We saw last week that we, as genuine believers in Jesus Christ, have been given work to do here on the earth. We were saved for a purpose—to join with Daddy in His family business of ruling over the earth, practically and not theoretically.
How in the world do we do that? We are not holding on against the encroaching hordes of godlessness, waiting breathlessly for Jesus to come back and save us. What do we need to know in order to rule, just as Jesus would rule?
First, God tells us clearly in Genesis 1:26, 27 that He has given us responsibility in His kingdom—the responsibility to reflect His image, to rule over His creation and to reproduce after our kind. We cannot evade it. It is why each of us were created. All of us can bear His image and rule for Him in those areas where we are given authority in the world. For His own inscrutable reasons, He sometimes does not give us families in order to reproduce physically. Our reproduction occurs spiritually as we influence those around us.
Second, we have been given the authority to carry out our responsibilities of ruling straight from Jesus Christ Himself. The authority of the father in the home is not his at all; it is the very authority of Jesus, flowing straight from His position as King of kings, seated at His Father’s right hand. Jesus rules through us, right now, not at some future time after Jesus returns. How do we know that is true?
The Bible teaches this clearly in Daniel’s prophetic vision in Daniel 7:13: “”I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.”
Jesus is coming on the clouds, just as He said He would do at His second coming to earth, but here he is not coming DOWN to earth, but coming UP to Heaven!. These were the same clouds He was riding at His ascension because this is describing the ascension—at the other end! He came to the Ancient of Days, God the Father on His throne (verse 9).
After being ushered in to the throne room. He figuratively snaps off a salute and says, “Father, mission accomplished!” Then verse 14 informs us, clearly the source of our authority to rule here on the earth over God’s kingdom. His mission on the earth accomplished, Jesus received His kingdom from His Father—the kingdom of God—and, at that point and not before, He became King of all kings. “Then to Him (Jesus) was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”
Everyone knows Jesus is now King of kings, but how about us? How do we know that Satan is dethroned, is no longer legally “god of this world,” and we have been given power over him to rule over the earth, just as Adam was given that authority before he fell in the garden?
Jesus has been given that rule, I see that, but how about us? Listen to Daniel describing the interpretation of his vision: Daniel 7:27: “Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
This ascension activity was prophetic for Daniel, but is historical for us. This happened at the cross, resurrection, and ascension. Then it was made real to us at Pentecost, when we historically received the Holy Spirit, to live in our hearts and bring the kingdom there. That occurs experientially for each of us as we personally place our faith in Him.
So, we have been given the responsibility to rule, the authority to rule, and the power to rule, just as Jesus did, by the Holy Spirit within. Here is a living example of ruling in a practical, difficult situation.
In marriage counselling, every individual circumstance is different, but understanding that the Bible has answers for the struggling couple is always comforting. I have discovered over the years that those answers all are found in understanding how the kingdom of God works, since the family is the foundational institution of that kingdom. Viewing each circumstance through the above kingdom grid always provides God’s solution, not the often-misguided, “creative” solution of the counselor. We are not searching for “what works” but “what is right.” according to the Bible. What is right will always work—in the way God wants it to!
It is often in a difficult crisis that God gets through our self-centered defenses we have erected to protect us from Him. A man I met at a home school convention and subsequently became my friend had a life-changing event that forever changed him and his family.
He and his wife were both very active in the leadership of their church, home schooled their children faithfully, and were shining examples of a Christian family, doing their best to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
However, he had attempted to rule in his home by the law without a clear understanding of the grace of God. The kingdom is the firmness of the law, but always and only administered by the grace of the gospel. The result of using the law carefully yet without grace in my friend’s family was deadly—his wife cracked under the pressure and rebelled, having an affair with the contractor who was remodeling their house..
In the five years since this occurred, my friend has seen the legalism in which he was trapped, and his lack of unconditional love for his wife. He repented to his wife and children, several of whom are now adults. He now views the world through the cross (grace) and not the law. His life has been changed, but his wife will not forgive him and remains intransigently rebellious. As you would imagine, her life is in constant turmoil. They live apart and share time with the children, though not as yet divorced. He has steadfastly loved her through it all,
How does he deal with this situation as the ruler in his family? My counsel has been consistently, through all the twists and turns of the relationship, to follow God’s admonition to rulers in the kingdom—to love unconditionally (Ephesians 5:25), and to lead with strong, firm decision-making (1 Timothy 3:4)—and what each of these means practically. I want to keep these principles ever before him (what they both mean practically), and encourage him to apply them to his situation himself.
The courts have legally taken away his authority to discipline his children and as a result they have followed their mother into rebellion against their father’s authority in their lives. However, his job is to continue to love and lead; it is his wife’s job to submit to his authority, even though he is not a perfect leader. It is not his job to make her do so. It is his job to make his children obey him with loving discipline, but the courts have taken that ability from him
As you can see, ruling in the kingdom is fraught with incredible difficulties. Know for sure that they are all individually designed perfectly for each of us. My friend’s life now demonstrates beautifully the result of these five years in the Lord’s schoolroom.