Following Jesus always results in doing the good works that He modeled as an example for our life-style. Following Jesus constantly leads us in answering this question: "What does the love of Christ within me compel me to do in this real life situation?" God is the one who brings these situations to us to act upon, but we gotta to have His eyes to see them and not walk away! This is kingdom servanthood.
Now it gets real. Jesus Christ, the Messianic King, came and established His reign by the fact of His resurrection. He is inviting all nations, all families of the earth to be blessed by Him through His sacrifice for redemption from sin. He is inviting all nations of the earth, all families to join with Him in conquering the evil that holds the hearts and souls on humankind in slavery and bondage. Freedom from that bondage is found only in His Messianic Kingdom. So….
In your heart of hearts, in the depth of your soul when you look at yourself in a mirror, how do you see yourself: what is your true self-image? In other words, who are you really? Let’s take a look at who a citizen of the Kingdom of God truly is, shall we?
A simple search of the New Testament produces 22 verses having the phrase “follow me” in them. Two of these verses are very telling. Remember, after Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” He commands Peter to, “Follow Me”. (John 21:19, 22) Strange, is it not? Follow Jesus, in just a few hours, a day or two at most Jesus will ascend to His throne in heaven. How is Peter to follow Jesus? And what has Peter been doing the past three and half years?
In the Kingdom, the King leads, and the citizens follow. Here is the rub, one either sees the King leading them or worldly blindness is a real problem. Distractions everywhere, duties pressing upon us, the grind of life in this world – it is no wonder one has a problem seeing the King doing anything anytime. But He is, that is what Kings do, they reign and rule to produce the Kingdom they desire. The key to seeing His lead is to know where the leadership takes place.
Following the King comes with a cost. Jesus physically died upon a cross. The cross meant only one thing in His day, that is death. He declared, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38, ESV) The citizen in the kingdom had to also die not physically, but a spiritual death. It is the ‘born again’ death, a radical repentance leading to starting over with a clean slate. Following Jesus means my will put to death, His will reigns. It means my desires are subjugated to His desires. It means His values become mine, His mind becomes my mind, His way my way. It means the King becomes my all in all. In a very real sense the citizen of the kingdom is a new man, the old worldly man died. The King leads in this realm of the heart and soul of humankind, a spiritual realm.
The citizen in very real terms died as a wretched sinner. He is raised to a new life as a royal priest a servant of the King conquering evil in this spiritual realm. That is who a citizen of the Kingdom is. To become this kind of person, training is needed. Next time we will delve into where it is provided.