You may not know it, but you have a kingdom. Yes, it’s your kingdom. But it might not be the one you are thinking of.
You may think that I don’t, but I do: I play computer games. I actually like those sorts of games where I get to be the king of my own domain and I build up my kingdom. After all, if I can’t have my own kingdom in the real world, I can do it online.
I don’t think I’m unusual. I think, in one way or another, we’d all like to have our own kingdom. The problem is that it’s all too easy to think that the kingdom we should build is a kingdom that follows the self-centred and materialistic values of this world.
Do you know what your kingdom is?
This issue is so important, it formed the basis of the third and final temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. The gospel of Matthew tells us that:
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:8–11)
Do you know what your kingdom is?
I’ve got to say that although I enjoy it when playing computer games, I’m actually not very good at building kingdoms online. And I naturally wish that in real life there was a short-cut to kingdom-building. This is so tempting, and Jesus was tempted in the same way.
Building kingdoms opposed to God’s
According to Satan, the shortcut to possessing the kingdoms of this world is to worship him.
Worshipping Satan isn’t as difficult as popular culture may have portrayed it. It doesn’t involve strange symbols, wearing funny robes, and chanting in a strange language; not at all!
You worship Satan by worshipping yourself, and you do this by making yourself the absolute centre of your life. Selfish living is attractive, because it gives you the illusion that you are building your kingdom in real life. But when you live selfishly, you are actually worshipping Satan.
This is the temptation Jesus was faced with, to have his own kingdom in opposition to God.
In reality, this is what people who are ruled by pride are trying to do on this earth: trying to build your kingdom in opposition to God.
But this isn’t a game, and it’s never going to end up well.
The one kingdom worth having
The kingdom God has promised to give you is the only one worth having.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he knew that the only kingdom worth having is the kingdom that God has promised to give you.
To those who follow Jesus, he says:
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
This kingdom had earlier been promised in the book of Daniel, which tells us that:
…the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever — yes, for ever and ever (Daniel 7:18).
This is a kingdom that includes, but that is not of this world (John 18:36). Because it isn’t a kingdom of this world, it isn’t easily seen in this world through our physical senses. This was never more clearly evident than at the Cross.
To all humanly discernment, the crucifixion of Jesus was an abysmal failure. However, there was one person there who recognised that, through his blood, Jesus was establishing the foundation of a kingdom that would never be destroyed. This person was the criminal who was crucified beside the Lord.
He said to Jesus: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
Doesn’t it takes faith to see the kingdom of God when all we see in front of us is the end of everything? Most people don’t see it because they are trying to build their own kingdom in opposition to God’s.
It’s always doomed to fail. That’s the folly of pride.
Those who are humble simply trust in God and receive the kingdom from him. That’s how you can have your kingdom, and you can have it today!
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question. Sign up to his free online course called Becoming a Follower of Jesus to learn about Jesus and His message.