Sheldon Clowdus

Disciple . Husband . Father


Two Kingdoms
Scripture is very clear that there are 2 distinct kingdoms that we must contend with. One being the Kingdom of God, and the other being the kingdom of the world.

in John 18:36, Jesus makes it clear that his kingdom is not of this world:

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."

In Revelation 11:55, John relates how one day, the kingdom of the world will become a part of God's kingdom to be ruled by Christ:

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."

The bible even tells us in Ephesians 2:19 that as believers we are not a part of this worldly kingdom:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

If there are 2 distinct kingdoms, and we are a part of God's kingdom, why do so many believers live as if the principles from the worldly kingdom work in the Kingdom of God?

Why do we continue to live as though the things that the world tells us lead to success, happiness, joy, etc. will inevitable lead to success, happiness, joy, etc. in God's kingdom?

What so many of Christians have done is try to import worldly principles into God's kingdom. Those principles get rebranded with religious titles and jargon, but they are, at heart, worldly principles.

The most prevalent of these in my experience is the principle of success. What is success and how do you evaluate if you are successful or not?

The world tells us success is found in measuring the results of a task. If your job is to sell cars, success is found in how many cars you sell. Success is black and white and very measurable. As a matter of fact, if you can't measure the results of what you are doing, then you are doing something wrong.

What happens is that definition of success is imported into the life of the believer or the life of the church. The assumption is that church success is somehow found in numbers (attendance, tithing, baptisms) and that we have to have a plan to track and measure these numbers. To be successful, we must find a way to increase those numbers. Most of the time hearts are in the right place. Pastors and church leaders legitimately want to be successful, they just are going about it the wrong way.

The problem with this confusion is that when numbers become the measurement of success, then increasing numbers at all costs is justified regardless of methodology. Welcome to the can of worms known as "contextualization". The chain of reasoning goes like this:
1. The more people saved and baptized the better
2. In order to get saved, people must hear the gospel.
3. People must come to church to hear the gospel.
4. We must get people to come to church and stay long enough to get saved.
5. Whatever it takes to get people to come and stay at church is justified because it leads to fulfilling number 1.

The root of this problem is in allowing the worldly definition of success to define success in the kingdom of God. When we allow worldly wisdom to reign in God's kingdom, nothing good can come of it.

Paul warns the Colossians of this very thing in Colossians 2:4-10:

I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

The lesson to be learned is this: nothing transfers from the world to God's kingdom. We must unlearn everything we think to be true and allow Christ to become our wisdom. Christ alone through His word defines success and everything else in His kingdom. Any attempt on our part to add to Christ's wisdom does nothing but empty the cross of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband, and a father. I teach 5th grade in my hometown of Rome, Georgia.


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