Jesus ended his discussion on worry with this counsel: “Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12.31).
Dallas Willard defines the kingdom of God as the “effective reach of God’s power.”
If people wonder if they are able to live in God’s kingdom, Jesus next words should bring significant encouragement to them.
He said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12.32).
It is God’s good pleasure to give humans the honor of living in his kingdom. He wants us to share in the power of his rule.
One way we can share God’s ruling power is to align our prayers with his.
Jesus taught us to pray,
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6.10)
The effective reach of God’s power is absolute in heaven. Every heavenly being is in perfect alignment with God’s plans and purposes.
When we pray for God’s kingdom to come, we are asking that earth mirror what is happening in heaven.
Treasure God’s Kingdom
Another way we can participate in God’s kingdom is by trusting God’s power to enable us to be as giving as he is.
One of the struggles the world faces is that the powerful use their might to oppress the less powerful.
God uses his power to provide for his people in the most loving ways possible.
Jesus teaches his followers to imitate the giving character and actions of our heavenly Father.
He said, “Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12.33-34).
We can’t be greedy and stingy on one hand and participate in God’s kingdom on the other. There is no way that we can appreciate God’s character with greedy attitudes and actions.
As we give to others, trusting God to supply what is needed, we will experience both his power and his character. Our hearts will be joined to his loving nature.
A Parable: Kingdom Behavior
How does a person who is striving for the kingdom behave? Jesus told a parable to convince his followers of the proper attitudes and actions.
— Luke 12.35-38 – “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit;
“Be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.
“Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them.
“If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”
If we are striving to be aligned with God’s kingdom – the effective reach of his power – we won’t be slack in our service.
— Our prayer life will indicate an interest in God’s kingdom being extended to the fullest extent.
We will respond to world events with prayer that is informed by the way Jesus taught and lived.
— Our time, talents, and material possessions will always be available to the King of all kings.
We will have our hands and hearts open to God. He can give us anything he desires, but also take what he has given us for his purposes.
A Closing Thought
Jesus added a closing thought to emphasize the importance of correct behavior.
— Luke 12.39-40 – “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.
“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Even though we are striving for God’s kingdom and it is God’s good pleasure to give it to us, it is easy to lose sight of corresponding attitudes and actions.
The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8.4-15) reminds us how easily it is to forget Jesus’ teaching.
In addition, the parable teaches us that persecution or the seduction of riches and pleasure will cause Jesus’ message to be unfruitful.
Living a Jesus-kind-of-life in the Father’s kingdom is the greatest life possible. However, it runs contrary to the world’s system that surrounds us.
Therefore, it is crucial that we watch our inside condition and stay in contact with our source of power, the Holy Spirit, through prayer.
Rudy Ross and I talk about these verses on YouTube today. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. You will enjoy the insights that Rudy brings to this passage.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.