Saturday, February 28, 2009

Principles of the Kingdom

Over the past few weeks my wife and I have been re-reading The Secret Kingdom, published by Pat Robertson (with Bob Slosser) in 1982. It is striking how this 27-year-old book is still so timely, particularly with respect to the world’s current economic woes. Of course, the “secrets” of the kingdom of God, as laid out by Jesus and the New Testament writers, are always timely. But, especially now, a review of these kingdom “laws” will help us to live our lives above the fray of current events. Let’s take up these principles, in brief, as Robertson discusses them.

The Law of Reciprocity. This follows from Jesus’ so-called “Golden Rule,” and his statement, “Give, and it will be given to you.” Our actions, for good or ill, will bring about a corresponding response from our environment.

The Law of Use. Like the servants in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, if we utilize what we have we will gain more of it; if we fail to do so, it will dissipate. “Use it or lose it.”

The Law of Perseverance. Faced with a challenge, we’re tempted to give up too quickly. But, like the widow appealing to the corrupt judge in Jesus’ parable, we find that persistence in a worthwhile effort will eventually bring results.

The Law of Responsibility. “To whom much is given, of them much is required.” The more ability or wealth we have, the more we’re under obligation to look to the needs of others.

The Law of Greatness. As Jesus taught His disciples, the one who would be greatest must become the servant of all. True greatness comes from humility; whoever would enjoy the benefits of the kingdom must receive it “as a little child.”

The Law of Unity. God created mankind, and all things, in the unity of the Holy Trinity: “Let us make man in our image . . .” Prayer, when we gather as two or three in unity, brings results where a lone appeal may not. Lack of harmony frustrates our efforts to solve problems.

The Law of Miracles. God has all power, and His will cannot, in the end, be frustrated. Reliance on His mercy, and faith in His ability to work wonders, are keys to success in every area.

The Law of Dominion. God created people after His own pattern, to have dominion over their environment. This authority, seen most clearly in Jesus to whom “all authority in heaven and earth” has been given, brings with it a mandate for wise stewardship of the world’s resources. But awareness of our dominion also keeps us from becoming too timid to take the action needed to deal with our challenges.

These principles seem to turn our world upside down; they fly in the face of commonly accepted cultural values. But, as Jesus repeatedly states, “Whoever . . .” The laws of the kingdom work for anyone who will practice them, whether Christian believers or not. Through application of these principles of God’s “secret kingdom” we can weather the turmoil of our times, and be the “blessed” Jesus speaks of in His Beatitudes.

Our nation, and the world community, seem to find themselves on a downward slope, grasping at straws. Foolish and short-sighted measures — at the highest levels of government and at the individual level — have been the order of the day, but in the end they will fail. Eventually the world must realize that Jesus Christ, and His inspired spokesmen, have had the only answers all along.