Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Considering the Lilies: Receiving the Kingdom of God

"Consider the lilies, how they grow... And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.                                       (Luke 12:27, 29-32 NASB)

Our post today is technically a part of the lily series because it's drawn from the passage, but it also joins the Kingdom of God series from several months ago. 

We began the lily series by considering the lily bulb. In case you missed any part of the series, you can click on the links to catch up. We've also considered lily propagation,  lily's dispositiontrue lilies and the importance of the name, the importance of planting the lily bulb deep in the ground, the different varieties of lilies,  living the lily life, and  seeking the kingdom. Yesterday, we looked at choosing freedom from fear, worry, and selfishness.

There's a good reason we don't have to be afraid. Our Heavenly Father has gladly chosen to give us the kingdom. The word translated as kingdom is basileia and indicates the territory or authority of a king. ThereIn are many uses for the kingdom of God, but I'm inclined to believe Jesus is referring not only to the kingdom of God at work in our hearts but to a literal kingdom of God to come when Jesus returns. His little flock of believers will reign with Him during this time. 

King Jesus is coming back and everyone will know that He is in charge.

We won't wonder. We won't doubt. Jesus will make all things clear.

Jesus spoke to people whose government had been taken over by a foreign power (Rome) and whose life was, in many ways, hard. Taxation wasn't fair and the government representatives could take as much of their income as they wanted. They worked hard to provide basic necessities for their families. Jesus, human himself, knew their struggle. 

He had a bit of advice (instruction, really) that would make their journey easier. It's one we should heed, as well. 
Take your eyes off the present difficulty and put them on the future joy to come. 
This life of struggle is not all you'll have. 
The hard times won't last forever.

In their uncertain times, the struggle was real. Their hope of the future was, too, and so is ours. We live in a world where right is called wrong and wrong is called right. Like Nineveh, people "don't know the difference between their right hand and their left". (Jonah 4:11) Christians are slaughtered for their faith. 

Evil is rampant and the reign of terror seems unstoppable. But it's not. One day, the skies will split, Jesus will appear, and the reign of evil and terror will come to an end..

We need to keep our eyes on the sky and our hearts fixed on the hope of our returning Lord because that hope makes all the difference.

Don't fear, dear ones, Jesus told us, I'm coming back and you will share with me in my new Kingdom. Keep your minds fixed on that truth.

I've written before about the kingdom of heaven. Rather than repeating those words, I'm including links to the posts. Click on the link and it will open in a new tab but save your spot here.

Thy Kingdom Come/Heaven-style Worship
The Kingdom of God in Us
The Keys to the Kingdom of God
Thy Kingdom Come, Entering the Kingdom 
Born into the Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God to Come

There's a section from one of the posts listed above that I've read repeatedly this morning, and it's broken my heart all over again. I hope it touches your heart, too.

"If I lack the power of Peter, it is because I want the things of this world more than the power and authority, the knowledge and discipline that Jesus promised. I read those words, shudder at the truth of them, and recognize that it is truly pathetic. Why would I prefer comfort over the incredible delight of following Christ, even when it is hard, knowing that my eternal reward in heaven will be more than adequate recompense? This should not be."

Why would I prefer comfort over the incredible delight of following Christ? That's the question we all need to answer. One day, things will be different. For now, we must follow Him. No matter the cost.
Our Father who art in heaven, forgive my earthly ways. Help me to choose Your paths, Your righteousness, Your ways, no matter the cost. In Jesus name, Amen.