Here are a few insights on moving from Story to personal experience with our King – resulting in a Kingdom perspective on our lives!
Once we are on the Kingdom path, the Word of God animates to us in ways which mere religion cannot accomplish. Our minds and hearts have been opened to our King, and His Spirit has been placed within us as a pledge.
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” – Ephesians 1:13-14
So, we exchange a temporary world-view for eternal design, where our days here are completely connected to the life that is coming. This is what the Bible defines as wise living. We go beyond knowledge about God to a deeper connectivity with God. We understand that we are in the middle of an epic story, and we have incredible value as image-bearers of God. Here is a sampling of what this looked like for Jesus and His disciples!
Turn & Follow/Matthew 4:19-20 We are headed in one direction, and then we choose another distinct focus. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
Fix My Eyes/Hebrews 12:1,2 Rather than self we exchange our focus and affection from ourselves to Jesus and His Kingdom. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Living Sacrifice/Romans 12:1,2 The powerful truth about sacrifice becomes the way we live our lives, and just as Jesus gave Himself up for us we do the same for Him – and for others. Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Search Daily/Whole Counsel/Acts 17:11; 20:20 We now have an internal and external compass which is unlocked by our relationship with the woven threads of His God Story. We continue in His Word because He has promised us true freedom of heart, mind, and soul. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so…how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house…
One Thing I Do/Philippians 3:13-14 All of this allows us to live with Kingdom focus, giving us the spiritual edge we need to honor our King. Brothers, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Rejoice Always/1 Peter 1:6,7 Testing is a huge part of how God increases our faith. How we respond to trials either builds up or takes away from the reward of our obedience. Joy is evidence of victory as we are tested. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Love with Devotion/Romans 12:9-13 All of this significantly changes not only the focus of your lives, but the fruit of them as well. Our lives look drastically different when we truly follow our King. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the chosen ones, practicing hospitality.
Pray Without Ceasing/1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 We now become open to living in the Spirit, the One who leads us into the truth and safety of the shadow of His wings. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic declarations. Rather, examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Go/Make Disciples/Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8 All of our Kingdom perspective is animated by following His great “commission” to go in the power He has lavished upon us and locked within us. He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
This is a central “sketch” of the active nature of living out Kingdom belief. Each one of Jesus’ disciples (then and now) wrestled with what it all meant when it came time for them to shape the way they would live based upon the King’s words. Each one appears to have taken it seriously, for sure.
We try to do the same. Let’s run the race together!
Dave & Burnadette