Everyone has a kingdom—in the biblical sense.
Your kingdom is that little sphere in which what you say goes. Your kingdom is the “range of [y]our effective will.”
People learn they were made to have kingdoms early on. It’s why we don’t like to be told what to do. One of my wife’s favorite expressions is “You’re not the boss of me.” It’s one of my favorites too.
What is a two-year-old’s favorite word? No. Their second favorite? Mine. They’re learning they have a kingdom. That’s kingdom language.
On car trips, little kids asked to “share” the backseat will usually draw an invisible line. In doing so, they’re saying, “You’d better not cross over. This is my kingdom.” They begin to defend their kingdoms. But Dad thinks the car is his kingdom. He warns the kids to settle down and sends his hand into the backseat. The kids shrink into the corner. Comedian Ken Davis advises that when this happens, “a touch on the brakes brings them right into play.” Thy kingdom come.
My kingdom is the range of my effective will. It’s the sphere where things go the way I want them to go.
Having a kingdom is a good thing. It’s part of what God made you for: “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have dominion’” (Genesis 1:26, NRSV). “Dominion” is kingdom language.
My family was taking a walk on a path through some hills. A man whose house was on the path came out of his house and asked us what our dog’s name was. I thought he was being friendly.
Suddenly he screamed at us that we were on private property. He unleashed a barrage of profanity-laced hostility that caught us all off guard in its meanness.
Whose kingdom was he living in?
That man was living in what might be called the “kingdom of self.” This is my kingdom. I’ll guard it. I won’t share it. If you violate my kingdom, I’ll kill you. We had trespassed on his kingdom.
On earth, all our little kingdoms intersect and merge and form larger kingdoms—families, corporations, nations, and economic, political, and cultural systems. We could call that whole conglomeration the “kingdom of the earth.” And that kingdom is junked up by sin.
John Ortberg, Eternity Is Now in Session: A Radical Rediscovery of What Jesus Really Taught about Salvation, Eternity, and Getting to the Good Place (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2018).
I have just completed a series of lessons on the theme of Eternity Is Now In Session. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year.