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The Purpose and Power of the Holy Spirit: God's Government on Earth
by Myles Munroe
Learn More | Meet Myles Munroe
The Power of Influence
Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error.
- —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I found myself sitting between kingdom and colony.
I was the guest of the United States ambassador to the Bahamas for an official state function at his residence. Also attending the function were both the premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and His Excellency, the royal governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This group of islands lies off the southeastern coast of my country of the Bahamas. At the writing of this book, the Turks and Caicos is a colony of Great Britain. The colony is overseen by the royal governor, who was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. He is the highest authority in that colony. The premier, however is an elected offical, approved by the Crown, who heads the local government.
The premier was the special guest of the American ambassador. The ambassador had also invited other members of the diplomatic corps., as well as distinguished governmental officials and guests from around the world. Previous to this gathering, I had already become well acquainted with the premier. At his invitation, I had visited his beautiful island territory to address governmental and civic leaders in a special national event, and we had become good friends.
During the state function at the US ambassador 's residence, I also came to know the royal governor fairly well because I was seated between him and the premier for over three hours during the proceedings. While the premier is a native-born Turks and Caicos Islander, His Excellency the Governor is pure British. When he spoke, you knew immediately that he was not from the islands.
As I conversed with these two distinguished leaders, one on either side of me, I realized once again the principle of kingdoms and their impact on their colonies. It refreshed my perspective and reminded me of my personal experience as a citizen of a former colony of the kingdom of Great Britain. There I sat between the crown and the colony, the governor and the administrator, the authority and the power. The governor was sent from the kingdom to live in the colony, among the people, to represent the Queen and execute her wishes and will in the colony. His primary purpose was to maintain the kingdom 's influence and presence in that territory.
The Kingdom Life
Years of research have led me to the conclusion that the practical outworking of kingdoms points us to truths and principles that transcend the mere political fortunes of individual empires. Seeing how they function actually:
- provides us with a deep understanding of our own nature as human beings
- reveals the key to our remarkable life purpose, and
- enables us to exercise our full potential in the world
These things have tremendous implications for the human race personally, prefessionally, socially, and politically; for our families, communities, nations, and the world.
I am in a somewhat unique position to discuss the nature of kingdoms and their colonies, having grown up in a land that was a British colony for nearly two hundred years, and having witnessed its peaceful transition to independence. I well remember what it meant to live under a monarch—both the mind-set of a kingdom and its functioning and procedures. Yet I also understand what it means to live in an independent nation, having eagerly followed our transition to self-government as a young person. My close acquaintance with these two ways of governing has been extremely beneficial to me as I have explored the nature of kingdom and what it means for every person on this planet.
My investigation into the concept of kingdom has convinced me that the success of your life and mine depends upon how well we understand and live out what I will call the kingdom life. I am not referring to a political system or to any particular national government, but to a way of understanding and living everyday life.
An Anti-Kingdom Perspective
The concept of kingdom may seem antithetical to the contemporary mind. Empires and their colonies seem outdated in the twenty-first century, just fading remnants of the past. Many nations today have representative governments. A number of former colonies and protectorates have gained their independence. Opportunities for self-government have expanded greatly throughout the world, and we rightly celebrate the political freedoms and opportunities these changes have brought. Human history has seen enough tyrannical kingdoms and dictators to want to move on to a different form of government.
Democracy is essentially humanity 's reaction to perverted kingdoms. The founders of the United States rebelled against what they considered an oppressive government, and the very genetics of contemporary Western society are anti-kingdom. Because of the strong influence of political and social ideas of independence and freedom, this perspective has permeated the world and affects many areas of our thinking, not just the governmental realm. It shows up in how we view and conduct ourselves in personal relationships, business, media, education, and even religion because our cultural experiences produce our definitions. This is why the concept of kingdom is dismissed by most people today as irrelevant and is even considered out-and-out frightening by others.
In the light of these developments, however, many people no longer understand what life in an authentic and uncorrupted kingdom entails. I believe this lack of understanding has hindered them in the way they 've approached their lives. Most of us have forgotten why kingdoms historically had such a profound impact on people and nations for thousands of years, some of which is still being felt. They haven 't recognized what the concept and history of kingdoms reveal that is vital to us today.
I therefore want to present to you, step-by-step, how the practical working of the kingdom life answers essential questions about our human existence, purpose, and fulfillment. We have approached our personal goals and problems, as well as our national and global crises, from many vantage points, but not often from this perspective. Democracies are valuable political institutions for us today, but I 'm referring to something that transcends our contemporary politics and government—something that speaks to the basis of our very being as humans. It has significance for people of all nations, religions, and creeds. It lies at the heart of the existence of every person on earth, whether Christians, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, agnostic, or atheist.
The character of this kingdom is, again, nothing like the political kingdoms of the past and present that seek to force others under their control based on territorial power, greed, or religious doctrine. Those kingdoms enslave. But the very nature of humanity, as well as the personal and corporate progress of the world, are designed to develop and thrive from the outworking of this kingdom.
I mentioned in the preface to this book that the principle issue of humanity is power, defined as "the ability to influence and control circumstances." We all want to direct and influence our lives in a positive and fulfilling way. The nature of this kingdom speaks directly to this need.
Understanding our association with this kingdom begins with an exploration of what all human kingdoms have shared in common and how they were different from the contemporary experience of government most of us are familiar with today. Then we can move to the larger context of what these qualities reveal about our human existence and purpose.
