Keys to the Kingdom
Illustrating a Truth of The Keys to the Kingdom
All of us started out with the wonder-filled, open, trusting heart of a little child. We loved and laughed freely! Sadly, due to an accumulation of life's hurts that we did not release, we left childlikeness behind by binding the pain and injustice of the past to ourselves. Outwitted by an invisible enemy, we locked ourselves in a dungeon of emotional pain and bondage, trapped behind walls erected within our own hearts. We became just like the" grown-ups" around us: self-defensive, self-protective and self-seeking. Jesus says that we will never be able to enter His Kingdom that way. We must become like little children all over again.
For the record, Jesus is not saying in the Matthew 18 passage that we won't get into heaven above. It's true that a childlike faith in the gospel is required for genuine conversion to take place. But He insists that we need something more than conversion. We need to live with childlike faith daily or we will "never enter the Kingdom." What kingdom is He talking about? The Kingdom of heaven on earth. Paul tells us that God's Kingdom on earth is a realm of righteousness (right ways), peace, joy and the Holy Spirit. Who doesn't want more of that?
Unforgiveness is the number one block to healing and to the Kingdom's peace and power. According to Jesus it leads to unanswered prayer, un-received mercy, hardness of heart, spiritual bondage and painful inner torment.[i] Hidden and unrecognized unbelief can also bar our entry into the Kingdom, because it hardens the heart before God just as powerfully as un-forgiveness does.[ii]
Jesus gives us grace-forged keys to His Kingdom of peace and joy, keys that will unlock our true potential and restore childlike vitality. Let's get really good at using them!
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:19 ESV
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-3 ESV
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 ESV
Father, thank You for translating me out of darkness and into the glorious Kingdom of Your Beloved Son! I repent of and renounce all false ideas about where the joy and peace are to be found. You have placed it all around me and within me! Thank You for giving me the keys to Your Kingdom. Help me to get really good at using them to unlock my heart from un-forgiveness towards myself and others and from all the ways in which I have not been believing in who You are and what You have promised. Thank You that it is Your desire to lead me into this Kingdom!
[i] Mark 11:25: "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses"; Matthew 18:34-35: "And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
[ii] Hebrews 3:12: Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
Next Illustrated Insight
Illustrating how we grow stronger through engaging in spiritual warfare.
Interested in Going Deeper?
Consider taking our free eCourse for Healing. We have designed a complete series for personal transformation, "Matters of the Heart," to help Christians gain emotional freedom and inner healing. In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!