Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reflections on Becoming Royalty

Bill and I went to see “The King’s Speech” this weekend. As I watched it I was struck by how clearly King George VI journey to the throne relates to much of what the Bible teaches us about our lives with Christ.

Here’s the background to the story: It takes place in England in the late 1930s. Bertie, as he is called by his family, is the second son of the King of England. His father dies rather suddenly and Bertie’s older brother, David, becomes the new king of England. However, his brother is madly in love with a twice divorced American woman and isn’t much interested in reigning as England’s king.

Bertie, as we know him, has a challenge. He stutters. His challenge has kept him in fear throughout most of his life, but as he is called to give speeches, he seeks out help. He eventually finds a man named Lionel Logue who begins to help him. His methods are rather unorthodox, which make the movie pretty funny, but they are helping Bertie to speak more clearly.

However, Lionel knows and tries to help Bertie see, that the root of his stuttering is fear.

Bertie’s fear increases when his brother David abdicated the throne and he finds himself with a new name: George the VI and a new role: the King of England. All he can see is that he isn’t qualified, he doesn’t speak well, and he wasn’t raised to be the King….his identity is far from his name and role of King George VI.

Hmm, doesn’t that remind you of someone we know in the Bible? His name is Moses. He grew up in the royal family and he also stuttered. He had challenges accepting his royal position and finds himself literally shepherding sheep in the desert for 40 years. One day, however, everything changed for Moses when he saw a burning bush in front of him.

When he walked towards it and questioned what it was, he heard the Lord speaking to him. Moses, a royal prince turned shepherd, only accepted the call after the Lord told him that he could have a spokesperson with him since he too, stuttered. He did not see in himself what God saw, a redeemer for the nation of Israel, who lived as slaves in Egypt.

Both Bertie and Moses remind me of myself and, I suspect, many of you. We weren’t raised to believe that we are royalty; that our identity is in actuality, a beloved child of the King of the Universe.

However, if we choose to believe what the Bible says is true, we need to adjust our expectations of our role in life. Romans 8:14-17 speaks to our true identity:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

We are children of the king first, and as we learn to live as his beloved children, we move into our true heritage: being heir to the throne. When we live as beloved children, we learn to know the heart of the King, so that we can partner with him to bring forth his desires on earth.

Moses and Bertie each faced a moment where they had to decide: who were they going to be in life?

Would they continue to do the job of shepherding sheep or giving speeches at out of the way locations, going about life as business as usual, or were they willing to face their fears, develop their true identity, and rule?

Bertie was able to make the transition from fearful man to courageous king.

He led England through World War 2 and in his speeches, his place of greatest dying to his fears, led them to become a beacon of hope in a very dark war.

Moses also made the transition. He faced his fear, dying to it, and became the biggest headache Pharaoh ever experienced. His courage and obedience to walk in the ways of the Lord brought an entire nation out of slavery into freedom.

We have the same call. I believe part of the suffering mentioned in Romans 8:14-17 is the dying we have to do to our fears and to the lies we believe about ourselves. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a retreat and I asked them if when they woke up, they said to themselves “I am God’s beloved child in whom he delights.” They looked around at one another in shock: of course not!

But, I wonder, why not? If we are going to partner with the King Jesus to rule, we need to start with developing our identity as beloved children of the King. As we learn to live in the King’s family, we can begin to anticipate the King’s heart and mind and learn to rule with him.

Ephesians 2:6 tells us that “We are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ.”

Revelations 3:21 invites us to live out God’s invitation in Romans 8:

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.

Like Moses, like Bertie, we are invited to sit at the King’s table, living life together with the King, and it is in that relationship that we develop the identity and mindset of a victorious ruler.

What will you decide?

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