The Kingdom Power Within Us

Daily Devotional: Day 199

“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).

For several centuries, the Israelites were expecting the Messiah’s arrival. However, they didn’t have the same kind of expectations. Many, especially the religious leadership, expected the Messiah to be a political leader who would establish a physical kingdom and redeem Israel from their political enemies. This will explain why when Herod heard about the birth of Jesus, he panicked – supposing that Jesus would come for his throne (cf. Matthew 2:1-3). Others, however, had more spiritual and religious expectations.

In today’s Bible passage, the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. He responds by stating that the kingdom of God does not come with observation. It’s not ‘here!’ or ‘there!’ In other words, God’s kingdom has no geographical parameters. You will see the effects of the kingdom, but the kingdom has no physical structures. It cannot be identified with any nation, kingdom or system in the world.

The kingdom of God spreads its influence through righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (cf. Romans 14:17) manifested by believers – children of the kingdom. When Jesus stood before Pilate, He minced no words about the nature of His kingdom, “My kingdom is not of this world” (cf. Matthew 18:36), He declared. Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus added, “the kingdom of God is within you.” To most Israelites of His day, Jesus’ definition of the kingdom was disappointing and unsatisfactory. They expected a Messiah who would give them something more than an invisible kingdom. The kind of ‘kingdom’ Jesus offered wasn’t good enough. No wonder the majority rejected Him.

For us today, Jesus’ message about the kingdom is no different. He wants us to have the right expectations and knowledge about how the kingdom of God works. Jesus says that the kingdom of God is within us. That makes us special people endowed with supernatural and royal power. It would, therefore, be a mistake for Christians to seek God’s kingdom in the physical world and its systems.

It would further be erroneous to look for God’s kingdom in a physical location, including even the church building. God does not dwell in a temple made with human hands (cf. Acts 7:47-50). Jesus is not in a room, box or tabernacle made with human hands. Rather, He lives in us. His presence, His power and His Kingdom, is within us who make up the Body of Christ. We don’t need to look far for deliverance. Let’s learn – through faith – to recognize Jesus’ power, grace and deliverance at work within us. And let’s spread the influence of His kingdom wherever we go. 

God bless you!

For further study: 1 Peter 2:1-10

Knowing When to Stand Down

Daily Devotional: Day 92

“But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “You shall not go up or fight against your brethren! Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” Therefore they obeyed the words of the Lord, and turned back from attacking Jeroboam” (2 Chronicles 11:2-4, NKJV).

Rehoboam succeeded Solomon as King of Israel, but he was rude and mean toward the elders of Israel. Consequently, within a short time, all the tribes of Israel, except Judah and Benjamin, separated and created their own independent kingdom (of Israel) in the north, making Jeroboam their king. In response to the north’s rebellion, Rehoboam assembled 180, 000 warriors to go fight them and restore the unity of the kingdom.

God, however, told Rehoboam to call off the attack. God further explained that the separation that had occurred was from Him. The south subsequently obeyed the Lord’s voice and returned home without attacking their own people in the north.

What can we learn from this incident? First, not all battles are for you to fight. And not all situations call for your involvement. Even though you may feel justified to respond to a developing situation, the Lord may be asking you to stand down.

It is vital to listen to the voice of God in prayer before you get involved in certain situations. Otherwise, you may find yourself going against the will of God, draining your energy and resources, hurting yourself and others, or making a bad situation worse.

Second, certain things that happen are directly from God – for reasons best known to Him – and He doesn’t want you to intervene. In such situations, you must stand down and let God Himself deal with it. To do this, it is necessary that you develop a close relationship with the Father, because that’s the only way you’ll know whether He wants you to take action or He wants you to stand down. May the Lord give you a discerning heart. Amen.

Prayer:

Holy Father, grant me a spirit of discernment to know what you want me to do in every situation. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: 2 Chronicles 10:1-19

The Price of Righteousness

Daily Devotional: Day 55

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10, KJV).

 The Bible shows us what to expect when we choose to follow Jesus. Blessings will follow us, but so shall persecution. Today’s passage is taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus knew the price his followers would pay, and he has prepared us for it. He says today that there’s a price to pay for walking in righteousness. The Bible warns us of spiritual warfare. God wants his kingdom to expand, but the Enemy won’t go quietly. Righteousness poses a threat to the kingdom of evil. If you decide to follow Jesus, you’re deciding to follow righteousness, and that makes you a threat to the kingdom of evil. Sooner or later, you’ll be persecuted for your righteousness. Even as preacher of the Gospel, you can be persecuted for calling people to righteousness. Sometimes the persecution is direct; other times, it’s subtle and indirect. You’re blessed, Jesus says, if you get persecuted for righteousness sake; yours is the kingdom of heaven.

Paul made a similar point when he wrote to Timothy, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). We live in a world that increasingly finds godliness repulsive. Even among Christians, you can be persecuted for righteousness sake. That shouldn’t surprise you. The Bible says these things shall happen. Take comfort in the promises of Jesus. When people persecute you because you stand for righteousness, it means your light is shining. Rejoice, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer:

Dear Father, thank you for the revelation of your righteousness. Give me the courage to live out your righteousness and to proclaim it without fear. In the Name of Jesus.

For further study: Luke 6:20-26

Worship the Lord Alone

Daily Devotional: Day 43

“And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:6-7, KJV)

Satan’s goal hasn’t changed; he wants to be worshiped. He’s determined to usurp the throne of God and get people to worship him, in place of the one true God. And he can get people to worship him directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. Today’s scripture recalls Jesus’ victory over the Devil’s temptations during his forty-day fast. In this instance, the Devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment. Then, observe what happens next. He promises to give Jesus all the power and glory of the world, on one condition: If Jesus would worship him. The Greek word for worship used here is proskuneo. It means, among other things, to fall prostrate, to bow or kneel in reverence. Jesus, of course, rejected Satan’s suggestion.

However, the Enemy’s statement reveals much about his intentions. He controls the glory and power of the world. The words “glory” and “power” used in this context refer, not to the physical universe or creation, but the systems of the world: the materialistic and consumerist culture, the exaltation of self, the insatiable craving for attention and fame, greed, corrupt financial systems, the unholy glamor of the entertainment industry, ungodly systems of education, systems of injustice and oppression, anti-Christ ideologies, false religions, and evil political powers who together dominate and influence world affairs. Through the glory and power of these systems, Satan rules the world in unrighteousness.

The Devil gets many people to compromise their conscience as well as their moral and religious values for the sake of worldly power and the approval of people. Jesus knew this trap and avoided it. Even today, some “Christians” have fallen for the charm of worldly power and glory. But the truth is, when you choose worldly power and glamor over the truth of God’s Word, you become a worshiper of power and glory. And the moment you worship power and glory, you inevitably become a worshiper of the Devil. This is what Satan wanted Jesus to do.

Recall, moreover, what happened in the Garden of Eden. Satan enticed Eve with a supposed power to make her and Adam like God. Given the choice between power and God, Eve chose power. Adam, too, when presented with the choice between Eve and God’s truth, chose his wife, i.e. he chose to obey his wife rather than obey the commandment of God his Maker. To overcome this and other temptations of the flesh, we must follow Jesus’ counsel, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Pray:

Dear Father, you’re all I want. In Christ, you have given me your own glorious life and power. In the Name of Jesus, I worship you alone and I refuse to bow to anything that is not you. Amen.

For further study: Daniel 3:1-30