How to conquer the kingdom of God in our lives
by Daniel Yahav
This question may cause some eye brows to rise, for one may legitimately think that no one can conquer God’s kingdom! Well, let us walk together into God’s word and find out.
Our life’s journey as followers of Yeshua is likened in the New Testament to the story of the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt. Let's be reminded of this parallel.
The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians. Yeshua said that everyone who lives in sin, is a slave to sin. (John 8:34). They were protected from the angel of death by the blood of the Passover lamb. We are saved from eternal death by our Passover lamb - Yeshua (1 cor. 5:7). They were baptized to Moses in water as they crossed the sea and they walked after the cloud which led them day and night (1 cor. 10:1-2). We are baptized in water and are called to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit on every step. They walked 40 years in the wilderness and we walk our life long journey through the spiritual wilderness of this world. They were aiming to reach the promised land and we are heading to God’s heavenly Jerusalem and mount Zion which God has promised to all who believe (Heb. 12:22). Before entering the promised land of Canaan, the people of Israel had to pass through the Jordan river at the lowest point on earth where it flows into the dead sea, and all the saints throughout history have slept in death before passing into eternity with the Lord (Phil. 1:23). The New Testament is full of references to what the people of Israel went through, and this is written for us in order to learn from it. So, let us look at another important lesson for us today.
About two years into their exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel reached the borders of the promised land. At this point God offered them to enter the land, take possession of it and come to rest. However, they wanted first to send spies to check out the land. (Deut. 1:22). God agreed and told Moses to send the spies. (Num. 13:1-2). When the twelve spies came back from their mission, they told the people that the land is very fruitful, flowing with milk and honey. However, ten of the spies added that the cities are with huge fortifications, going up to heaven, and they saw giants there, so tall that they themselves appeared as grasshoppers in their eyes. (Det. 1:28, Num. 13:26-33). These ten spies managed to scare the whole nation. They all started to cry and complain and even wanted to go back to Egypt. Only Joshua and Caleb stood firm in faith to God and cried out saying: "Let us go up and take possession of it. We can do it". (Num. 13:30). The bible tells us that the unbelief of the people brought about God’s judgment. All adults who came out of Egypt had to die in the next 38 years of wondering in the desert, and only Joshua and Caleb as well as the children under 20 years of age, entered the promised land.
What can we learn from this for us today? Yeshua said that the kingdom of God is within us in this present age. (Lu. 17:20-21). It is a kingdom of peace. The fruit of the kingdom of God is love, joy, peace, in the Holy Spirit. Yeshua called us to come to him and find rest in him (Mat 11:28-30). However, just as the Israelites needed faith in order to enter into their promised land, and take possession of it, so also we need faith to enter into our rest which God has promised us (Heb. 4:11). Just as they had to face the giants, so also we need to stand against, and overcome giants who threaten to steel away our love, peace and joy which God has prepared for us in His land of promise. .
Let’s look at some of these giants we may have to face and overcome on our journey thorough the wilderness of this life. For example the giant of fear. Fear of sickness, fear of war, fear of losing a job, fear of people, fear of different circumstances in our lives which may appear to be threatening to us. Paul writes to Timothy that God did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is the great opposite of faith. As long as Peter looked at Yeshua, he could walk on the water. The moment he turned his eyes to the waves and the winds, he got scared, lost his faith and started sinking. If we want to maintain our faith, we need to fix our eyes on Yeshua, remembering that even the hairs on our heads are numbered by Him.
Another giant are worries. For example, Yeshua told us not to worry about our livelihood. He promised to take care of us as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Mat 6:31-34). Surely we need to be diligent and responsible, and work in order to support our families, but let us always keep God in the first place. Let us ask Him what is His plan for our lives. Where and how does He want to use our lives? Where does He want us to live and to work? And let us not forget to give God the first part of our income which belongs to Him, so that we may not be found in the position of stealing from Him. Altogether, let us be faithful Stuarts of all our income, which God has blessed us with. If we are children of God who belong to Him, then all of our possessions belong to Him as well! If we live in this way, we need not to worry, not to be enslaved to money nor to possessions, not to love money and not to trust in it. We can see that fear, worries, lack of faith are all giants that may stand on our way, trying to hinder us from entering the promised land of love, peace, joy and blessing which God has prepared for his children to enjoy, as we enter into the rest of His kingdom which is available for us already today.
Other giants hindering us on our way are from our old nature. Our pride, selfishness, jealousy and many other ugly areas of sin. All these are used by the enemy of our souls, the devil, to steal and destroy God’s blessings in our lives. (Joh. 10:10). For example, if as a husband I am selfish, stubborn and proud, unwilling to confess my sins, or I find it very hard to be corrected, not allowing God's word to change me into His image, this will lead to endless tension in my relationships with all the people around me. It will result in years of unnecessary pressure and tension at home, instead of peace and love and harmony which God has intended for us in our families and in our marriages. Or if as a wife I am stubborn, selfish, rebellious and unwilling to submit to my husband, or if as children we refuse to obey our parents and choose the ways of this world, all these sins will serve like giants in our lives, preventing us from entering into the rest that God has intended for us as His children, and we will with our own choice, through our lack of faith, choose to continue wandering and suffering in the wilderness. .
How then, can we overcome these giants?
Our old sinful nature we overcome by nailing it to the cross. The Lord said, whoever wants to follow Him, should pick up his cross and enter the narrow gate, which leads to life (Lu. 9:23). This we do by denying our old nature, denying it's desires and bad habits, and dying to them daily. As we practice that it become easier and easier.
Regarding the giants of fear, worries, depression, attacks on our families and a host of other spiritual attacks that may come against us, we overcome by submitting ourselves first and foremost to God, in humility and repentance (making fruit of repentance which means the needed changes in our lives), and only then we can resist the devil and he will have to flee from us. (James 4:7).
May God help us all to be willing to fight our old nature, and standing strong in faith, against the giants in our lives who want to prevent us from entering into the rest of God's kingdom which He has prepared for His children already in this life, as Yeshua said: "For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” may we learn to overcome all the giants that come against us, through a living faith in Yeshua or Lord.