Being a Kingdom Family Part II
We are drama people at this house. We can’t help it. It flows through our veins, right along with the blood. We figure it can be traced, like other genetic traits – big noses, big mouths, big eyes, big hams. It’s all part and parcel of being a Clark.
When I was in high school, I used to think that the best way to go shopping was to go, don an accent and pretend to be someone I wasn’t. That way, I could pretend I could spend money I didn’t have. I could justify trying on clothes that I couldn’t afford. (It’s also how I got into an argument with some guy in a Gap store once.) And I could even try on clothes I wouldn’t be caught dead in! It was fun.
By the time I got to college, I had found an even better means of having drama fun – improv. We’d play this game where someone else creates the “world” in which you’re responding and then you’d jump into the middle of it. You’d have to step into the flow of whatever story the original person created. It was a BLAST! Jeff and I would love to do it, not telling anyone that we were dating. (Mwaaahaaahaaa)
Out of this love for drama, as soon as our kids were old enough, we’d read Narnia to them. Including voices. We loved being a part of the magic of someone else’s world. And because we are drama people, whatever we read became the reality of our children’s play time. (If you don’t believe me, ask our mail lady who developed a healthy fear of coming onto our front porch, while we were studying Troy. Jeffrey turned the entire front porch into a war zone and there was no telling who or what would come flying from it!)
I think it’s because of this, it wasn’t all that surprising when the Lord started our new adventure with this Scripture:
“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
I spent months reading, praying, meditating on that verse. I gave thought to having it tatooed on my body, I was interacting with it so much! 😉
What does it mean to seek His Kingdom? What IS His Kingdom? Where do I go to find it? When will I know that I have found it? What are “all these things”? Why is it that faith also talks about “things”? Why did this seem so difficult to understand? Why hadn’t someone ever taught me about seeking first the Kingdom of God? I mean, I had been a worship team member, a Sunday School teacher, a youth group worker, a nursery worker, a bathroom cleaner, a pew warmer, a drama leader and an intercessor, among other things… Yet, in all my roles of being a part of the Body of Christ, I was never taught about what it meant to seek the Kingdom of God.
Since I was confused, I did what every other homeschooling mom does – I went to the library. I got every book I could lay my hands on that talked about the Kingdom. Some of them were incredible – others were incredible drivel! In addition to that, I went to the Word and I began to search for every Scripture that taught about the Kingdom of God. I dreamt about the Kingdom of God. I talked about the Kingdom of God. I asked God about the Kingdom of God. I journaled about the Kingdom of God. I spent time (MONTHS) interacting with the Kingdom of God.
You know what I found out? I found out that we have been duped. Not just a little duped, but MEGA duped. I mean like – people giving their entire lives over to something that was empty and for naught. We ended up weeping for men who have given their lives to “making a living” because that’s what they have been taught to do – instead of using their God given gifts to advance the Kingdom. The number of men we knew that died, without ever being able to do what they were created to do was overwhelming. We ached for those that we knew that had carried a desire to do something for God throughout their entire lives, to no avail. We just saw how passionate Jesus was about the Kingdom and how much we need our thoughts changed, so that we could give it the same priority that Jesus did.
As Jeff and I spent time learning more and more about the Kingdom, it became very apparent to us that we needed to gain as much understanding of the Kingdom and share it with other families, like ours. (Well, other families who love the Lord. We don’t expect to find other families quite like ours – we’re pretty….unique.)
In the process of that, the Lord began laying several indicators on our hearts that would “mark” us as a Kingdom family. If I may, I’d like to share those indicators with you.
I will be very honest, you are likely to get really annoyed with me somewhere during this conversation. I found that in order to be a Kingdom family/person one has to lay aside the kingdoms of this earth – and that includes the Church. Where the Church and Scripture part ways, a Kingdom person has no choice but to pursue the Word. We have found that the Church has too often become embroiled in what we refer to as “the traditions of men.” We didn’t think we had many traditions of men left in us. We found out we were very wrong. It was painful. We cried many tears as we discovered ways that we had advanced the kingdom of darkness, believing that we were serving the Lord.
Now, lest the enemy try to wiggle in here and convince you I’m saying something I’m not – I’m not saying that the Body of Christ is a write off! Not by ANY stretch of the imagination. I would be lost without the Church. She is the Bride of my Lord, He loves her and so do I. What I’m saying is we must not only write off – but THROW off traditions that men have believed and taught that do not line up with the Word of God.
