Two Kingdoms

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

"And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." (Matthew 12:26,28)

Disciples understand the concept of two spiritual kingdoms. In the above verses, Jesus makes it clear that two kingdoms exist. One kingdom is under the control of God, while the other is under the control of Satan. This is a condition that God allows. Since the fall of man in the garden of Eden, man has been subject to the influence of Satan's kingdom.

Man decides daily which kingdom is to be the governing force in his life. Because of our natural tendency to sin, we resided in Satan's kingdom until we accepted Jesus as our Savior and made Him Lord of our lives. At our salvation, God "delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son." (Colossians 1:13)

Our problem is ignorance. We realize a spiritual battle is going on, but we think spiritual battles are similar to worldly battles. In the world, battle lines are drawn in a way that leaves a buffer zone between the two opposing forces. It is a sort of neutral zone. A member of one force may move into that buffer zone without crossing the enemy line. He realizes he is in a dangerous area but, although he is vulnerable to the enemy, he still has the protective covering of his own army.

There is no neutral zone in the spiritual world. We reside either in the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan. "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

The battle lines of the two opposing spiritual forces abut one another. When we step out of one kingdom, we automatically step into the other. If we refuse to submit to the kingship of God and decide to handle a situation ourselves, we actually submit that situation to the kingship of Satan. It may not be our intention, but it happens by default in the spiritual world. God has not given us a private kingdom of our own.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) This is another statement by Jesus we don't really understand. We visualize the kingdom of God as some wonderful place in heaven where everything is beautiful.

That may be true, but the word, kingdom, in this Scripture is the Greek word, basileia, which means, kingship, or rulership, or reigning. Jesus tells us to seek the rulership of God, to submit to His kingship, to allow God to reign in our lives. Only then "all these things shall be added to you."

When we submit to the kingship of God we step into His kingdom. When we do not submit to His kingship we step out of His kingdom. Unfortunately, there is no place to step other than into Satan's kingdom. We don't want to step into Satan's kingdom, but that is where we find ourselves.

If we wonder why something isn't going well in our lives, it is a good idea to see who is in charge. Have we submitted it to God, or do we still have our hands on the reins? Remember, there is no neutral zone, nor do we have our own private kingdom. If we have not truly submitted it to God, we have placed it in the hands of Satan. This is not something we did deliberately, it happened by default.

This places us in the enemy camp; therefore, we have made ourselves enemies of God. We may say, "Wait a minute! I'm just holding onto this one little thing in my life. It can't be that important to God. You're crazy, I'm not an enemy of God! I'm a good Christian! I teach Sunday School. I love God, and God loves me!" True enough, but we're still enemies of God.

That little thing we have not submitted to God is an open door to Satan because it is in his kingdom. That little thing is the instrument that makes us enemies of God. It seems insignificant to us, but it has the same kind of power one insignificant little rotten apple has in a barrel of good apples.

Israel had the same problem. They never hated their enemies and their possessions enough to thoroughly destroy them, even though God told them to do so. They preserved what appeared to be good, or to have value. Surely, preserving just a little for themselves, would be all right. But what they kept for themselves, in disobedience to God, opened the door for the enemy to come in, and eventually led to their captivity. By refusing to submit to God's kingship, they stepped out of His kingdom.

The spiritual battle lines are drawn. God gives us freedom to travel in the kingdom of our choice. If we decide to maintain control, we attempt to function in the power of our flesh, and that makes us hostile toward God (Romans 8:5-8).

Joshua gave the challenge, "Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve." (Joshua 24:15) Jesus made it very clear, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)

Whether we like it or not, we must consciously choose between God and the enemy in every life situation.

God told Joshua, "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses." (Joshua 1:3) Jesus gave us that same message when He told us our needs are met when we submit to the kingship of God.

Our responsibility is to watch carefully where we place our feet. The line of demarkation between the two kingdoms is difficult to discern unless our commitment is real. The choice is always left to us to choose today whom we will serve.

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: In which kingdom do I spend most of my time?