Possessing The kingdom of God
In Matthew 13:44, the Kingdom of God is likened to a man who finds treasure hidden in a field and goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. This parable is simple and clear. To possess the kingdom, we must be willing to sell all that we have and buy into it. Unless we are willing to give up all that we have and who we are, we cannot truly follow The Lord. Unless we are willing to relinquish the right to live as we want, we cannot truly function in and possess the Kingdom.
This passage of scripture has been used to teach success and motivational principles. If you look at it superficially, it talks about focus and total commitment to your objective. Many have used this passage of scripture to teach people how to make money and possess material things. But this passage of scripture has absolutely nothing to do with material and financial success. Watering down kingdom principles to satisfy the longing of the covetous and greedy has been the bane of the church.
This passage of scripture is not talking about acquiring material possessions or becoming financially successful. In fact it talks about the exact OPPOSITE! It talks about the willingness to give up all our material and financial possessions if we really want to gain the kingdom. It talks about counting everything we own on this planet as worthless compared to the glory of possessing the kingdom. The kingdom is the real treasure and nothing on earth is comparable to it.
In Mark 10:17-22, a young man ran after Jesus and said he wanted to possess the kingdom. Jesus told him that he lacked just one thing. He told him to SELL ALL that he had, give everything to the poor and follow Him. That didn’t go down well with the young man because the bible records that he was rich. The one thing he lacked was the willingness to give up everything he hard worked for to gain the kingdom. That man’s heart was taken captive by covetousness and Jesus wanted to break its hold over his life. Read Luke 12:15. Jesus wanted to show him the real value of the kingdom and the man got the picture. He went away very sad realising that he couldn’t do what Jesus demanded of him.
Talking about possessing the kingdom was easy for that man. Dreaming about it was easy. But when he was faced with the truth, when he was faced with the reality of giving up everything he had worked for his entire life, the young man realised that the demands of the kingdom were more than he had anticipated, they were more than he was willing to commit to. The demands of the kingdom cut deep into his soul and exposed The covetousness reigning within him. He was at the mercy of the money and material things he had accumulated. He had become a slave to earthly things. The kingdom demanded ALL of him or nothing at all. The kingdom demanded that he give his very soul to follow Jesus.
Many people walk on the periphery of the kingdom, making their own rules, living their own lives, walking their own path, doing what pleases their own heart, deceiving themselves that they are following The Lord. Such self deception is seen in the emptiness, lack of peace and lack of depth that plagues their lives. Real peace, real meaning, real fulfilment can only be found in our total commitment to The Lord Jesus. Like the young man in Mark 10, many have all the material things but still are unable to walk the path of the kingdom.
Walking with The Lord is not easy. It is tough. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus said the way that leads to life is difficult. Anybody who tells you otherwise is a deceiver and a liar. In Luke 14:26-33, Jesus said we should sit down and count the cost before we make a decision to follow Him. Only a fool embarks on a journey he hasn’t thought through. Jesus said if we are not ready to forsake ALL that we have, we cannot be His disciples. He was not talking about ‘spiritual things’, He was talking about material and financial things and earthly accomplishments. Jesus did not expect everyone to follow Him. He knew the demands of the Kingdom would be difficult for many. He knew the demands will seem odious, annoying and even mean to many. Isn’t it just plain ‘mean’ to ask you to give up all your years of education, all your degrees, all your material and financial possessions, all your achievement, your career, your dream and ambition and follow Him in the direction of His OWN choosing and not yours? Isn’t it ‘heartless’ of Him to ask you to abandon a career you have spent years building and move in a totally different direction because He wants you to?But that is the true demand of the Kingdom.
So before we get carried away by fancy preaching which titilates and excites our emotions, He asked us to sit down and count the cost of following Him. The truth is that we cannot possess the kingdom on our own terms. We cannot follow The Lord on our own terms. We cannot be true believers if we insist on living our lives on our own terms. To follow The Lord, to truly function in and possess the Kingdom, it must be on His own terms. We must be ready to give up all and everything we have if we want to walk in the very centre of His Will and possess the Kingdom.
That is the Truth and reality of walking with The Lord Jesus.