February 20, 2009
by Charles R. Swindoll
If we hope to demonstrate the level of excellence modeled by Jesus Christ, then we'll have to come to terms with the kingdom we are going to serve: the eternal kingdom our Lord represented and told us to seek (Matt. 6:23) or the temporal kingdom of today.
Let's pause long enough to understand what I'm referring to when I mention the kingdom. It's one of those terms we like to use but seldom define.
Generally speaking, God's kingdom is a synonym for God's rule. Those who choose to live in His kingdom (though still very much alive on Planet Earth) choose to live under His authority.
For centuries God has been at work reestablishing His rulership. Jesus' words in Matthew describe the problem:
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. . . .
"For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (6:24, 32--33)
All this leads me to some helpful news, some bad news, and some good news! The kingdom is the invisible realm where God rules as supreme authority. That's helpful news. The bad news is that we, by nature, don't want Him to rule over us; we much prefer to please ourselves. We don't want anybody other than ourselves ruling over us! Much like those people in a story Jesus once told, "We do not want this man to reign over us!" (Luke 19:14).
Now, the good news. We don't have to live that way. God has given us an avenue of escape. It's called a birth from above. And not until we experience a spiritual rebirth will we submit to God's rule.
So when I write of God's kingdom, I'm referring to His rightful authority over our lives. I remind you---only by letting Him reign in your life can you experience true excellence.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.