Our Father, which is in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Whose Kingdom? His Kingdom! A lot of ministers and wannabes seem to be more focussed on building their own kingdom. I have been there, too, but eventually it filtered through to me that some of the things I thought would be really cool, if God were to empower me in certain ways, would be more glorifying to me than to Him.
It is not "all about me" for any of us. It is all about Him. It was Yehoshua who came down from His splendor to live on this scuzzy planet for three decades, not as He did before in a supernatural body that could turn off His sense of smell, if He chose to do so (I would sometimes, if I could), but one that had to endure the stench of sweaty bodies, bad breath, rotting food, dead animals left lying around, animals being gutted in preparation for food, mold, perfume gone rancid, sewage from both people and animals (though the Jews were cleaner than other nations), and people around Him passing gas. I'll tell ya, just because of the smells alone, it was no picnic for God to come down here to this decaying planet.
In addition to living among all this squalor (after living in Heaven, even a pristine and elegant palace would seem like a shabby, dirty lean–to), Yehoshua put up with nasty behaviour from people, and that was even before the religious leaders got stirred up with envy against Him. He first of all got bombed with negative vibes when he was a baby in His mother's womb, by people who supposed that she had committed adultery and was carrying a bastard.
Then there was that night that He was born, and His weary mother was shunned and given only a stable to lie down in to give birth. Among the first things He smelled was the pungent odour of animal dung and sweat. There were some good vibes from people here and there after that, and the adoration of the wise men, but right away afterwards, He was bundled up in the night and carried off to Egypt to escape a maniac king who wanted to kill Him.
Yehoshua spent His early years in a Jewish enclave, but His eyes occasionally beheld the idols of people who worshipped the demons and fallen angels that lurked within those dead objects, not suspecting that the Lord of all Creation walked among them as a curly–haired, olive–skinned, little boy with big, solemn, brown eyes.
Yehoshua did no miracles at this time, contrary to the many fables. The Bible clearly states that turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, after He was baptized, was His first miracle. It is interesting that when He was baptized, before He did any miracles, God announced from Heaven that Yehoshua was His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. It goes to show that, though spiritual gifts are important and should be sought after and developed for the expansion and edification of the Church, character matters more to God than being able to work miracles.
Yehoshua had no ability in His flesh to work miracles. He laid that ability aside when He came to Earth. It did not come upon Him until the Father sent the Holy Ghost to rest upon Him. Yehoshua wanted to demonstrate to us how we can abide in the Holy Ghost and do the same things He did, after we are reconciled to the Father through repenting of our sins and receiving Him as our Lord and Saviour.
After a time, there was a hot, gritty journey back to Israel to settle in Nazareth, His mother's town, where He was subjected to the cruelties of gossip and slander. It did not matter how good and kind He was as a person, or how skilled and honest as a tradesman; some people still persisted in looking down their nose in scorn at Yehoshua because they thought He was illegitimate.
He was also considered to be of low birth, and some scorned him on that score, as well. There seems to be a rumour that Mary had aristocratic connections. That could be, but such things don't necessarily make much of a difference. I had an uncle who was fourth cousin to the Churchills. He was a school teacher and he married my mother's sister. My cousins grew up in a middle class home. The oldest son was offered a title and a place in the House of Lords, but he had no money to go with it, so he turned it down.
The bottom line is that, though Mary was descended from King David through his son Nathan, and Joseph was descended from the royal line through King Solomon, they were poor. They couldn't even afford a lamb to offer at the Temple when Yehoshua was born; they had to make do with a couple of pigeons. Yehoshua bore the stigma, not only of illegitimacy, but also in the eyes of some, of peasantry.
And yet, He was (and is) the King of kings, the Lord of the whole Universe! He is probably even the Lord of zillions of universes. I am not talking about screwy things like parallel universes. When people mess around in the occult and practice astral projection where they think they are visiting other planets and universes, it is just a demonic illusion. If God has other universes, they are probably completely different from ours and our minds are not able to comprehend even the least little thing in those universes because they are not yet equipped to do so. Who has known the mind of the Lord? (Romans 11:34) Anyway, the only universe we need to be concerned about is the one we live in. Not even satan can go beyond its boundaries, if he has the freedom to move outside of our solar system. The point is, God is way bigger than we can comprehend.
It was this immeasurably powerful and majestic God who came down to this dingy Earth, lived among us for thirty some odd years, and then allowed Himself to be arrested, abused, and murdered so that we could be set free from the stains and the power of sin. Really, do any of us have any right to seek our own glory? It is especially despicable to do it through using Christian ministry (considering what Yehoshua went through), to elevate ourselves above others and for personal gain that we are not entitled to.
If God promotes us, that is another thing, and every labourer is worthy of their hire. It is okay to have adequate housing and drive a decent car that doesn't look beat up or break down a lot, but when ministers take money from the poor to live in mansions and drive luxury cars, something is wrong.
If rich people buy those things for them, then okay, as long as they are willing to subsidize the extra expense of upkeep and taxes so that the ministers don't start putting the squeeze on people to cover this, or start redirecting money to it that previously went into the ministry. But if poor people are making sacrifices to support their ministry and the ministers are buying these mansions and luxury cars for themselves, it is obviously not God's Kingdom that they are seeking. It is just a side issue. They possibly do some good somewhere, but God's Kingdom is not their passion.
Another symptom of seeking one's own kingdom is feeling it is necessary to always maintain that one is right and to be highly esteemed. A lot of pastors argue their positions on various issues up and down, with closed minds, because it would undermine their sense of control to say, "You have got a really good point; I need to take a closer look at this."
I think it would advance God's Kingdom if, after they have thought things through more thoroughly and realized their error, they were to spread the word that they were mistaken. If it is a major enough mistake to warrant it; otherwise it would be tedious to have to read all the apologies to get caught up on everybody who has changed their mind. The Lord knows (and I mean that reverently), none of us are right about everything. He is the only one who is right about everything.
Not only do we need to beware of setting up our kingdom, but also to beware of idolizing others and supporting their kingdom. If we are in a church where the pastors are more interested in their own glory and neglecting God's glory and the advancement of His Kingdom, we had better get out of there before we become dried up, dead branches that are fit for nothing but the fire.
Larry Lea of the Church on the Rock taught a dynamic aspect of the Lord's Prayer. He said that the word "come" in the phrase "Your Kingdom come" should be said with emphasis. It should read, "Your Kingdom come!"
That makes sense. Yehoshua said in Matthew 11:12, "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." We need to get aggressive in prayer. Also, Yehoshua said that He will build His Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. As one of my pastors pointed out, gates don't attack people; people attack gates. God wants us to be on the offensive, not timidly cowering behind our shields, hoping to hang on until the cavalry comes to our rescue.
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Click below to read about:
Your Will be Done
In Earth as in Heaven
Give Us Daily Bread
Forgive us our Sins
As we Forgive Others
Lead not into Temptation
Deliver us from Evil
Yours is the Kingdom
Yours is the Power
Yours is the Glory
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on June 17, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.