You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9
“You are royalty” is a phrase of encouragement you will frequently hear around the halls of my church, probably owing to the popularity of one of our church father’s books called Supernatural Ways of Royalty. The image of royalty, taken directly from 1 Peter, is supposed to remind us of our identities as sons and daughters of God; that we are heirs to Jesus’ reward and have been given authority to issue decrees in the Kingdom and to do God’s business on the earth like Jesus did. This is reminder is especially important for those of us who grew up in religious communities where we were trained to think of ourselves more like God’s slaves than God’s sons. For me “You are royalty” has come to mean “You’re powerful because of God in you!” Of course it’s true, but the past few weeks I’ve been even digging deeper into the implications of what it would look like if we, as the body of Christ, truly saw ourselves as the royal sons or daughters of God.
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.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 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. (Romans 8:15-17a)
Inheriting like Royalty
At first, I didn’t like the metaphor of being royalty. Maybe it’s because I’m American and was raised by my Dad who could be a poster boy for the American dream: born into a trailer park home, couldn’t have shoes when he needed them as a kid, saved, worked hard, put himself through community college and started a successful real estate business. I was raised with a glorified view of starting with nothing, having no inheritance and making it on merit. By comparison, I associated royalty, heirs and heiress as spoiled, good-for-nothings who never do anything except spend lavishly and laze around their castles wasting all their parents’ (or government’s) money. Some do I’m sure, but I think my stereotype of the fat, lazy king is not actually the norm for someone born into royalty. Especially not if they feel loved and cherished and are taught what their role is to be from a young age.
Though I’m proud of my Dad and all he’s achieved for our family, I have to be careful to not see all the world through those “American dream glasses” because God’s kingdom is not a meritocracy. None of us get to heaven by our merit. Neither do we receive victory, blessings, love or sonship by merit. We would all fall short of deserving anything. Instead, we are invited to freely receive the fruit of Christ’s merit. Because Christ is our brother, Romans 8 tells us we get to receive everything He has, like heirs and heiresses; like royalty. How is that fair? It’s not fair, it’s grace! God’s definition of fair sometimes differs from ours. (Look at this crazy parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20 for a crazy example of that!)
So receiving freely and not “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps” is God’s desire for us in the Kingdom and part of how we walk out our royalty. Knowing we can ask our Dad in heaven for everything and then letting Him bring what you’ve asked for, rather than trying to push down doors or “make it on our own.” Living out royalty in this way can translate to our careers, our finances and even with our ministry or personal development. I’m not saying we don’t play a part in those things, but our main role is to make good choices as choices are presented to us, and to follow the path laid before us with peace and not anxiety. Are you asking and receiving things like a royal heir, or are you pushing like a pauper trying to make it to the top?
Thinking Like Royalty
The other day, I was in a room of mostly strangers, most likely all non-Christians, not my most comfortable place to be. For a second, I feeling self-aware and a bit awkward, and then that phrase popped into my head, “You are royalty.” I started thinking about what that would look like if I fully believed it. For example, if I was the beloved Princess Kate (the Dutchess of Cambridge to be precise). Around non-royals I’d be very aware of my behavior on many levels. How does it reflect on the royal family? (Are you aware of how your behavior make God, Christianity and other Christians look?) I would be distinctly aware of my unique position to influence others by my behavior and words. Knowing that everything I say will be scrutinized, I’d be conscientious of my words making sure people I came into contact with felt loved, cherished, valued and special. And being so secure in who I am and where my identity comes from, I’d be able to give away that kind of love and affirmation to people I come into contact with without needing any in return. Guys, this might sound crazy, but that’s exactly what we get to do as daughters and sons of the Most High God. I’ve learned this year that when we know we are royal, other people seem to know it too. Even if they can’t explain what it is, people will begin to want your time, attention, words of affirmation and eventually your opinions on things when you start to believe and walk out the truth that you are royal!
Time Allocation Like Royalty
Princess Kate spends almost all her public time at charity events, blessing others, bringing joy, finances and a good name to the royal family. The other large chunk of her life is spent enjoying life and family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to quit your jobs and hire a butler, but I do want to pose a challenge here: If we truly believed we are heirs to heaven, would we spend so much time worrying about little things like finances, our future careers, or what someone thinks about us? No! Knowing how securely placed we are, how loved we are, how provided for we are, we would feel more free to use our time to expand the kingdom. We might be doing the same things we’re doing now, but the motivation and strategy would change and therefore, so would the fruit. No longer would we be striving for more money, more power, more followers, more honor or to be “the best.” Instead we’d be conscious of modeling “Kingdom Living” by pursuing excellence in our work and ministries, by putting people before money, by loving well, forgiving well, taking criticism with grace and setting examples with how we love and raise our families. What percentage of your time is spent being motivated by expanding the kingdom or modeling kingdom life? What percentage of your time is consumed in worry?
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt 6:33)
Suffering Like Royalty
But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:17b)
It’s hard to picture a royal dealing much with suffering, but with such value being put on your words, and being constantly scrutinized by the public, royals can be subject to intense love from the public and intense persecution and hate in the same lifetime. Our King Jesus knew this better than anyone. Likewise, as believers, we are to stick to God’s truths no matter what the public mood is regarding them and that can lead to being despised, rejected, misunderstood and even persecuted for our faith.
Here’s a picture of Princess Kate for you. You’re welcome. Isn’t she just gorgeous? Don’t you want to be her friend? As a daughter/son of Christ, that same attractive quality lives in you and is bursting to be released. Everyone is craving intimacy with God whether they know it or not, and an encounter with you is a taste of that for them. All it requires for this to manifest in your life is your agreement with who God says you are. Believe Him when He says, “YOU ARE ROYALTY.”