The Bible is full of parables that illustrate principles of the kingdom of heaven (or kingdom of God). Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Godís government is kingdom-operated. A kingdom is the domain of a king. The kingís domain, rule or influence can be referred to as the kingdom of the king. There are many facets of the kingdom of God. There is a coming kingdom, a present expression of it and there was an expression of this kingdom in history. So there is a past, a present and a future aspect to the kingdom of God. It is an eternal kingdom designed to rule ultimately over all other kingdoms of the earth.
The present expression of the kingdom of God is seen in the lives of people who have a living contact with Him. These ones allow His government to rule over their lives. It is a product of the choices they have made. They received Jesus as Godís sacrifice for their sins; they repented and believed in the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. They entered into a relationship with God and slowly these people began to allow the influence of God to rule every area of their lives. ďOf the increase of His government and peace there is no end.Ē (Isaiah 9:7)Godís will, can be found in His Word. Many want to experience His will without allowing His government in their lives. Could this be one reason for many inconsistencies in the lives of believers?
The writers of the New Testament had a good grip on the lifestyle that allows Godís government in their lives so as to receive Godís peace and Godís increase in their lives. No wonder they experienced Godís power in many ways. Godís kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). The manifestation of these qualities is a demonstration of His kingdom. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 that we should seek first His kingdom and righteousness then all the things needed shall be added to us. His kingdom represents Godís ways of getting things done, His government. Could this be why James advises us to ďcount it all joy when we fall into diverse trialsĒ (James 1:2)? What about ďthe God of peace crushing Satan shortly under our feetĒ? External contrary situations seem to stir up the latent qualities of Godís kingdom within us. Paul advises us in Philippians 4:6-8 to be carefree and to pray about everything and God will attend to our souls. To continue in this peace, we are also instructed to choose our thoughts. Apostle Peter also helps us in 1 Peter 5: 5-7 in a similar light. He lets us see that the enemy is behind all our anxieties; we give Satan a foothold in our lives when we yield to cares and anxieties. Basically I hear the admonition from these men of God: Allow Godís government to rule your thoughts, emotions and will and watch His peace and joy produce strength and victory in your life. Colossians 3:15 also says we should let Godís peace rule in our hearts. Whenever we yield our members to be in subjection to Godís government we allow Him to demonstrate His power on our behalf. Your kingdom come, then your will be done. Whoeverís kingdom we yield ourselves to, the will of that person shall be done. This is true in our personal lives and it is also true corporately. We must choose who we yield ourselves to: sin, the flesh and the world or, on the other hand, God, His Word and His ways. We reap corruption if we yield to the flesh and life eternal, if we yield to the Spirit of grace.
REPEATED ACTIONS ARE GOVERNED BY PRINCIPLES
Principles rule! When we learn a principle and apply it regularly, we tend to allow it to rule our behaviour and hence define our character. This we should do towards godly principles. The same is true with negative actions and attitudes. They too are based on principles. There are principles that govern sin in a human beingís life. These sin generating principles tend to enslave people, unlike the life-generating ones, that we need to learn and practise. The governing principle of sin is one based on selfishness, found in 1 John 2: 15-17, called the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. These govern the worldly operations, practises and systems of thought. When man became ungodly, through the fall of Adam and Eve, the principle or law of sin was lodged in his body according to Romans 7:23. Verses 17-24 makes it clear that something has taken hold of the human being in his members and that thing is sin. It works by principles. What the flesh longs for, what the eyes desire and taking a sense of significance in something other than God all work together to produce the present degree of sexual immorality, perversion and absolute worship of the human body and its lusts. Since they are at work in the members of the human body, they tend to have a great degree of control over the lives of those who have not had a spiritual re-birth by being born again. Those who have been born again need to reckon themselves as dead to sin but alive unto God as stated in Romans 6:11-14.
GOVERNING PRINCIPLES DEFINE WHOSE GOVERNMENT YOU ARE UNDER
Luke 19:11-27 says ďAnd as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.Ē
In this passage of scripture Jesus talks about the appearing of the kingdom. From Lukeís account we can see some glimpses of kingdom principles contained in the story Jesus told. It captures not just a parable of the kingdom but also some kingdom principles. If well understood and applied, they will become our governing principles in all we do so that we can truly allow His government in our lives and thus experience His order, peace and increase in our lives. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. This can be true in our individual lives as well as corporately in His church. We become properly aligned with His kingdom as we submit to his will as contained in His instructions, as we apply the principles of His kingdom and through personal fellowship with Him. There are 7 principles we can glean from this account of the parable in Luke 19 from verse 11. They are the potential principle, the receiving principle, the engagement principle, the stewardship principle, the warfare principle, the reward principle and the maintenance principle. If we let these principles govern our understanding and practise we will not have too many conflicts in walking in obedience to whatever God tells us to do.
