To be effective in the world, we need to understand which kingdom we serve and steadfastly refuse to bow to any kingdom that is not the Kingdom of God. We must realize who we are in Christ and take a stand against those influences and images that would turn us from the Kingdom of God to the kingdoms and systems of this world.
There are a few things we need to understand before we can gain a healthy concept of how this kingdom thing works. Some of these things apply to both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness.
For instance, we need to understand that every kingdom has a monarch -- usually a king -- and every monarch has dominion over his or her area of influence.
A prime example would be to remember the Robin Hood stories and how the people of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest were always getting in trouble for killing "the King's deer" or some such rebellious act.
The king had certain rights and a great deal of influence over his realm. Kingdoms are usually broken down into territories, and those territories are filled with people who make up the subjects of that particular kingdom.
In addition, most kingdoms have a set of laws or rules, or what we may call a constitution, which govern the operation of the kingdom. There are armies that got to battle on behalf of the kingdom when necessary, and governments that are in place to help the kingdom operate smoothly.
As believers, those who are born again, we are to no longer live our lives according to the kingdom or system of this world. Our King is Jesus and our law, or set of rules, or constitution if you will, is the Bible. We have influence over specific areas and we can and should take territory for the Kingdom of God. We are called to go into the world and bring the reality of the Kingdom of God to the people.
Again, we have a choice. We must choose between the kingdoms of this world and the world's systems, which are failing at an alarming rate, or the Kingdom of the Living God.
I will repeat that I understand that for some it will not be an easy choice. Choosing God's kingdom will mean saying "no" to and letting go of the fleshly pleasures the world offers: it will mean saying "no" to the daily seduction and constant enticement of the world and its corrupt way of doing things.
But it is the only choice that makes sense ... the only choice with hope and a future ... the only choice that offers life everlasting.
I pray we all make the right choice.