (Luke 22:42). This is the foundation of the kingdom of Light. The kingdom of Light is a kingdom of submission—willful submission—to the will of the Father. In the kingdom of darkness you are under submission to that dark kingdom against your will. You can’t ever leave without the rescue of God through Jesus Christ.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray He said “Your kingdom come. Your will be done.” (Matthew 6:9-10). Once again, the kingdom of Light, the kingdom of God’s Son, is a kingdom of willful submission to the Father.

Jesus told His disciples if anyone wanted to follow Him, (follow Him out of the domain of darkness and into His kingdom of Light) then he would have to take up his cross on a daily basis and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24-25). Like Jesus, our cross is the place of death to our own will and submission to the Father’s. However, unlike Jesus we don’t offer ourselves in physical death, but as a living sacrifice. (We don’t kill ourselves physically!)

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2.

Paul the apostle urged the church to present their bodies a living and holy sacrifice to God. Instead of conforming to the world (the world which is under the rule of the dark domain) he said to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. In so doing they would prove the will of God. 

The apostle Peter wrote that those who enter God's kingdom are themselves a kingdom, and priests unto our God. He called the followers of Jesus a royal priesthood.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10.

Peter also said that Jesus bore our own sin in His body on the cross. Our sin is what wounded Him physically and killed Him. Yet, by those very same wounds we are healed.

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24.

Notice the purpose of our healing is so we may die to sin and live to righteousness. So we are not bound by sin under the rule of darkness, but free to fulfill our purpose in the kingdom of Light.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33.

When we seek His kingdom and His righteousness first above everything else, then all of the things we need for the body, whether food, drink, clothing, extended life (healing), or whatever provision needed for us to live the life we are called to live, is provided for. 

God wants our hearts, our desires, our time and attention, but not by force. He wants us to willingly give them to Him. 

Taking the role of a bond-servant

A bond-servant is one who willingly chooses to serve his master. Jesus was called a bond-servant:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

Jesus didn’t try to hold on to His position of equality with God. Instead He took on the form of a bond-servant, He came to earth as a man, emptied Himself of the benefits of His divinity, so He could suffer and die for our sins.

Choose a Kingdom

Which kingdom would you rather serve in—one who keeps you captive, is completely unable to provide for your eternal life, keeps you in bondage and torment under a motivation of hate, and takes out his wrath toward God on you?  Or would you rather serve a loving heavenly Father whose Son came willingly to die for you so you could enter His kingdom and enjoy the benefits of life, love, healing, provision, and fellowship with God, serving in a royal kingdom as a priest unto a loving, all powerful Creator God?

It really is your choice. But the choice is limited to either staying bound under the control of darkness or freely entering the kingdom of light and love. There is no other plan. And there is no way out of the kingdom of darkness except through Jesus Christ. 

The apostle Paul described his pursuit of Jesus as this:

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:10-14.

Jesus reached into the dark kingdom and laid hold of us for a reason. Paul said he pressed on so that he could discover what that reason was and fulfill it. He wanted to lay hold of that for which Jesus laid hold of him. He continued to press on toward this goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ. In the kingdom of God, there is a reward, but in the domain of darkness under satan there is bondage and death.

The prophet Jeremiah revealed the heart of God when he said:

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

And the psalmist described God’s thorough knowledge of us, who we are, who He made us to be, and His beautiful plans for us as our Creator:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
 will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

Psalm 139:13-16


The Lord’s Prayer:

"“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]"

Matthew 6:9-13






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