1) THE POTENTIAL PRINCIPLE
Everything God gives has the potential for increase in value and worth. For example, the earth contains minerals, trees contain wood and human beings can reproduce themselves. Everything God created is loaded with potential. Unfulfilled potential is said to be one of the greatest tragedies in the life of human beings. For potential to be harnessed, discoveries are necessary, then the principle of intake and output when applied correctly will bring about maximising the discovered potential and will increase the value of the original thing. One verse of scripture has the potentials of God hidden in it and it takes a believer to keep at it so that the power in it can be released by revelation. Then, when applied, the believer experiences the provision within the promise given by the scripture.
2) THE RECEIVING PRINCIPLE
Also seen in Mark 11:23-24, we need to know what has been given to us so we can step up to receive it. The blessings that became available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross remain largely unclaimed by believers. They are kept from these blessings either by ignorance or by wrong teaching. God places demands on us according to His provisions and potentials within us. In Romans 8:15, Paul says we have received the Spirit of adoption. Have we? We receive by faith not by sight. We come into possession of what He has provided by believing and receiving.
3) THE ENGAGEMENT PRINCIPLE
This principle simply states that Godís will in our lives demands our involvement and participation. We need to participate with God for His purposes to be worked out in our lives. We do this also by faith. We believe and obey what He says and trust Him to do His part. His Word carries His integrity. (Luke 11:13)
4) THE STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE
As seen in Luke 11:15-16, we are to own all that God gives us with a stewardship mentality. Stewards use what has been given them for the benefit of the giver. Stewardship implies accountability to the master. Everything in life was given for a purpose and we shall give account as we use them for the purpose for which they were given. A sense of accountability to God should deliver us from selfish pride. What do we have that we were not given? We are to function as faithful stewards who have received grace from God to be all He wants us to be and to do all we do as unto Him who gave us life in the first place. What a lifestyle this principle will produce!
5) THE WARFARE PRINCIPLE
Luke 11:14 shows us that we are in enemy territory and the goods from the master have the capacity to withstand opposition. We are still expected to get results irrespective of opposition. A table is prepared before us in the presence of our enemies. (Psalm 23:5) We will go right ahead and carry out our assignment knowing full well that we have opposition present. We war and build at the same time like the folks working with Nehemiah. There is warfare within and warfare without. Both go on simultaneously and yet we are expected to bear fruits, produce results and glorify the Lord in the midst of warfare. Rule in the midst of your enemies.
6) THE REWARD PRINCIPLE
The master rewards faithfulness. (See Luke 11:17,19,24) Increase follows faithfulness. To apply these principles, we should set goals that will cause us to engage with God in whatever He is doing in our lives, goals that will challenge us to grow and be more productive. We should seek opportunities to utilise what God has given us with a humble disposition. We should be reaching out to more people as we preach the gospel to them, trusting God that they will come to salvation and begin the process of discipleship.
7) THE MAINTENANCE PRINCIPLE
We should never forget our walk with God as we work for Him. Constant contact with God is a must if we are to fulfil His purposes in our lives. We will run dry if we lose contact with our source. Our motivation, strength and flow will cease if we lose touch with our life-giving God. The key to this contact is our prayer life and our study life. The psalmist said the man who delights in Godís Word shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water whose roots are deep into the water bed below the river and draws nutrients even in dry times from the deep source (Psalm 1). In study and meditation we dig deep to draw on the water of life. In prayer we demonstrate our dependence on God and have intimate times with Him in worship. His Spirit has a freedom to mingle with our spirits, bring fresh insight into His ways and rejuvenate us in our battles and strivings in life. If we are to constantly touch other lives as we should, we need to be in constant touch with the One who can sustain us in this life of faith. Build with these principles and watch God do the impossible in your life. Read more about fulfilling purpose in our cyber message section of our website www.fowm.org. If you would like to build a relationship with us, check out the website www.kolaewuosho.com and register your interest there. God bless you as you pray with us ďThy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heavenĒ Amen.