day 3 - Kingdom Strength
Matthew 11:10-19 (AMP)
10 This is the one of whom it is written [by the prophet Malachi], ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater [in privilege] than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize]. 13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied up until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is [the fulfillment of] Elijah [as the messenger] who was to come [before the kingdom]. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.
16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like little children sitting in the market places, who call to the others, 17 and say ‘We piped the flute for you [playing wedding], and you did not dance; we wailed sad dirges [playing funeral], and you did not mourn and cry aloud.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking [with others], and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking [with others], and they say, ‘Look! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners [including non-observant Jews]!’ Yet wisdom is justified and vindicated by her deeds [in the lives of those who respond to Me].”
We have before us a dual-sided scenario. Our reading presents an age-old “tug-of-war” that we are all aware of through both earthly and Heavenly paradigms. Let’s take a deeper look at the forces of Light and darkness through the scope of “Kingdom Builder”:
In verse 12 Matthew states:
“… the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize].”
While it would be much easier to tell you that the Kingdom of God never experiences set-backs and even battles evil, this would not be reality. The greatest earthly threat to the forces of darkness are those living on this earth yet closely connect to Heaven. Our reading in verse 12 gives direct evidence as to the kind of darkness or “assault” we can expect to encounter as Kingdom builders. The passage states first that it will cause suffering then that it will be violent. Ouch! Reality hits us square in the face. However, how foolish would we be to not address this paradigm and seek a game plan for combating such darkness! The truth is you WILL encounter hard times, battles, valleys, evil and all the forces of darkness that come with these as a Kingdom builder…BUT remember: The enemy does not attack what is not a threat! It is in these hard times, that we must remember that if God has allowed this “present darkness” to come your way, it’s because He knows we can overcome it and take dominion over it! What if we looked at trials and times of enemy attack as opportunity to gain strength? This kind of outlook will cause you to gain what we call “Kingdom Strength” that will benefit others around you as well as God’s Kingdom at large! This strength is also bold and wise. Bold, because one knows in Whom they have trusted. Strong because dying under any force of darkness is NOT an option! …“I can do ALL things through Christ!” You CAN. You were created for this.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
“Be strong… “be not afraid” … “I’ve got you”…. Ok so maybe we translated the last phrase, but essentially this is what God promises to Kingdom Builders! No matter how great the set-back you may be facing today, take heart in these words. We must understand that these words were spoken over Joshua following the death of Moses. He now finds himself in a position that we can be sure was, at very least, daunting! Have you ever felt this way, even though you knew you were doing God’s will? The truth is, if you’re truly making a difference you may feel this way often.
Arenas of discomfort breed the kind of Kingdom builders that make hell tremble.
Joshua likely felt completely afraid in his flesh but this where God’s strength gets beautiful. God knows that in your own flesh, you will fail every single time that is why the flesh feels so uncomfortable in moments like these. You see, God wants you to succeed so much He’s pushing you to lean on Strength greater than you on your own, could ever be. That’s why in the flesh we may feel like falling but if you’ll stop and listen, deep in your heart you’ll hear the voice of a Champion God’s making our of you saying: You can, You were created for this…This is “Kingdom Strength”.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV)
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.