[T]hou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength
Mark 12:30 KJV (portion)
The fool says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1). It takes faith to please God, for one must first believe that God is! (Hebrews 11:6). This is the first, and greatest commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Consider for a moment, the Gospel of John. Jesus says in John 16:27 that the Father loves us because we love His son and believe that He came from God. In John 14:15, Jesus says that if we love Him, we will obey Him. And, throughout the final chapters before the crucifixion, Jesus’ repeated command to the believers was this:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
While the summation of the Old Covenant, all of the Law and the Prophets hung upon these two commands, it should be considered that the goal of the New Covenant is the same, that is also hangs upon these two.
The Man of Faith in the Kingdom
- Happy all the Time. The state of the man in faith is maximum happiness. Matthew 5:3, “Most Happy are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Not only this, but he is a prisoner of this happiness because of his faith. So long as he stays in faith, he remains happy. For poverty of Spirit, this can be described as “when you’re at the end of you’re rope, tie a knot in it and hang on, cuz God is on the way.” Or, “We start where most people let off”. We don’t have problems, we simply need faith in God.
- Happy is a byproduct of faith. It is not worked up, it is not labored for. It comes as a by-product of simply believing in the promise. Matthew 13:44, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who found a treasure in a field, and for joy, went and sold all he had and bought that field.” A great way to teach faith is to meditate on the promise, such as kingdom of heaven being yours, and when happy comes, what changed is called “faith”. Afterwards, if happy leaves, what changed is called “unbelief”. Focus on the promise again to return to faith, and we answer any doubts in the interim with the Word of God.
- Happy is the promise of mature faith. Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” As a natural offshoot of the other two premises. Happy doesn’t always PROVE faith, as happy can come from ignorance, but happy is assured when, in the face of being assured of the dangers, you are MORE convinced of the provision. When your spirit sees, and faith is, happy is.
- The Kingdom is always “At Hand”. Isaiah 9:7, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” Only the first and the last beatitude promise a current reality, “Yours is the Kingdom.” The rest promise a future reality, such as “will see God”, “Shall be filled”, or “shall be comforted”. That means, for many, the manifestation of the good is at some time in the future. But, for the first and the last, the promise is now. The Kingdom always answers the immediate need, whether poor in spirit or persecuted for righteousness sake. It would stand to reason that the quickest way to the double portion is to be both at the same time. Jesus was this on the cross.
- Happy is the motivation. James 1:2, “ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” Paul was shown the trials he would endure, but he also knew the exceeding weight of glory. It was for the joy set before Jesus, that He endured the cross. We don’t seek poor in spirit or persecution. And, while we do seek purity of heart and meekness and do not shun hungering and thirsting for righteousness, it is the bliss of being with Him that makes us both willing and able to endure, no matter what the cost to obey.
- Happy only works with a Father. John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”Whether these are literal promises or merely the principles of God’s heart, they work with simple reliance upon the heart of who God is, as the Father of creation. There is no favoritism, and what you do for others will be done for you, and then some. Trying to manipulate these principles will only result in you being manipulated by God Himself (Psalm 18:26).
- This life cannot be your aim. 1 John 2:15, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. … If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” This teaching does not make one popular, it keeps you alive and going through. Maximumly happy, in its greatest form of course, is on the cross, breathing your last, and forgiving those who are mocking and spitting on you, when you’re innocent. It was this position that put Jesus on the Cross, and it is these priorities that moved the heart of the Father to take lift Him back up. But, He had to go through. So long as you can make it through, you win.
- There is always a reason to be happy. Matthew 5:3-12, “Most Happy… Most Happy… Most Happy… Most Happy…..” In the pursuit of Jesus and His Kingdom, we can be guaranteed of persecutions and tribulations. But, according to Jesus, there is always a reason to be happy, because to be oppressed for doing good is honorable before God, and He will not leave you hanging. If one doesn’t fit, try the next one. Or the next one. Until you’re happy.
- The happies are the proper commentary on the Old Covenant. Matthew 13:35, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Think of the deliverances of the Old Testament. In general, they will fall into one of these categories. The Israelites were poor in Spirit in Egypt, and God heard their cry. When they felt comfortable, and no longer had the breakthrough of the Spirit, they backslid, and didn’t have the covering.
- The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Matthew 18:1-4, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ”I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” If you’re not on the edge, you’re taking too much room. There is something about the constant drive of the Kingdom. You can stop any time you want to. You can choose to be a millionaire, but the moment you stop to enjoy what you’ve found, you run the immediate risk of losing the power. The Kingdom showed up not because you are something special, but simply because of Grace and Mercy. He showed up in mercy when you were poor in Spirit, and Grace when you were persecuted for righteousness sake. God is close to the broken hearted, and when God’s righteous law is broken, it is time for God to act (Psalm 119:126)! You could try to get out of the pressure, and you could say that you can’t survive the pressure, and it’s true, but God’s is able, and His strength is made perfect in weakness. What you are unable to do, when you reach consistently the end of yourself, you will consistently run into the provision of Him.
This is the promise of the Kingdom. These are the promises of Jesus. They are not the promises of today’s preachers or churches, but they are what the Kingdom is. They missed Jesus because He wasn’t the conquering King they expected, but we miss Him today, because He is still the same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever.
When we look at the Gospel, we see good news.
Despite the cost, despite the hardships, despite the pain. Despite anything.
When we look at the life of absolute surrender, the life of absolute submission, and absolute loss of this life, it is only a most extraordinary gospel that can still be good news in the wake of this.
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He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
Jesus had secrets. God has secrets.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”
It is something to think of this. In some ways, they were closely guarded secrets, yet on the other hand, they could be thought of as some of the ideas hidden in the most plain sight possible.
Even as Jesus had no earthly comeliness that men should be drawn to Himself, it was the inner, Spirit in the message that made the difference.
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