Kingdom Meditations: Thoughts on increasing God’s Kingdom in your life
Thoughts on increasing God’s Kingdom in your life
We have completed the series on the Kingdom of God. I know it has been a lot to take in. My hope has been to encourage you that this world is not our home (we are exiles and sojourners passing through, 1 Pet 2:11) and God has made promises to us which He will keep. His promises reveal His intent for us to live forever with Him. Therefore, the coming kingdom reign of Christ should serve as motivation for our faithful service now as the church, and as each of us faces persecutions from Satan and the world.
My intent has been that you would come away with a confident knowledge that God keeps His promises. We do not need to try to change this world through the political process or our benevolence (as important as that may be). We can truly make an eternal impact by seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33). We do this through surrendering our self-centered ways (denying self) and loving and serving one another while proclaiming the Gospel to the lost.
The Kingdom of God is in conflict with the Kingdom of darkness – our worldly culture where we live in every day. For thousands of years our Enemy has been manipulating human groups to develop social-political systems to secure existence and reduce anxieties over basic necessities and survival, while offering various diversions to satisfy our fleshly passions. The result is humans deny God as the source of all good things and they do not thank Him (Rom. 1:21). In short, this world system undermines our belief and trust in God to provide and care for us.
God warns of the toxicity of the world (Matt. 6:25-34; James 1:27, 4:3-4; Rom. 12:2; Titus 2:11-14). John puts it powerfully with these words, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 ESV).
In Matt. 6:9-24 Jesus commands us to store our treasures in heaven, not on earth. Our treasures reveal where our heart is. He even taught in hyperbolic language if we love worldly treasures, we will hate/despise God.
Jesus told us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matt 6:10). Remember, a kingdom is the reality of the king having dominion, rule, over something. So, how do we work out our salvation so His Kingdom is growing in influence over us?
To help you answer this question I have developed the following material to guide your bible study, your meditations and, most importantly, your conversations with your spouse, your children, your fellow believers about God’s Kingdom growing in all spheres of your life.
FIRST, we must resist the World’s influence to store treasures – material, financial, sentimental, social or career – anything (or status) that commands the affections of our heart.
1. Jesus said we can tell if something is a “treasure,” versus just another thing in our life, by how it holds our “heart.”
a. How should we understand His reference to our “heart?” Is it what holds our idle thoughts, the object of our desires, the focus of our affections?
b. Maybe all three?
c. What do you highly value?
d. Is there anything you are not willing to let go? Why?
2. We are commanded to store up treasures in Heaven. Luke records Jesus teaching, “Instead, seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).
a. Considering the coming kingdom, how should you view your money and possessions?
b. How should you use what God has given you?
c. How would you respond if you lost everything today?
d. Are you holding too tightly to your worldly possessions?
3. PRIDE influences our values, our wants and longings and how we feel about and relate to others. Pride is closely tied to storing treasures on earth. Some have said pride is the anti-god state of mind, a form of rebellion which identifies us more with the world than with God.
a. Do you agree?
b. The Bible teaches clearly, “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5
None of us want God's opposition in our lives?
Here are more thought questions:
c. Do you seek the praise or approval of others? If so, what is your motivation?
d. What is your motivation for giving and serving?
e. Do you give in secret, and serve where few will know nor give you credit?
f. Do you try to impress people with what you know, who you know, and what you have? Why or why not?
g. Do you want to belong to or be identified with a particular club, team, or organization? Why or why not?
h. Do you compete to prove you are better or the best at anything? What is your motivation for competing?
i. Is it possible to compete without prideful motivation? Why or why not?
j. Do the things you do, that others can see, make you feel worth more, or better about yourself? Why or why not?
k. Would a proud person think seriously about what it means to lose his life for Christ and His Kingdom?
l. Would a proud person deny himself daily as he considers his personal choices from the perspective of one under a death sentence (taking up his cross to follow Christ)?
4. The Kingdom of God is an expression of who God is. His self-revelation, especially in the person of Jesus Christ, defines His character and the Truth of His Kingdom. A. W. Tozer has said the most important thing about you is what comes into your mind when you think about God?
a. Do you agree? If not, why not?
b. What comes into your mind as you think about God the Father? God the Son? God the Holy Spirit?
c. Is there any area of your life not be impacted by what you think about God?
d. God is sovereign, but is there anything He is not sovereign over in your life?
e. How does what you think about God's love for you as His child affect how you relate to Him? Eph. 3:16-19.
f. When you find yourself frustrated, disappointed or angry with God for not fill in the blank, what does that say about what you think of God?
g. Does God's attitude toward your sin affect your actions when no one knows what you are doing? 1 John 1:6-9.
i. Does what you think about God's ownership of all in His Creation affect how you handle/use those things you think you "own"?
j. Does what you think about God's plans for His Creation affect your life priorities? 2 Pet 3:10-13.
k. Does what you think about God's future plans for you to be in His kingdom with Him change how you live in this present life?
I encourage you to dig in, study hard, and apply the truths in the strength of the Holy Spirit. We all need to grow deeper in our understanding of God’s promised Kingdom, so it impacts how we live. Look up the scriptures. Take time to meditate. Continue the conversation of what God is impressing on your heart with others – on the phone, by text or email, at a meal before or after Sunday gatherings. Paul encouraged the Ephesian believers, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into . . . the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint . . ., when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” Eph 4:15-16).
Heavenly Father, we pray that each individual part of the body of Christ would grow up into the head, into Christ. We also pray that each part would be equipped to work properly so that the body of Christ at GBC would be built up in love as we share the good news of your coming kingdom. Amen.