Hi everyone, Rob here.
Jesus came among us to show and teach the life for which we were made. He came very gently, opened access to the governance of God with him, and set afoot a conspiracy of freedom in truth among human beings. Having overcome death he remains among us. By relying on his word and presence we are enabled to reintegrate the little realm that makes up our life into the infinite rule of God. And that is the eternal kind of life. Caught up in his active rule, our deeds become an element in God’s eternal history. They are what God and we do together, making us part of his life and him a part of ours.
Dallas Willard is describing the life that God meant for us to have and to enjoy from the time that he created us. The problem, as we know, is that we surrendered that life. By falling for the serpent’s trickery we held onto our ‘little realms’ and by doing so, enabled Satan to become the ‘prince of this world.’ By doing things our way we empowered the devil to have his way. His way is a destructive way. It’s a way of non-being or anti-creation, as Tom Wright puts it. That is, Satan is happy if we are closed off to God, failing to fulfil our mandate to rule creation in the name of God and defending our ‘little realms’ at all costs despite the cost to our neighbour.
The answer then is to take back what was stolen and surrendered. In our own strength this is impossible for us. We have given too much away. We needed a rescuer to come and do what we could no longer do. So, because God loved us so much and wanted us to become fully human again, reflecting God’s image and fulfilling our creation mandate, Jesus came. Yes! Mark 1:14-15 records Jesus as going into Galilee, “proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!'” God’s kingdom was now accessible to everyone through the person of Jesus and still is.He defeated Satan’s ability to keep us trapped in selfishness, fear, pride and hatred. He took the enemy down and exposed his rule as false. If we put our trust in him we receive forgiveness, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and access to God’s reign in and through our lives. If we’re willing to let our little realm die we can come alive to God’s realm and start living our lives the way we were always meant to: in partnership, co operation and companionship with God.
So today, I pray again for the Holy Spirit to help me die to sin (holding onto my little realm and not letting God in) and come alive to God (handing my realm over to his and letting his will be done in and through me). Practically this means asking for his help as I tackle problems and make decisions. It means asking for his wisdom as I weigh up dilemmas. It means asking for his strength when I am feeling weak and helpless. These are exchanges I need to make right through the day. It is part of the companionship that Jesus offers. I don’t need to do life on my own anymore. I can let go of outcomes and learn to trust God as he works things together for the good of his kingdom. I can also embrace the fact that I have a unique role to play in his kingdom, as does everyone else. It means I can be humble but not self-diminishing. I can be purposeful but not arrogant. It’s not my realm after all.
What do you need to do today to hand over your kingdom to God? What do you need to pray? What do you need to die to? Come alive to? Jesus has offered us an amazing invitation to live life in him, fully, freely and powerfully. So let’s take that step of faith and trust him with our ‘little realms’ and let his story embrace ours.