We are all living in a fast-paced, hard driven, “make it happen” world. I have operated in this world for most of my life outside of a Kingdom worldview, even as a Christ follower. By the grace of God, the Lord took me out of the Matrix several years ago and I was able to see the world’s systems for what they were, the good, the bad, and the ugly within them. Through continued trials and errors, Father firmly establishes my faith and my view in Him alone. I desire to see what He sees, hear the sound of His voice, and love and serve by the power of His Spirit within me.
As I travel, I see common patterns that limit the effectiveness of Gods people as being the salt, light, and love in the world as His Kingdom ambassadors. If we do not pause, reflect and hear correctly, we will often look back and say, “Wow, so much time has passed and very little of what we had intended to do ever got in motion.” We may realize that a long period of time has gone by, sometimes years, where we have been stuck in unfruitful patterns in our minds, hearts, and in our ways.
PAUSE… Be Still and Know that I Am God
Psalm 46:10 “Be Still and know that I am God,” in Hebrew means, “Loosen your grip, surrender to your own ways, know that I am your God, that I am with you, and that I will guide you through all of life.” But to what end are we to “be still,” “let go,” “surrender,” and even to “die to ourselves”? We “let go” in order to objectively know the saving power of God in our lives. We give up trusting in ourselves and in our own designs in order to experience the glory of God’s all-sufficiency. (Ex 14:14).
Can this really happen when living in a world that says “Grip it and Rip it in the power of you? If we want to be “Father pleasers” we must seek His Kingdom, His righteousness, hear from Him, see what He sees and move toward others in the love, grace, and mercy we have received. This does not have to come from religious rituals, but it does come from time with Him, even a pause or contemplative moments in Him throughout our day. He will take every moment you give Him and make something good out of it. Even when we fall short, in His call and through our love for Him, He makes even the very bad to be good for us, (Romans 8:28). As we pause long enough to hear His voice, we can then move on and reflect – based on His divine plans and purposes.
REFLECT… Man in the mirror and Navigational Fine-Tuning
“His ways are not our ways” and this should always be on the forefront of our thoughts and reflections. As we look into the spiritual mirror of our existence, how much of our lives are spent reacting to the world and its systems? How much worry and focus is given to the systems of man or of what man can do? Jesus reminded us to give to Caesar and His systems his due but it was not to be our focus. Give what is due to these things, but to God, He deserves our lives, our choices, our very being.
Jesus was not concerned with politics; He operated beyond the worldly systems while still within them. Why do we get so upset, hateful really, over politics? Caesar was far more evil than anyone who ever got elected or never got elected in America. Jesus was in the world but not of the world. He commands us to do likewise and get out of our low-level thoughts and activities. Be responsible, make responsible choices, but then be about a higher authority and government, His Kingdom. We must be aligned with the Father in order to be aware of His plans, engage with those purposes, as we seek His voice for the next steps of our journey. Then we can seriously begin to objectively ask the real question, “What are we doing?”
WHAT ARE WE DOING?… Are empowered and relevant in releasing the Kingdom of God on earth?
God never intended for religion, and we must realize that he never made religion a goal for mankind. He intended to have a people called by His name to steward, be productive, and be carriers of His powerful presence. Love and truth to those around us, and to the nations of the world. Does sitting in a church each week, hearing a good message, and worshipping together constitute the why of our existence? Does hanging out exclusively with those who believe and value the same things that we do deliver the Kingdom of God with relevance and impact to the world around us? Are we living out our faith experience exclusively by spending time with like-minded people on Sundays and Wednesdays? Are we active in our thoughts and communications with the Father in our everyday life Sunday through Saturday? Are we being transformed by His presence? Are we selectively choosing the times of manifesting His life in us depending on the people we engage with or the environments we participate in?
I love corporate worship and the times when we can come together, learn together, and be filled together, whether it is Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, but what are we actually doing in between meetings? It is great to have a corporate vision, but do we have an identifiable vision and revelation from God for our own mission in life? Are we living our lives thinking we are okay because we sit and listen to great preaching and have a wonderful church expression each week, or are we allowing the Holy Spirit to mobilize us every single day into His purposes and plans?
His Kingdom wants to encompass everything. The King and His righteousness desire to influence everything we are and everything we do. We must pause, reflect, and examine all that we are and all that we are doing. How is our heart toward those who have rejected us? Do we forgive, do we love, or do we just move on? How do we treat coworkers that are different than us in their beliefs and lifestyles? Are we praying for them, loving them, relating with them, or do we sit back in judgment of them? How we judge sinners is a direct reflection of how we interpret Scripture, how well we understand the gospel of Christ, and a reflection of our own character and nature. It has been said that someone who lives a lifestyle of condemning and hateful thoughts and actions has no part of Christ, regardless of their affiliation. Remember that we ourselves are always at once sinners and saint, in need of grace like everyone one else regardless of their beliefs.
These are the types of questions we ask in our coaching and consulting of others. Here a few beginning steps.
Some Steps Toward Kingdom Reality
• We must migrate toward relationship with Him first and always! This is our only hope of real and lasting transformational change. Intimacy with God is lacking and often replaced by religion or good works. Intimacy and presence is His power in you and through you.
• We must examine our hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate and reflect back to us the things that we may not be aware of. Once revealed, our love for Him should motivate us to take the steps He shows us to get healed, get whole, and forgive or release others to Him. This is a time to really be cleansed and move forward boldly until the next cleansing, which could even be later that day. <smile>
• We must look at our daily activities and check and see if the actions please the Father or grieve the Father. We should decide today to be “Father pleasers.” We also must recognize that religious activities do not cut it in the Kingdom and in pleasing the Father in everyday life. How we treat our spouses, how we love our children, how we give without having to receive, how we become absorbed with Him and others, rather than self all matter much to God.
• Talk to Him often, but mostly listen. Jesus only did and said what the Father gave Him to do and say. Jesus is always our model. Sometimes Jesus would turn away the crowd, the noise, the ministry stuff, to get away with the Father. So must we. He loves to hear from you and He is big enough to listen to the gripes and complaints. He is also big enough to show you that the gripes and complaints are insignificant in light of His eternal plans for you. Take time to listen often, He will give you what you need more often than what you want.
• Just love. God is love. Everything about Him oozes love. Love does not mean we ignore truth and justice. His perfect love always includes truth and justice. But how our hearts move towards truth and justice often reveals where we are in His love. Love seems to gravitate towards healing and restoration, rather than judgment. Love within you will cause you to not focus on self and you will pursue loving those who have hated and rejected you. You will pray for your enemies and you will begin relationships with those who are different than you. If anything you do is not founded on Love, then it is not founded on God.
• Walk humbly before your God and with others. When I write, I am writing these things to myself as well. I thank God for my evolving development, but wow, I have a long way to go, just ask my wife Joyce. The more I know, the more I don’t know and the more it keeps me pressed into Him. If you think you are nearing completion, think again. You’ve come a long way baby, but He has eternity waiting and changes are going to happen. Just like the bumper sticker says, “Shift Happens!” <smile>
I have found it much easier to be a willing partner with the Lord. He loves us enough to make our path straight, but it is so much better to get on the right path first, rather than being realigned rigorously from the paths we thought were the right in our own minds.
Let’s Pray: Lord, we embrace Your path today. Illuminate all things to us and we choose to follow all that You show us. Forgive us for our rebellion and our religious ways that have brought us a false comfort and no lasting joy or peace. Show us how we can truly live and move and have our being with You each moment for Your glory alone, Amen.