Summary: In the Kingdom, there are no subjects. There is only royalty. This is why we have an innate frustration with human authority. Like Christ, all offspring of God are royal members of His Kingdom. We must be retrained in this behavior and mindset.
There’s a reason people who are extremely oppressed eventually have so much rage that they must fight back, many of them to the point of giving their lives to the cause of being liberated. It’s the same reason those same people release extreme jubilation when they’re freed from that oppression. It’s because royalty was built into the human DNA.
In a previous article, I pointed out that there was one life form on earth that humans weren’t designed to have dominion over. It’s other humans. We may think it’s normal because we’ve never known anything else. We’ve grown up in systems where there’s always someone at the top making the rules and telling us what to do. In those situations, they’ve taken the place of royalty and you’ve been relegated to their subject.
But, human reactions to these situations have shown us all the time that this isn’t what we were made for.
We naturally resist human authority
That’s why whenever we’re in systems where other humans have dominion over us, we always end up frustrated. It’s our natural resistance to human authority.
Now you may be thinking, aren’t Christian called to submit to people with authority in their church? While the answer is yes, there’s a distinction in the types of authority we’re talking about.
The type of authority I’m talking about here is forced authority. It’s the type where certain people make decisions FOR you, or they’re put in a position ABOVE you. The type of authority Christians are supposed to submit to is where you CHOOSE to submit to Christ in and through other people because they’ve earned your trust over time.
First of all, you’re not submitting to a human. You’re submitting to the Holy Spirit working in and through that human. If that person acts according to the flesh, you don’t submit to them. When this happens, it’s then their turn to submit to the Holy Spirit in you as you choose to deal with them in gentleness and love (hopefully!). If you feel like you’re expected to submit to them, but they won’t submit to you, you don’t have a Kingdom relationship.
When this submission is one way, groups become dominated by a personality or someone who’s talented. People’s roles in our lives are not static. They’re dynamic and dependent on their expression of the Lord. If they act in accordance with the Spirit, that’s what you choose to submit to.
Second, the one you submit to doesn’t make decisions FOR you. Heck, God doesn’t even do that. Like a servant, they empower you by encouraging and admonishing you. But, they never tell you what you’re going to do. If you find yourself in that situation, run away as fast as you can.
There are no subjects in the Kingdom
This, my friends, is a radical difference between what we know of worldly kingdoms and the reality of God’s Kingdom. In worldly kingdoms, there is royalty and there are subjects. In God’s Kingdom, there is only royalty. As we’ve established earlier in this series of articles, God’s purpose was to create a family of sibling kings, not subjects (John 8:31-36).
Just think about the concept of royalty on display in the parable of the prodigal son. After the son squandered his inheritance, his idea was to approach his father and ask him to come back to his household as a servant (and subject to his older brother). But before he could get there, the story says this in Luke 15…
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. He said, Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
Let’s be honest…isn’t the way the son was going to approach his father the same way most Christians see themselves in relationship to God? Don’t we see ourselves as subjects instead of royalty? Notice in the story that the father wanted his son back, not a servant. The son was still royalty simply because he was his father’s offspring. Nothing changed that.
There was also no difference in status between the son and his older brother (who complained about that of course).
Jesus is your big brother
Many times when you talk to Christians, they like to play the “Jesus card.” The Jesus card is played whenever people feel like they can’t relate to living the Christian life the way Jesus did. They say “but he was Jesus and I’m not.” While it’s true that we are not Jesus, it is not true that the way he was able to live the Christian life is any different from how we are able to.
It’s great to relate to Him as your Savior and we should. But, do you also relate to him as your big brother? He is the Son of God, but we are God’s children. Even he said so…
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 2:11)
Royalty must be groomed
But offspring of royalty don’t pop out of the womb ready to take on their role. They must be groomed. Royalty always has a certain way of thinking and acting that is demonstrated in their attitude, behavior, manners, speech, etc. This way of living does not develop automatically. When a member of the British royal family is born, their training begins right away.
In the same way, members of God’s Kingdom think and act a certain way. If we are to truly be royal members of the Kingdom, we must be retrained in the behavior and mindset of the Kingdom. Even for the believer, they’ve spent so long in the mentality of a slave to the kingdom of darkness, that most are still programmed to think like slaves. If we’re lackadaisical, we never break free from the pigpen mentality the prodigal son brought back home to his father.
Our goal is to get to the place where we genuinely grasp the truth about who we are as royalty and what that means for us. As Myles Monroe points out in his book Rediscovering the Kingdom…
The problem for so many of us is that we don’t know who we are. We have become a kingdom of ignorant kings: ignorant of our identity, ability, power and authority.
Understanding God’s Kingdom
Understanding royalty in God’s Kingdom has several practical repercussions for living in healthy church life. I’ll end this post with 3…
If you ever feel you don’t have an equal voice in decisions made in your church, you’re not being treated as the royalty you are.
The thinking that there are some people whose voice and opinions are more important than others because they’re more mature or wiser is commonplace in local churches among leaders. Because of this, it’s common for members to be left out of decision-making and just be expected to follow along what others decide for them. This is detrimental to healthy church life.
When people are left out, they don’t feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the health of the church, and therefore don’t contribute to it as they should. Scientific studies also show that groups make consistently better decisions when everyone is involved in the decision-making process than when just the smartest (or “most gifted”) people are. (More to come about this subject in a future series.)
All of the resources of the Kingdom are at your disposal.
No, I’m not pushing some “name it and claim it” philosophy. You can’t just say you want something to happen and expect things supernaturally to happen. The King has made everything available to you as part of His royal family, but not for your purposes. You have access to His supply to accomplish HIS purposes. As you align yourself with Him, He shows you those purposes and gives you the royal resources to do them.
Remember, prayer isn’t about asking God to do things for you. It’s about aligning yourself with Him so you know what He wants you to do.
Guilt and condemnation occupy no space in a royal family member’s mind.
The actions of the prodigal son’s father show us clearly. He only saw his son, not the sin. The son was not to be a servant in his father’s household, but was to again occupy his position as an offspring.
The rest of the posts in the Understanding God’s Government series are here.