It is God who has delivered us out of the dominion (jurisdiction, rule, authority) of darkness, and has transferred us into the Kingdom of His dearly-loved Son. Colossians 1:13
Sometimes in our attempt to explain the miracle of salvation our culture has missed part of the soul shaking reality that when we “ask Jesus into our hearts” (which is a euphemism not found in scripture, by the way) we are leaving one spiritual kingdom for another. We are quite literally being rescued from a tyrannical ruler who sees our freedom as nothing less than treason, an act of war!
Is it any wonder that many new believers find themselves frustrated to the point of giving up when they are suddenly up against resistance at every turn? In many Western churches the reality of spiritual battle is left out as if not talking about it will make it go away or somehow thinking that new believers can survive better without any weapons. Some may even be under the false impression that if they disclose this truth people will be less likely to choose to follow Christ.
The truth is, all of us, without Christ, are subjects of an evil king in a kingdom that is set up for our destruction. As subjects of that kingdom we are often blind to this fact. We may very well think we are ruling our own lives and living in freedom but that is only an illusion to keep us from realizing we are actually subjects who can and will be destroyed if not rescued.
When we awaken to reality and realize there is another Kingdom, God’s Kingdom and we see His innate goodness and holiness, we want nothing more than to repent and be rescued. Sometimes this awareness comes in stages but when it is realized by a person that person will give up anything of the old kingdom because there is just no comparison! Sometimes, the deeper into the kingdom of darkness one has been held captive, the easier it is to leave it behind.
Matthew 11:12 is a bit of a confusing verse on the surface. “The Kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” Adam Clarke’s commentary explains it by comparing the Pharisees to the harlot and tax collectors. It’s like the idea of a well fed man and a man who has not eaten in a week at a banquet. Starving men tend to lose their manners.
Think too of a prisoner of war. When they are rescued and set free, they have no desire to bow to their enemy captor ever again. Clarke says this regarding Matthew 11:12, “He that will take, get possession of the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and spiritual joy, must be in earnest: all hell will oppose him in every step he takes; and if a man be not absolutely determined to give up his sins and evil companions, and have his soul saved at all hazards, and at every expense, he will surely perish everlastingly. This requires a violent earnestness.”
Do you have a violent earnestness against the kingdom of darkness and against anything in your own heart that would bow to the ruler of that kingdom? The enemy wants to keep you as a prisoner of war. Jesus came to set the captives free. Even if you are too weak to walk away from the chains that held you, cry out to Him. He will fight for you and carry you out. Never look back. There is nothing there for you. Even if the rest of your life is spent warring, it is much better than living in bondage to a master who hates you.