From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Seven, Day Two
The world has never seen a king like Christ, a ruler mightier than any earthly sovereign and more powerful than the unseen powers of the universe. Though he entered the world humbly, as an infant born in Bethlehem, Magi from the east still recognized him as the newborn king. Though his reign unfolds in hidden ways, he has promised to come again, at which time he will reveal himself unambiguously as "King of kings and Lord of lords." When you pray to Jesus, the King of kings, call to mind his mastery not only over human beings but over nature, disease, and death itself.
On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. Revelation 19:16
Praying the Name
Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again."
"How can anyone be born when they are old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:3 - 8
Reflect On: John 3:3 - 8.
Praise God: For building a kingdom that will endure.
Offer Thanks: That God has called you into his kingdom.
Confess: Any tendency to try to pressure or force others to believe.
Ask God: To help you to spread the kingdom his way.
Have you ever thought about the challenges of being a king — of presiding over a large group of people with differing temperaments, desires, needs, values, and interests? If you've ever been a parent, a teacher, a boss, or a building contractor, you know how difficult it can sometimes be to get people to act responsibly — like trying to get ducks to fly backwards or dogs to stop barking. Of course, one way to get people to behave is to force them.
Some nations have developed extreme measures for controlling their populations. One Islamic country has a law on the books that punishes nonconforming females with seventy-four lashes or a year in prison simply for violating its dress code. Secular regimes can be just as bad. North Korea, for instance, has a history of using food as a form of control, allotting rations according to political, social, or professional status. And when the Communist Party first came to power in China, it attempted to regulate every aspect of people's lives, even deciding which party members would be allowed to marry. In the early 1950s it also controlled how much time spouses could spend together, limiting cohabitation to one day a week. Even today, it tries to control birth rates by severely penalizing couples who give birth to more than one child.
This tendency to try to control people crops up even in free societies where filmmakers distort the truth to sway public opinion or political parties use lies and half-truths to influence elections. But God's kingdom, presided over by the most powerful ruler in the universe, operates on entirely different principles. Its integrity depends not on external force but on the internal, indestructible power of Christ's love. Our king begins by inviting, never compelling, us to join his kingdom.
When we do, he reverses the outside-in formula whereby we are forced to conform, and, instead, begins to transform us internally by the power of his Spirit. It is the indwelling presence and power of the Spirit that enables us to become more Christlike.
As one early Christian writer put it, God "was determined to save us by persuasion, and not by compulsion — for there is no compulsion found with God. His mission was no pursuit or hounding of us, it was an invitation."1 In this way, step by step, Christ builds the only kind of kingdom that will last — the only kind worth living in forever.
Thank God today for the greatest of all invitations — to entrust your life to King Jesus, who calls you to live and reign with him forever. And while you are thanking him, remember that there is never any compulsion in Christ. We cannot pressure or coerce others into the kingdom. Only God's Spirit can enable a man or woman to be born again into God's kingdom. Each of us is called not to advance the kingdom by force but to spread it through the contagious power of Christ's love. Pray today that God will use your life as an eloquent invitation to bring others to himself, so that they may join you in praising him as King of kings and Lord of lords.
For more from Ann Spangler, please visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. And be sure to check out Ann's newest books on AnnSpangler.com. To hear more from Ann Spangler, sign up today at annspangler.substack.com.
Meet your spiritual ancestors as they really were: Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them.