We are more familiar with anarchy than monarchy. That makes it difficult to understand biblical language about a kingdom. Modern man has forgotten how to relate to kings. As the deposed Egyptian King Farouk once said: “There are but five kings left on earth: the King of England, and the kings of clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds.”
We have seen that God’s throne takes central place in the whole universe. So we can be sure that our relation to his throne will determine every issue in life. Since the Kingdom of God is built on a submissive attitude towards the throne, it is no surprise that Satan constantly puts pressure on people to rebel.
Part of our dilemma is in the fact that we see so few role models of what wholesome authority looks like. Kings are often seen to be tyrants, and in so many spheres, leadership of other kinds is exercised in abusive or domineering ways. No wonder we shy away from vocabulary associated with “kingdom”: we prefer the ideas of democracy, or better still, self-government.
But the root of the dilemma also lies closer to home. Not only do we all have bad experiences of life under poor leadership; we also have a bad attitude toward the very idea of leadership. There is something in all of us, born in the heart of Adam, that says, “Why should I have to do what he tells me? Why can’t I decide for myself what I want to do?”
Fortunately the answer to both aspects of the dilemma is found in Jesus. He is our example of a king who rules well rather than badly, and also of a subject who submits to appropriate authority well rather than badly.
In the second chapter of The Treasure in the Field, we consider what it means to have a Submissive Spirit. Here’s what we shall see:
- Who’s your father? There are two contrasting heart attitudes toward authority, and each expresses a different kind of family likeness
- How to respond to authority in the Kingdom of God. Submitting with honour and freedom
- How to rule in the Kingdom of God. Authority wihtout authoritarianism
- The example of Jesus: submissive and sovereign
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For a preview, you can read the first chapter here: The Centrality of the Throne
Or, you can listen to Chapter 2 as audio files: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4