Long, long ago there was a boy who was born to a very poor family. His parents couldn’t buy him toys or things that other children could easily get. One can compare the way he grew up to a little plant growing up in dry, dusty ground – a little plant that received little water and very little attention. What made this boy’s circumstances even harder was the fact that he many times was sick and in pain. And, on top of this – he wasn’t attractive at all! People didn’t like him and didn’t want to be around him. They turned their faces away and walked past him to talk to somebody more attractive and more fun to be with. If the boy tried to say something, they ignored him or made some nasty remarks about what he said.
Like all other boys and girls, he was very much tempted to bitterness, anger, jealousy, to be offended, discouraged, to self-pity and many other things. But his parents believed in God and his mother taught him to pray. So, when people didn’t like him or avoided him or were nasty to him and mocked him about the way he looked or what he said, he prayed to God and asked Him what he should do. And amazingly, God answered his prayers! He brought words that he had heard in the synagogue and had read in the Torah (Bible) to his mind and thus reminded him for example to love those who hated him and avoided him and said bad things about him.
With tears he asked God to help him do what God brought to his mind, for example, to love those boys that were so nasty to him and to forgive them for what they had done to him. God heard his prayers and gave him the strength to go right against his own will – right against his own human tendencies, for example, to repay evil with evil or to give in to self-pity or to be angry and bitter. He chose to forgive them and to think well of them, and God helped Him in all of this.
And so he realised that he could talk to God about anything, about what he was tempted to when he couldn’t do what healthy kids could do or buy things which other young boys could buy, and all the things he was tempted to when they didn’t like him and pushed him aside. God then showed him that to be restricted because of sickness or not having money to buy nice things or not to be liked means just nothing and cannot bring true peace and happiness in his heart. He discovered that the only thing that made him truly happy was when he did God’s will in every situation, no matter what he was tempted to.
So, when people didn’t like him or avoided him or were nasty to him and mocked him about the way he looked or what he said, he prayed to God and asked Him what he should do.
This was of course not so easy at all, for it was very painful not to give in to his own will so that he could do God’s will. Every time he did God’s will – for example, not to repay evil with evil – it was like “dying” to his own will that protested inside him against the treatment he got from others. Murderers in those days were crucified on wooden crosses, and they died a very painful death on that cross. To “die” to his own will felt just as painful as that. But he gave himself for this suffering and didn’t complain or argue with God. Just like a sheep who doesn’t open its mouth or make a noise when it is slaughtered, he suffered quietly while the “blood” (his self-will) was flowing from him.
When his own will that wanted to have things otherwise finally “died”, he experienced tremendous freedom, rest, peace, and joy in his heart! This was something that was right from heaven, something not human, which God has poured into his heart! And the things that seemed so important to him before, like to have nice things or to be popular and to be liked by others had no longer power over him. It was as if God made his spirit free and alive! And it no longer hurt him at all when people rejected him or were nasty to him! Or if they ignored him totally while having fun with others who were much more attractive and gifted.
The more he talked to God and did what God told him in his heart and mind to do, the more he felt that God was near him and in him. It became clear to him that when you do the will of somebody else, that person is actually “living” in you – his thoughts and plans etc. He felt that God was always in him and has never left him because he always did His will. He then realised that the only thing important to God in this life is when you do His will. Just like it is more important for a mother that a child obeys her when she for example tells the child to go and sleep, than any nice picture the child wants to draw instead of just obeying.
He therefore made a firm decision and said to God: “God, with this body that You have given me, I’m going to do Your will and never my own! And I am not going to try to impress You with all sorts of sacrifices and things, but I’ll only do Your will! And it doesn’t matter if this body you gave me is sick or if people like it or not, I’m going to do Your will!” And then the amazing thing happened in the life of this boy: God gave him the strength to do His will and poured a gladness, peace, and joy in his heart that none of the boys that grew up with him ever experienced!
You cannot see God’s kingdom with your eyes, you cannot see it in physical things like castles, houses, etc; but the kingdom is in everyone who does the will of God.
It was as if this boy had discovered another world! And that world was right inside him! Inside him, God, the greatest King in heaven and on earth was present and showed him what is important in life and what is just emptiness, what is truly great and what is pure vanity. He called this life in his heart the kingdom of God because it was truly God who ruled inside him, Gold who ruled his thoughts, his plans, his reactions, his everything. He became so happy that he couldn’t keep this to himself and started telling people about the kingdom of God. He even taught them to pray to God: “Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth!”
Some heard him talking about God’s kingdom and asked him when God’s kingdom would come. They were of course thinking of an outward kingdom like that of David or Solomon, with a palace and soldiers etc. But then he told them: You cannot see God’s kingdom with your eyes, you cannot see it in physical things like castles, houses, etc; but the kingdom is in everyone who does the will of God. And he also taught them that it doesn’t help to pray “Lord, Lord” – to ask God to get this kingdom in you – when you don’t do what God tells you to do! But that you will only get God’s kingdom in you and taste it and experience it when you do the will of God.
He also shared with the people the words God had made so clear to him and said to them: These are not my words; these are the words God gave me. And if you do what I now tell you, I will help you from my own experiences in life how to “die to your own will” in order to do the will of God. And then God will come and make His home with you! Then you also get God’s kingdom in you! Those who believed him and did what he told them truly experienced all that he had told them! They could testify that it was true, that they had fellowship with God. Their hearts were filled with joy and nothing could ever take the kingdom of God from them, no circumstance, no persecution, poverty, famine; not even being in prison or anything else could take the joy and peace and happiness in their hearts from them.
Many true witnesses through the years wrote letters and spread this good news. Together with those who live in this age are inviting you to this kingdom today! You can start just like the little boy in this story, by opening your heart to God’s will. He’ll gladly make His will clear to you, and then send someone to guide you personally to help you to come into this happy and free life.
And do you know who He will send you to help and guide you? This very same boy that I told you about. His name is Jesus Christ, he was born in the little town Nazareth, not far from the sea of Galilee in Israel. He will gladly help and guide you through His Spirit to get this everlasting Kingdom in you and to come into exactly the same blessed and happy life as He lived here on earth.
You can now walk in Jesus’ footsteps.
A True Story, based on: