Posts Tagged Kingdom living

Kingdom Living

Matthew 6: 33            GW

But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.

This quote from Matthew may be familiar to you but it takes on a different nuance when read from the God’s Word translation. It comes at the end of a talk Jesus gave on the birds of the air and flowers and how God meets the physical needs of all His creation.

God knows we need clothing, food and shelter so we really do not have to pray about those things in the first place. That is Jesus’ first point. If God clothes the flowers with such beauty and feeds all his creatures, will He not also care for you? We have become so smart and so independent that we get the idea it is up to us to meet our needs. No way! That’s God’s job and His delight.

You have probably heard the version that reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” The GW version essentially translates righteousness for us and also answers the question, “What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God?” Righteousness is not the holiness doctrine we sometimes make it out to be. Holiness is good, I am not arguing that but righteousness has more to do with right standing with God. Another way to think of it is doing things God’s way. The GW version points out that seeking God’s kingdom has to do with concerning ourselves with the things God is concerned about. Meeting our needs is not on that list. Those are automatic fulfillment orders for God. Frankly, our need fulfillment really isn’t even our business. So Jesus’ second order of business here is that we should set our sights on Kingdom business. We are to seek out God’s direction on what He would have us think about and work on just as if He is our boss. We seek to do the things God wants AND do them His way. That means we will have faith projects instead of works projects.

Many of us try to fulfill righteousness through works projects. It is also how we attempt to meet our own needs. As we seek God and His way of living, all those “things” we need are just automatic. They exist in His kingdom. So when we put them aside, focusing instead on Kingdom goals, God’s inverse logic takes over. We get all that is in the Kingdom, but we also get the things we need in the world even though we forego seeking them. Seek God, and all else will be added to you. And, may I say, don’t even bother Him with the mundane things of life. Sure, you want to tell Him what you want but focus 99.9% of your time with Him seeking His mind and His thoughts. He knows you need food, don’t waste your time together telling Him you need food. Ask Him, if you want, what food He wants to give you. He may surprise you, though, because He thinks differently than do we. He may begin talking about feeding you with His Word.

Seek God. Put your mind on what is going on in God’s Kingdom. Talk with Him about Kingdom goals. You will have fun and enjoy all the Kingdom benefits too.

Choices

James 4:4

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James had such a gentle and tender way of getting the point across, didn’t he? Well, sometimes we need someone to care enough to speak to us plainly. This is Jesus’ brother writing to us today. I said yesterday that we are called to be different from the world. James makes it much more plain. He said that “being in bed” with the enemy makes us adulteresses. Ouch! If that doesn’t sting just a bit you better take your pulse.

Of course, we all want to fit in and of course, the things of the world are attractive. God isn’t trying to deny us luxuries or pleasures, He just wants you to purchase them through the Kingdom instead of through the world. Why? Because the Kingdom is life and the world is death. God is trying to get life to us but we, being the great intellectual giants that we are, keep choosing death. I have always loved this passage from Deuteronomy, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants” (Deuteronomy 30: 19). Father gives us the choice, like a multiple choice question on a test but before we can even choose, He gives us the answer. None the less, how many of us continue to choose death over life, the curse rather than the blessing?

To choose to live in the world and to be of the world is to choose death and curse. Jesus said that we are not of this world any more than he was. We live here but we are not “of” this world. Our choices are to be made on Kingdom principles, expecting Kingdom results. Brother James says it rather plainly – to be friends of the world, in other words living as the world lives, makes us enemies of God. Now here is the question. Do you think James wrote these words to believers or the unsaved? This is an important question because if you believe, like I do, that he wrote to believers then you understand that we, God’s own chosen and beloved, can become enemies of God by being lovers of the world. That is a huge statement. James saw a dynamic taking place in his own time and sought to address it. His passion poured out for his people. Let us, therefore, seriously contemplate our own place, whether in the world or in the Kingdom. What choices are we making on a daily basis that shift us from living in Christ to living in the world. Choose to be unique, peculiar. Choose life. Choose Christ.