I was thinking about kingdoms today. Check out the basics:
God is King of His Kingdom – Psalm 24:7-10
7Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!
Christ is the reigning and returning King – Revelation 19:15-16
15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Kingdoms and parenting go together. God is King; we live in His kingdom. We are underlings. Nobody likes underlings – least of all our children. Have you ever thought of that? Why don’t you like underlings? First of all, they can tell us what to do since they are literally under someone else’s authority. Secondly, they can’t make changes to the boss’ rules (we hate that). Thirdly, we like access and power and underlings prevent us from both.
Our children are no different. They are uber-underlings – think of that! This is especially relevant once we consider what it actually means to live in God’s kingdom. There are rules, you see. There’s a standard for right and wrong (one that’s already completely written, by the way). It is the law of God set forth in the Bible.
Let’s say little bubba or precious suzie-Q break the rules. What have they done? Two things. First, they have disregarded the existing rules of the King. They have acted as if He’s not really sitting on that Throne regarding all their thoughts, words and actions. They have said, “There is no God” and have become as fools: Psalm 14:1. Wow, do they need the Gospel.
But, no one likes an empty throne, so they do a second thing: they write new rules. When little precious decides to snipe at her sister, she’s created a rule that says, “In my kingdom, sniping is allowed.” When cheesy-grin boy grumbles at bed-time, he’s codified a new law, “In my kingdom, bedtime is when I say it is!” Note to self: rules that we make are only ever good for just us.
We – parents (and all) – must live in light of these two kingdoms before we try to press our children for kingdom obedience, don’t we? We have the same tendencies to ascend the throne, re-write the rules and rule kingdoms. You love to be kings and queens and kingdom-rulers!
We must parent our children in light of these two constantly competing kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Me. In the latter, I’m king and I make the rules and you’d better listen. Yet, in the former, He is King and He is the best of Kings. His rules – so wise and purposeful – can always do infinitely more good than rules we or our children create.