The Nature of Kingdom Government
I define a kingdom as "the governing authority and influence of a sovereign ruler who impacts his territory through his will, purpose, and intentions, which are manifested in the culture, lifestyle, and quality of his citizenry." A king must have his dominion, or his territory. We call it his "king-dominion" or his kingdom. You cannot be a king without having territory; you have to be ruling over something. And you cannot be a king without having kingdom citizens who live and work in the kingdom.
In a true, traditional kingdom, all power is vested in the monarch. The king actually, personally owns the country, including the people. In contrast, a president or prime minister in a representative government doesn 't own the country; he governs it on behalf of the people.
The king implements his vision for the kingdom. There is no congress or parliament to discuss which laws they 're going to create. There is only the monarch, and he has immediate access to his handpicked, trusted council, who carry out his wishes. The job of these advisors is to take the will of the king, translate it into the law of the land, and make sure it is enacted throughout the kingdom.
A kingdom is therefore the governing influence of a king over his territory, impacting and influencing it with his personal will. In a kingdom, the king 's personal interest becomes policy, and the king 's personal will becomes law. Thus, the effectiveness of a kingdom and its power is its ability to influence and control the territory according to the vision of the king.
The Goal of the Kingdom: Ruling and Gaining Territory
Most kingdoms throughout history have sought to take additional land, sometimes at some distance from the home country, because the power of a king is related to the territory he owns. The more territory a king had, the greater he was respected by other kingdoms, especially if the territories had abundant natural wealth. The home country of the king was his domain, and the outlying territories were his colonies.
Once a colony was gained, the sovereign 's number one goal was to exercise his personal influence over it.
The Transformation of Colonies into the Kingdom
A colony is comprised of "a group of emigrants or their descendants who settle in a distant land but remain subject to the parent country." The word colony comes from the Latin word colonia, derived from colere, meaning "to cultivate." In this sense, a colony is:
- the presence of a distinct cultural citizenry in a foreign territory that is goerned by the laws and customs of its home country.
- established to influence the territory for the home government.
This means that a colony 's purpose was essentially to:
- be an extension of the home country in another territory.
- establish a prototype of the original country in another territory.
- represent the values, morals, and manners of the home country.
- manifest the culture and lifestyle of the original nation.
When a kingdom takes a territory, therefore, its goal is to make that territory exactly like the kingdom. The purpose is not only to gain lands, but also to transform those lands so that they mirror the country in its mind-set and lifestyle, its characteristics and culture. In this way, the kingdom not only extends its power, but it also expands the influence of its very nature.
The Roman Empire had a specific way of ensuring the permanency and effectiveness of a kingdom influence over its colonies. When the Romans conquered a region, they planted a group of about three hundred of their own citizens, as well as a larger number of those allied with the empire, and a number of settlers, within it to serve as a type of military outpost. These constituted a "colony of Roman citizens" (colonia civium Romanorum) or a "little Rome." A colony of Roman citizens was free from taxation and military duty. It had its own constitution based on the Roman constitution and was allowed to elect its own senate and other offices of state. The original inhabitants had to adhere to this new government and its constitution. These "little Romes" brought the culture and values of the Roman empire throughout Eurpoe and northern Africa.
Characterizing the Kingdom
A striking picture of the power and influence of kingdoms over a territory and the lifestyle of its inhabitants can be seen in the various nations of the Caribbean and West Indies. You can always tell who controlled a colony by studying its culture. The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados are former colonies of the United Kingdom. Cuba was a colony of Spain. Haiti was a colony of France. The cultures of all the islands are distinctly characteristic of the countries that claimed.
You can still see the kingdoms ' influence in the daily lives and customs of the people. If you visited the Bahamas, you 'd see the influence of Great Britain in our narrow streets, our driving on the left-hand side of the road, and our habit of drinking tea. When I was a young boy attending school, my classmates and I grew up singing "God Save the Queen." We were being taught to be a "little Britain." Similarly, if you went to Cuba, you might think you were in Spain as you observed its architecture and food. Significantly for their cultures, each of these former colonies speaks the language of the kingdom that conquered it.
Most kingdoms in the colonial period had to fight for new territory because there was a limited amount of land in the world. Under European control, the Bahamas was initially claimed by the Spaniards. The French tried to conquer it, but the Spaniards held them off. Finally, the British won out over the Spanish. If the British Empire hadn 't won, I might be speaking Spanish today. So even though the Bahamas, Haiti, and Cuba are all part of the chain of islands, whoever controlled the domain controlled the language and culture of the people. If you really want to investigate the power of kingdoms, study the island of Hispaniola, home of both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Two kingdoms grabbed the same island, and now there 's a border separating the eastern part from the western part; one side speaks French, while the other side speaks Spanish.
The Most Important Person in the Colony
The transformation of a colony into the culture of the kingdom didn 't happen automatically. A purposeful development was involved. The king didn 't usually directly extend his influence to his colony by physically going there. He administrated his will through his personal representative, called a governor or regent. He sent his representative to physically live in the colony in his place. Therefore, the royal governor was the presence of the absent king in the colony.
With the governor in the colony, you didn 't need the physical presence of the king to experience and be changed by the king 's influence. I mentioned that the British monarchs who influenced the English-speaking Caribbean nations didn 't frequently visit their colonies. Yet, in the Bahamas, we all learned to speak English, drink tea, wave the Union Jack, and sing the songs of Britain. We became part of the United Kingdom. And the royal governors were the direct instrument of that transformation.
The governor was therefore the most important person in the colony. We get a greater appreciation for why this was true when we look at his purpose.
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