Hi everyone, Rob here. November 22 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of two remarkable men known as ‘Jack.’ One was President John F. Kennedy, killed by an assassin’s bullet. The other was C.S Lewis whose piercing intellect, gracious humour and childlike wonder have been a source of inspiration for Christians for decades and continues to be so.
I recently came across this quote by Lewis that captured my attention:
We are made for another world! More specifically we are made for another realm, another kingdom. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:13-14, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus prays this to his Father in John 17:13-18 about his disciples (this includes you and I):
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”
This is a remarkable prayer. Lewis is right; we are made for another world and our desires and longings point to the fact that we have a heart for the kingdom of God. But, we are not in this world to escape this world, but to represent God’s kingdom in this world. Paul calls us Christ’s ambassadors in 2 Corinthians 5:20 and that’s a good description of our role. We speak for Christ, act for Christ and walk with Christ for his kingdom’s sake as we journey through this world. Jesus wants us here so his will can be done through us, on earth, as in heaven.
There are two things that he says, however, that make me pause, examine myself and realise that I can’t do this without Christ in me. First he says that we are to have the full measure of his joy within us. That is amazing, but joy is not the first thing I notice about my life right now. Busy? Yes. Tired? Yes. Slightly flustered? Yes. Hanging in there? Yes. Full of the joy of Jesus Christ the Lord? Well, no. But this is an invitation, not a rebuke. As I stop and breathe and remember that I am unconditionally loved by the living God, I am set free from my sin and shortcomings as I accept Christ’s merciful forgiveness and grace, I am made whole and holy through his life in me, then I realise that deep in my heart is a wellspring of life and joy placed there by Christ himself – his life and his joy in me. Yes! Thank you Jesus. May your joy well up in me, fill me and flow out of me as I represent your name and your kingdom in this world.
The second thing is that Jesus prays for our protection from the evil one. Satan is actively working against us as we represent Christ. Of course he is! He wants to be the prince of this world and when the true King Jesus is being proclaimed and his disciples are becoming his princes who are taking back the rule Satan thought he had, then of course he’s angry! But we can be protected. God watches over us and we submit to him, but we still need to resist the devil in the name of Jesus. Only then will he flee as it says in James 4:7. In Christ’s name we have authority over the world – because Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33) and we have authority over Satan – because Christ has destroyed the devil’s work (1 John 3:8).
We are made for another realm but we already belong to it through Christ. We represent the kingdom of God in this world, with the joy of Jesus in our hearts and the authority of Christ in our hands. We long for the fullness of the Kingdom but for now, let’s represent that Kingdom with Christ in our hearts, with hope, grace and love.