Day 17

Allegiance to the King

from the The Kingdom of God reading plan

Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Luke 9:21-27, Luke 18:18-30, Philippians 3:20-21, 1 John 2:15-17

BY Bailey Gillespie

As followers of Jesus, our allegiance is to the King, and His kingdom is our priority. Submitting to Christ as King is an act of worship.

“If anyone wants to follow after me,” said Jesus to His disciples, “let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). 

Deny yourself. Ooph. It’s one of those statements that cuts straight into me. Nothing in me likes the thought of denying myself. It creates the feeling of lack and I don’t like to feel the cavernous growl any more than the unfulfilled desires of my heart.  

Reading today’s passages, I had to ask myself the honest question: as a follower of Jesus, what does it even mean to deny myself? Or pick up my cross? (After those first two, the questions kept on coming.) How do believers practice the kind of self-denial Jesus talked about without being doormats or shadows of who God created us to be? How do we avoid self-erasing and abuse, while, at the same time, also avoid idolizing self-care or, as my friend likes to put it, “building the kingdom of me”?

Our allegiance must be to our King. If you look at verse 25, Jesus also says, “For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself?” (or “soul” as some translations say). Denying ourselves isn’t about losing our God-given identity. What Jesus is saying is that instead of going after our own agendas, we should seek first the kingdom.

To do this, we must look to Jesus again. In the full passage from Luke 9, Jesus isn’t talking about self-imposed pain in an effort to be holier. We weren’t called to be hermits or doormats without boundaries. But we are told to expect trials in our day-to-day lives and to face them head-on for the sake of our greater calling.  

As believers, our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Even though it’s right and good to thank God for the many amazing gifts He gives us, we want to be careful about developing a love for the world and our own comfort over our love for Christ (1John 2:15). Instead, our devotion and allegiance should be to our first love. 

There will be days when we’re asked to give up a lot. A whole lot. There may be years that feel like we’re waiting for a harvest that isn’t coming. Life will require great endurance. That’s a promise. But there will also be beauty and the deep satisfaction of partnering with our King in His mission to redeem and restore our world. This is the tradeoff for denying ourselves and taking up our cross. We share in the sufferings of Christ, but we also get to share in the joy. Keep following Jesus, friends. It’s worth it. 

Post Comments (59)

59 thoughts on "Allegiance to the King"

  1. Allison Jones says:

    Diane, Praying for your son and family.

  2. Madison says:

    Please pray for me as I haven’t been able to escape or find relief from stress, which is turning into worries about how it’s affecting my physical health and ability to get pregnant. Trying to seek first his Kingdom.

    Diane, I just prayed for you and your family.

  3. hillary Stephens says:

    What a great perspective! I will be allowing myself the small breaks I need today, so that I can continue the work God has set in front of me. Such a practical way to follow the habits of Jesus!

  4. Mom to many says:

    @diane mom praying for you this morning and your son.

    Anne I love your “so that”. I do believe we need to practice self care so we can be filled in order to pour out and that certainly involves first and foremost our walk with Christ. I believe we also need to care for our emotional and physical needs and I know when I was a young mom that self care in these areas was not a priority for me and it took its toll. We often sacrifice our own needs for those of our families and I think we need to carve out time to get re-filled in all areas of our lives.

    I do need to daily remind myself that God’s kingdom is my priority and that submission is an act of worship. Give me eyes to see your kingdom today Jesus.

  5. Tabitha Lacovara says:

    Amen, Anne!

  6. Deanna says:

    “…avoid idolizing self-care” – Nail on the head!

  7. ERB says:

    So many GREAT passages today!!! I particularly loved Philippians 3:20-21 …reminds me that we are in this world, but not of it!! We are citizens of Heaven!! Yes!!!

    Another thing that stood out to me was Luke 9:27 “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

    …this made me think of Enoch and Elijah, both were taken up by God and never experienced an earthly death.

    Hebrews 11:5 “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    2 Kings 2:11 “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”

    Luke’s words about death and the kingdom of God made me wonder… these words may have more than one meaning… something I will be reflecting on!

    Maura, this morning, I re-read Isaiah 8 and 9 (always like to refresh my mind on what we’ve been reading) and something I noticed was that the word UPRAISED kept being repeated over and over again… so I looked up the definition, it means: raised to a higher level; held up. …needless to say WHOA & WOW!!!! God wants us living our lives raised up to Him, living on a higher, He will hold us up!!! Mind. BLOWN!!! And total confirmation about what God has been laying on my heart!!! Anyways, just wanted to share that little tid bit…
    Isaiah 10… a few verses stood out to me.. Isaiah 10:1-2 Isaiah 16-17 and most prominently Isaiah 10:20 “In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.”

    SO much to digest… and to be grateful for!!

    Hope you wonderful sisters have a blessed day!!!

  8. Deanna says:

    @Diane – Praying for your family. I hope your son is on the mend quickly – and his dog is ok, too.

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