The Kingdom of the Prince of Peace (Part 2)

By 3:24 p.m. today, December 1, 2011, this road will have vanished.

No, this is not a doomsday forecast. This is knowledge of an event that happens with regularity and predictability.

The tide will come in, the waters will fill the sea, and this road in Starboard, Maine, will disappear under a glittering expanse of water. The land in the background will be accessible only by boat.

A few miles down the road in Roque Bluffs, a sandbar and most of the beach will be swallowed by the water. In Cutler, hundreds of acres of mud flats dotted with jutting rocks will transform into Holmes Bay, and you’ll see only rippling waves stretching to the horizon.

All along the downeast coast, the tide comes in and covers rocks, sandbars, mud flats, and beaches. Waters flow into bays and inlets, rivers and creeks. The sea swells and fills up the boundaries set for it, changing completely the landscape, seascape, and life itself in what is called the intertidal zone.

I know this analogy is not perfect, but keep those images in your head …

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When Christ rules, peace comes to His kingdom.

And that is the key: When He rules. We call Him our Lord and Master, but does He truly govern us? “Master” implies total control. What controls you? You know what it is to be controlled by other things: anger, ambition, parental protection of your children, a desire for revenge, or the craving for attention or chocolate cake.

I must ask myself: What moments of my life are ruled and controlled by someone other than the one I call Master, Teacher, Lord, King? When are my thoughts and actions dictated by something other than the laws of His Kingdom?

I must examine this question because I still do things I do not want to do; I still fail to do what I want to do. I still hurt others; I still feel hostility, battle an urge to strike out, and fight for what I want. I am still being taught by His Spirit, but I am not always a quick or willing student.

We even carry such things into the church. Paul warns us that if we’re always biting and devouring one another, we’ll destroy each other. Instead, he says, let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.

In Christ’s kingdom,

Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
      for as the waters fill the sea,
      so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD.

This image resonated with me because I have seen the waters fill all the boundaries of the sea and bring drastic change. A Midwestern landlubber, I had, of course, read about tides, but I never understood what a change they could make in the land and seascape until I watched the extreme tides of downeast Maine.

Learning to know the One we call Father and LORD changes us just as surely and extremely as the tides change the downeast coast. Scripture says it:

All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Learning to know the Father changes us! I have seen it in my own life and the lives of others. Knowledge of the Lord expands His kingdom here on earth (we pray for that in the Lord’s prayer). When the Prince of Peace rules, lions lay down with lambs.

I know the tide of His Spirit is still coming in, changing the landscapes of my own heart and of Jesus’ church. As we learn to know our Father, we become more like Him. We are given new natures. Extreme, I know. But we were also once dead, and now we live with the Spirit of Christ himself in us. That’s extreme, too!

 

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Scripture: Galatians 5:15; Colossians 3:15; Isaiah 11:9; Colossians 1:10; Colossians 3:10 (All NLT)

Thanks to friend Dorothy for pointing out to me the Scriptures that depict God setting boundaries for the seas. (Proverbs 8:29) Never thought about it in that way before.

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