Acquiring the Kingdom of God
Heaven is totally outside of our current understanding, how do we acquire this kingdom?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
The poor are hungry. They are desperate. They beg. They plead. They want what you have. Jesus says that if you are poor in spirit, and thus desperately hungry to have more of His Spirit, “Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven (God)!” You must want it above all else.
But there is a problem where we are today. We are very rich in this country ourselves.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:23)
It’s hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom because it is so easy to be distracted by the world and its material possessions. Attaining the kingdom requires singular focus on Him which is impossible to do when you are focused on stuff. We must be willing to give up everything for Him in order to receive the kingdom life that He offers.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45″Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-45)
As Jesus said many times, we must give up all claims and desires in this life for His.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
Why would anyone be willing to do such a thing?
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)
If you’ve had any substantial spiritual growth in your life than you’ve had to give up things that were very special to you. You held dearly to them and did not want to give them up. But if you knew the Lord was calling you to give them up, and you did, you can surely look back on that decision as one of the most blessed you have made because of the ways that God has shown up in your life to bless you in ways that you never expected.
If it was a universal sin that you were turning away from, you probably have far greater understanding now then you ever considered possible for why a person should not do these things. If it was simply a personal direction, you’ve surely found the new direction that He’s given you far more rewarding than you ever expected your once prized direction to be. This is His way. These are His promises. This is the kingdom life.
To receive all that He has for you, you must…
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9″Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)
Seek Him. Put all else down and seek Him! You will find more than you can imagine in His kingdom. But it is important to remember that you will not only have to lay down material possessions, but you will have to lay down things that some hold far dearer.
You will have to lay down theologies, ideologies and philosophies. Be ready to have your mind renewed. I’m positive that God will teach me many things in the future that directly contradict the understanding that I have today. He will do the same to you if you are willing to follow Him. We pick up many bits of knowledge along the way and some of these things we believe are very Godly. But in fact, they are the wisdom of Man. Are you willing to lay them down and be taught by God? His ways are higher!
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17)
A child is an unspoiled vessel who soaks up knowledge. Children are full of questions and wonder and excited to learn. Do you approach God in this way, or do you approach Him as one who is wise and know many things? The tricky part is that most of us know full well that there are areas which we don’t know much about. Yet, there are others that, although we don’t even think we hold this position, we are arrogant in our understanding. These understandings are very hard to lay down. Are you willing?
“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17)
Many will never be willing and the Lord will have to set them aside as He pours the new wine of His kingdom into those who are willing to set aside all preconceived ideas about what His spiritual life and His kingdom are, and be taught about the directly from Him! We must be willing to be still and only do what the Father is doing. To submit our lives totally to Him! This is far more difficult than it sounds. But the wonderful thing is that His burden is not heavy. If we truly want Him and His kingdom above all else, He will make a way. He will show us where we hold things in higher esteem than Him. And each time, He will offer us the narrow road option of laying that prized possession down, or the wide road option trying to hold onto both. We are entering a season where the wide road will be shaken severely. Choose wisely.
This is Part 7 in the series Kingdom of God. To continue with this series, click on Pt 8. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading Part 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4, Pt 5 and Pt 6.
Photo credit: Mario Bellavite