Confession: During our school’s mandatory SSR time, I am often led to read my phone bible.
Today’s scripture was Matthew 11:11
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Matthew 11:12 KJV
Words and order of words matter. Translations and versions matter. Context, when reading, always matters. “And from the days of John the baptist” adds so much context to something so randomly quoted as negative. When you read the whole thing, Jesus is actually extolling violent pursuit of the kingdom even as that pursuit is attacked. When John the Baptist began his ministry, he did so in a time when the prophets of old had said all they were going to say. God had fallen silent for hundreds of years, the Holy of Holies packed up as all but ceremony as God moved God’s spirit out of a box and prepared to reinhabit the inner man. John was the moving company; Jesus became the truck.
I love when God talks to me at random moments
Anyway, the new understanding drove me to ask a real question: How do we violently pursue the kingdom?
The violence itself isn’t always physical. When pursuing the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, the most active wars are first internal. We war with our own minds, habits, thoughts, emotions, and will. “Dying daily” means killing off the things that oppose the spirit: fear, anxiety, insecurity, pride, greed, impatience…you know. Heart issues. Things that drive a wedge between you and the promise.
So I ask you again: how violently do we pursue the kingdom? Why are we still outchea like cities with no walls? Because in order to posess the land, we must first fight what lives there. In this mindful moment, consider with me how much of a fight we are putting up for promises that are already yes and amen. Ask God to direct your steps and allow the Holy Spirit to clean out the clutter of your mind so that God has room to grow you. Pursue your kingdom.