Eric Fleshood: Receiving the Kingdom

I remember well the acute anticipation I felt leading up to my wedding day. The knowledge that I would receive a great gift: the person with whom I shared so much joy would be my wife. I was filled with a longing, a spiritual energy, and a happiness that anyone could see on my face.

In the meantime, there were preparations to be made. Securing the venue, making the invitation list, planning the ceremony, registering for gifts, catering the rehearsal dinner. Things that I might not enjoy doing otherwise became enjoyable because of one essential fact: On August 15, 1998, I would receive my beloved as my bride forever after.

Hebrews 12:28a says, “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” God’s kingdom is something we receive. It’s not achieved, earned, accomplished, completed, or merited by us. Jesus put it like this: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Our Father is giving us the kingdom out of his good pleasure.

This way of thinking conflicts with our normal way of life in a world where everything is earned and nothing comes easy. I must confess it is hard for me not to think that way about the kingdom. You may have heard me use the phrase, “building the kingdom.” If I am not careful, an attitude and perspective starts to take root in my heart, one that says, “It’s up to me and the Church to build the kingdom. God is helping us, but it’s up to us.” Pretty soon this kingdom becomes one we achieve rather than receive. And the Christian life becomes an oppressive duty rather than an exciting privilege.

So what then do we do while we await our King? Are we passive? Is God against industry and productivity? By no means. Like the days leading up to the receiving of my bride, we make ourselves and the world ready for His arrival. He has already decided to give us the kingdom. We only long to please Him when He is revealed. We act according to our greatest expectations, worship Him with reverence and awe, and remove every obstacle to receiving Him with joy on that greatest of all wedding days.

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