Kingdom Principle: All choices we make in this world will lead to some form of conflict and controversy. Those who walk in the Kingdom of God engage conflict and controversy with peace and joy.
Our call is to make choices that honor others and our identity in Christ.
Life is full of choices – make them in allegiance to the King or other kings will claim you as their own. Our choices will either lead us into intimacy with Jesus or our choices will lead us into idolatry of this world. This is the power of choice. The first indicator of the results of our choices is our immediate emotions based on the decision we made – does the choice lead us to experience contentment or frustration. Think of the last choice you made, what was your experience as a result of the choice… Contentment or Frustrations are merely the doorways to the depths of emotions possible for every choice. The Kingdom is one of Righteousness, Peace & Joy. (Romans 14:17) Righteousness is our Identity in the actions of Christ, and Peace and Joy are our sought out emotions of contentment.
Most people dislike conflict and avoid controversies. Then there are those that thrive on creating conflict and love to stir controversy. The kingdom of this world does not bring forth peace and joy, regardless of one’s ability to avoid conflict or desire to stir controversy. The great irony is that those born of the Kingdom of God are given joy and peace in the midst of conflict and controversy, because their life and faith are rooted in love that is not of this world. This is most important because as you stand for the Kingdom of God, all other kingdoms will be in conflict with you. Jesus explains this in Matt. 6:24 that “no one can serve two masters” and in later Matt. 12:30 he says that “he who is not with me is against me”. This week’s Scriptures paint the picture of the many gods of this age and the kings of the world which are all competing for the allegiance of humanity, and humanity is clamoring to have a king over them. (This is well presented in the movie The Avengers as Loki comes to rule the world).
In 1 Samuel the people are making a choice… it appears to be a good choice. They are rejecting Samuel’s sons because of the choices they have made. The choice of the people is unfortunately reactive, (verses proactive) and it leads them to miss all the available options, so in turning to the world around them (which they can see) they ask for a king, rather than trusting in God. (Whom they can’t see)
God tells Samuel that this decision is the people’s choice to reject him as King. They are priding themselves on rejecting Samuel’s sons, only to miss the bigger picture that means they are giving up the Rule of God over them. The rule of God’s Kingdom is marked with Protection & Provision, Peace & Presence of God (Pleasure). The more seek the Kingdom the more I long to grow deeper into that reality, the reality of true intimacy with Jesus. At the same time the more I understand the paradox and concept of “fixing my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen”, I am drawn to my knees begging the Father to reveal to me this great mystery that I might share it with those around me. In that prayer, Psalm 138 comes to my mind. I desire that all the “kings” of the earth might praise the LORD and in that those who follow such kings will praise the LORD, but regardless I know the LORD will fulfill his purpose for me as his love endures forever.
The choice of the people to have an earthy king, this is the unfortunate reversal of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Peace of God is a complete and perfect, but as a result of rejecting the King of Kings, the people find themselves walking in frustration:
- The people will find themselves protecting their king,
rather than being in the protection of the King.
- The people will find themselves providing for their king,
rather than being provided for by the King.
- The people will find themselves bringing pleasure to their king,
rather than the King presence increasing their joy in life.
And yet as true for Israel then and now of nations today – that is what people choose.
Jesus brings the Kingdom of God back to earth as a choice for all people. In doing so, Jesus faces the conflict and controversy of those who have given their allegiance to other kingdoms. (this includes both religion and worldly ways) Jesus does not make reactive decisions, hoping to please people, rather Jesus seeks to only please the Father and do his will. In doing this, Jesus demonstrates a completely anchored identity in the love of the Father, thus his actions/choices are ones which will also lead to greater Fruit of the Spirit (starting with peace and joy).
In this world there will be conflict and controversy. It will come as a result of your choices. Those who choose the Kingdom of Heaven, will be opposed by every other kingdom of this world. In the midst of this conflict they will have increasing peace and joy. Those who choose the kingdoms of the world will have conflict and controversy as they each seek to rule over one another desiring the power of heaven, but never finding it. Therefore the choices/actions of those in kingdoms of this world lead to depression and despair.
What is the Father of Heaven calling you to make a choice about – Do you have peace and joy about this decision? If not, have you seen other options? (be proactive and explore new ideas) When no other ideas emerge, focus your attention on God’s love for you. His Love and Identity of righteousness will lead you forward.
When have you been accused of wrong doing or completely mis-understood for your efforts to serve the King? How can you be thankful for such experiences, without blaming or judging (reactive) others?
Where have you struggled to walk in obedience because of the accusations of others or even the lies of the enemy telling you to give-up because you are not good enough? Trust in the blood of Jesus to cover you and cleanse you from all wrong doing. Allow the Spirit to bring conviction to the world, while you walk in freedom.
Finally, as children of the King our heart has been changed and the very blood that flows through our veins is the blood of Jesus – in this we have been born again from above. How do you see and experience the “Family of God” differently because of being reborn? Where is there conflict or controversy with your “family of origin” because of this??? How might joy and peace be the answer to this conflict?