Tempted To Fight Like the World
Matt. 19:30 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
The way things function in the kingdom is simply not the way of the world. Jesus spent a lot of time teaching his disciples these truths. He had just been teaching them about the struggle that wealthy people would have in entering the kingdom of God. The disciples wanted to know where they fit into the picture and Jesus talked to them about the last being first and the first last.
In the kingdom of God things don’t function the same way that they do in the world. Winning by the worlds standards — getting the most money or the most powerful position — may not make anyone “first” in the kingdom, but instead, it may result in being last!
Jesus was constantly revealing the kingdom to his followers. Little glimpses of the kingdom of heaven allowed them to understand the direction in which Jesus was leading them and the way in which God planned to transform the world. God doesn’t work by the world’s standards and that’s why it was so important to understand, “for mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (v. 26)
If this is true, why do we continue to fight battles in a worldly manner? Let’s be honest, we love to adopt the tactics of the world which include power and money to accomplish our goals. And maybe that’s the problem — we want to accomplish “our” goals, which are not necessarily God’s goals for humanity. Getting our own way and winning the day doesn’t quite sound like Jesus, does it? In moments of weakness his disciples were tempted to fight in the ways of the world. Peter struck the man in the garden, cutting off his ear. That was the worldly response — fighting back and doing some damage. Jesus healed the man.
The temptation to fight like the world is great. We are angered when we experience injustice and we want to right the wrongs. There are times to become engaged, but never without the participation and leading of our holy God. In the kingdom the last shall be first and the first will be last. It’s the upside down nature of the kingdom and it’s the way in which God works. We can’t necessarily figure it out and that’s where faith must become a part of the equation. Only with God is all of this possible and that’s why we are told to first seek the kingdom of God and when we do that, he will take care of the rest.
If we are trying to “win” from a worldly perspective, we will ultimately lose.
Lord, please help me to seek you and your kingdom. Amen.