Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finally another post

Man, has it been hard to find the time to blog. I have gone from posting every single day to posting once a week or every ten days. And, believe me, it is not that I don't have anything to say. I am just drowning in things to do. It really drives me crazy and has been a matter of prayer for me. I really want to figure out a way to schedule a daily time to write. There are just so many things that need to be taken care of and I have to make certain things a high priority. That means that the things I would like to do, like write and sew sometimes never happen.

Today I was thinking about The Kingdom of God. Actually, I have been thinking about it for weeks, but I decided to write about it today. I think the Body of Christ today is really missing a lot about the Kingdom. I think the reason that we seem to be so impotent and powerless is that we are so far off the mark and distracted that we cannot tap into the power of the Kingdom. Jesus spoke about the Kingdom over and over while he was here on the earth. Sometimes we miss it, though, in our reading b/c we have the preconceived ideas about what the kingdom is. We think of the Kingdom as coming when Jesus comes back or as the preaching of the Gospel so we can go to heaven. When we take the Gospel and make it about this event when we die we miss the point and have the wrong focus. We are being taught a lot about this at the church we attend. The Gospel, however, is not about membership in a church, which church we attend or about going to heaven when we die.

The Gospel is about now. It is about living the Kingdom now in all that we say and do. It is how we are created to live. I could probably write for days on the Kingdom and still not plumb the depths of, but the Kingdom as a whole is not what has been rolling around in my mind today. What I have been thinking about is the scripture in Romans 12:2 which says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God is." I really love the translations by JB Phillips, “Do not let the world squeeze you into its mould, but instead let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

What really strikes me this morning is that we unknowingly allow the world to squeeze us into its mold. I have always thought of this as me not doing "as the world does". I have seen it as sin. If I don't have sex outside of marriage, or beat people up, or treat people poorly, etc. then I am okay and am not letting myself be conformed to the world. The old don't do "sinful" things way of thinking. I have begun to see very clearly that this statement goes so much deeper. When I let my standards of success be dictated by "worldly" standards and not the Word of God, when I let the world tell me what I should spend my money on or how I should spend my time, then I am not letting my mind be renewed. When I allow my family to struggle financially and let my husband carry the stress of bills we cannot afford so that I can have "the house, car, clothes," or whatever makes me "look successful" to everyone else around me, that is letting myself be squeezed into a mold. When I consume all of my resources on me and things I don't necessarily need, knowing that my money would be better spent supporting a ministry that is bringing food and water to orphans who otherwise have nothing, I am not letting my mind be renewed. When I hold a grudge and refuse to forgive and be reconciled to anyone, regardless of who was right or wrong, I am not taking up my cross and seeking first the Kingdom. When I gossip and judge people for how they dress or act, instead of reaching out with love in my heart, I am letting the standards of the world squeeze me into a mold. As a Christian I am held to a higher standard and it is a tough standard. We are called as Christians to suffer. That is what the call of the cross is. It is not about wonderful feelings and everything being nice and easy. It is about dying daily; it is about losing my life, so I can find it in Christ; it is about knowing it is no longer me who lives, but Christ who lives in me. That is not easy; that is about suffering. Being a Daughter of the kingdom means giving up my rights, and my space and my stuff. It means that if I have one sandwich to my name and I see a stranger who has nothing that I am willing to split my one and only sandwich so that we can both have some, instead of me having enough and someone else having nothing. It means not being right all the time or even having the "right" to whatever I think I deserve. It means being willing to apologize to someone even if I am not wrong simply so that I can be a bringer of peace. It is being willing to do whatever is necessary to make a relationship right. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God." I want to be called a son of God, but am I willing to do what it takes to be given that title. The Gospel is not easy and we have been fed such a watered down version that it has lost its power. Jesus, when He called each of us to be His child, really called us to be a servant to every person we encounter. He called us to suffer the loss of our identity, our allegiance to this world and our very life. He calls us to lose the life we came to Him with, so we can find the life He has for us. We have to give up our right to control our lives and have things how we want them. We must surrender everything to Him and walk in love. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus stated, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all our soul, with all you mind, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." This is a hard saying if you really think about what it asks you. If you really try to see the implications of living that out and don't just read it as a "nice little scripture", then it is a hard saying. It is a saying that we are so so so far from living out. A couple chapter before, in Mark 8, Jesus talks about denying ourselves, taking up the cross and following Him. I wonder how much we really deny ourselves. I wonder what would happen if we started really denying ourselves and putting others needs ahead of our wants; what would the world begin to look like?

The Gospel is not easy; the Kingdom does not fit into our way of life here, but the reward of allowing God to reshape our lives into the Kingdom is so far beyond anything we could imagine that I long for and cry out to God that He would change me and make me a Daughter of the Kingdom. I want to be changed so maybe I can spread the movement of the Kingdom. It seems huge and impossible, but "with God all things are possible." Maybe if He can help me see and change and live my life based on the Kingdom then I can help other people begin to change. It could be like a virus that begins to spread, a movement. Then maybe, some of the terrible things that we see in our world could cease to be. Maybe love could really begin to conquer hate, and good could begin to conquer evil. Maybe if we were all servants to each other, then in serving each would have his or her needs met, because as we serve, others would serve us.

Crazy, idealistic, hard, yeah, but totally possible b/c that is how Jesus lived and how He called us to live. Really it leads to total freedom.

1 comment:

  1. When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson

    great book on the Kingdom of Heaven and Heaven invading earth....its time the body of Christ wakes up and start allowing the Kingdom to invade our lives and the earth all around us, through us!