When I was a kid, I KNEW that somewhere in Scripture was the verse “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” My grandparents would quote that all the time. (Right along with “The Lord helps those that help themselves, if they work like dogs while they’re waiting on Him.” Thankfully, I was pretty sure that wasn’t in the Bible.) One day I sat down with a concordance and spent HOURS looking for that verse. I couldn’t find it. It didn’t matter, it didn’t change my belief that it HAD to be in Scripture. Because I believed it was there, I assumed that I must be making the mistake and sooner or later I’d find it.
THAT is how we need to approach the Kingdom of God! We need to KNOW (unlike me, as a child) what the Word really says and no matter how things appear – either to our sight or to our feelings or to our ears – we MUST stand on the Truth. Remember when you were a kid and you sang, “The B-I-B-L-E” ? This is exactly what it was talking about – “I stand alone on the Word of God.” It may mean that you have to stand all alone, by yourself. It may mean you have to stand only on the Word of God. Either way, stand on it, you must! IF there is a place that the teaching you’re receiving from your Church doesn’t line up (and I don’t mean kind of, I mean LINE UP) then you will have to make the choice – do you hold fast to what you believe or will you go with the Word?
And those two things are the first indicators of a Kingdom family that I’d like to share with you.
1) A Kingdom family will know and believe the Word of God as the highest rule. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God will stand forever. Forever. When you are in such confusion you can’t see straight, go to the Word. It is TRUTH. It will not change, it will not falter. And while you’re doing that, remember – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us! Jesus Himself gives life to the Word of God. He is what makes it living and breathing and sharper than any two edged sword. (So when your soul (heart and mind) and your spirit are arguing over what is true, use the Word to divide between the two of them, so that you can stand on the Word.)
2) A Kingdom family understands that every day they are faced with choices. Choose this day whom you will serve. 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.
It is vitally important that a Kingdom family realizes that the enemy would love for us to forget that the Lord has put choices before us at every turn. Adam had a choice in the Garden. We have a choice now. Just because Adam gave his choice away, it doesn’t mean we need to do the same. (On the contrary, since we have the benefit of history, we should be all the more careful to NOT choose death or curse. And we musn’t be lulled into thinking that it has to be a HUGE life or death issue. We are faced with little opportunities to choose either life or death – that may seem inconsequential to anyone else who is watching the choices we’re making.)
When the Lord first began to quicken this to my heart, I fought it. I don’t mean I wrestled against it, I mean I FOUGHT it! It went against everything that I had been taught. I had been taught that every thing that comes into my life is for my good. I had been taught that it was ungratefulness that would have me refuse or rebuke something that the Lord brought into my life. (This went from interruptions in my day to sickness.) However, when it came down to finding where God said, “Accept whatever comes your way.”
Again, this doesn’t mean that we’re to complain (that is the topic of a whole other blog) or wrestle against the Lord. But, it sure does mean that we’re to stop and ask the Holy Spirit – “Is this in my life for me to accept and learn from, or is it in my life for me to learn to stand against the forces of darkness that desire to steal, kill or destroy?” This also doesn’t mean that out of His infinite lovingkindness that the Lord doesn’t take those situations we allow ourselves to get into and make good out of them. He does. He takes what the enemy intended for evil and turns it into good – the question is, will we stand by allowing the evil, when we should hack that snake to bits and thrown him out of the garden of our lives?!!!
Interestingly enough, in the middle of this, we had an issue with one of our children (their name and the situation will be left out, to protect the…innocent) 😛 and we watched someone take absolute advantage of them, when all our child had to do was say, “No.” We didn’t intervene, because we were certain that they would do what needed to be done. The Lord hit me in the head with a brick bat. “If you expect YOUR child to have the discernment to refuse to allow that into their life, why do you not exercise the same discernment? You are flesh, I am God. If you do that for your child’s good, why would you expect any less than that from Me?” Uh….. you know, there isn’t a very good answer for that question.
This was the first place that I came face to face with knowing that what I had been taught, in the name of God wasn’t what God was teaching in His Word. I cried many tears. We cried many tears. But, in the midst of our tears, we decided that from that day forward, we would change how we wielded the Word in our lives and how we viewed the Kingdom.
~~~~ to be continued ~~~