“We are people of a King and a kingdom”.

This line, from a sermon on the Beatitudes by Adam Heather, has stayed with me and challenged me deeply. Much of my Christian walk has been a rather personal journey and I like it that way. Something of my very private Dutch upbringing lingers. Live and let live is the maxim that I was raised on and have generally lived by. I do my best to nurture my relationship with God but don’t interfere with anybody else’s and I’d prefer they didn’t interfere with mine, thank you very much.

But the opening line of this blog tells me that God requires more of me. It’s not enough to selfishly cocoon myself away, getting fat on good sermons and books, while the world is starving for spiritual truth and nourishment around me. Such self-centered Christianity leads to sluggishness, not growth.

If I love my King, I will also care deeply about his kingdom. If I truly want to serve him, I will listen closely to what he says about his kingdom and accept his invitation to get involved in kingdom business.

One thing Jesus said—something we’ve all recited countless times without giving it too much thought—is ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Recently I listened to a podcast (yes, yes, getting fatter still) where a couple spoke about praying the Lord’s Prayer on a daily basis in a personal, interactive way. The husband has been doing this for more than 5 years. My first thought was, ‘Wow, that would get boring,’ but I took up the challenge to pray the Lord’s Prayer for a few days in a row, slowly reciting a line and then adding what came to my heart before moving on to the next line.

It was far from boring. In fact, it was deeply meaningful, and it gave me a fresh glimpse into the heart of Jesus, who came to bring God’s kingdom to earth and draw as many as he could into a life under God’s rule. If I call Jesus my King, this should be my heart too.

I’m taking some baby steps into this. Praying ‘thy kingdom come’ is a good first step, coupled with listening what God might want me to do to help bring this about. He’s nudging me to get involved in more corporate prayer, especially prayer for missionaries and my nation. At the same time, I pray (with a little trepidation) that he gives me a heart that cares about the things he cares about, as the song lyric says: ‘break my heart for what breaks yours’.

I end by taking some inspiration from Tolkien, who wrote particularly rousing lines for his characters. Some of the best are the battle cries they uttered, often as they faced impossible odds.  Éomer cries, “Rohirrim! To the king!” Thorin Oakenshield cries, “Du bekâr!” (“to arms”). Theoden cries, “Let this be the hour when we draw swords together!

I’m hearing an urgent bugle call on the wind. Too long have I sat on the sidelines as two kingdoms clash for the hearts of humanity. It’s time for me to put on my armour and stand with my King. It’s time for me to draw my sword and shout, “For the King and the kingdom!