Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 9 - To Live It on the Outside, Live It On the Inside

 

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” ~Matthew 15:16-20

In a world cursed by an obsession with survival, this paradigm will have natural assumptions.  One of the most logical assumptions from this perspective is the concept of “survival of the fittest.”  This concept was not created out of a science of naturalism.  Darwin put words to the dominate thought imprinted upon the human psyche.  This evolving idea burns within human hearts ever since the curse of imminent death was given to our great grandparents in the garden.

If the fittest survive, then where one finds themselves in the pecking order is a pressing concern.  Yet one common denominator these groups have is that ones place in the pecking order “success” is determined by external factors. How one moves up the pecking order can be diverse and sophisticated or simple and crude, and can depend on culture, geographic need or new trends in an ever evolving society. This ladder climbing can result from sheer force, the guile of manipulation, the fear of witchcraft, political cunning, the weapons at ones command, or the possessions one owns.  Every culture defines what the top of the pecking order looks like.  This is the definition of success in that culture-external prominence.  This external prominence, or failure, becomes the label placed upon members of that culture, and when this label is conferred and accepted, it becomes ones identity.  Therefore the world’s view of identity and success is rooted in external realities.

Ones resources at hand determine their place in the pecking order.  Their location within the pecking order determines the label conferred on them, and if this label is accepted it becomes ones identity.  When this worldview is unchallenged within our psyche, then it is natural to come to the same conclusions that modern culture has about success. You are successful if you; drive a nice car, live in a big house, have good looking men or women by ones side, having lots of money in the bank. If you have these things, then you are thriving not surviving.  You are a success!  The more success you have, then the higher you sit on the totem pole.

The prevalence of such a view still does not protect it from John the Baptist and Jesus’ calls of repentance.  This call to live within another kingdom. A call to live in a Crazy Kingdom. This mind spinning, psyche uprooting repentance calls humanity from the “survival of the fittest” to true life.  Our identity and our success do not come from the outside in.  It comes from the inside out.

In the passage listed at the beginning of this chapter Jesus is saying the identity of “sinner” does not come from consumed food.  What comes from the outside does not determine ones identity or limit ones personal power.  The label of “sinner” and the behavior of sin comes from the inside out. The message of the gospel is that Jesus provides power to change our internal state, and that new internal state creates a new reality for us on the outside.  When one accepts the gospel they are taking upon themselves a new identity and a new heart.  This changes ones reality.

In light of this, the external indicators that determine ones place in cultures pecking order does not make one successful.  Much of the context of scripture deals with this reality within the context of dealing with sin. Nevertheless, this Kingdom principle still holds true across the spectrum of ideas and context, but the application is much larger.

The larger application is your internal reality determines your external reality not vice versa. One must experience it internally before they can experience it externally.  The wisdom of Proverbs states, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”   The kingdom does not come from the outside in.  The kingdom erupts from the inside out.  The atmosphere within you creates the atmosphere around you.  You will prosper as your soul prospers.  In a free society your internal state will create an external context that will recreate your internal state.  The applications are huge. If you are stressed on the inside, you will create circumstances that will create more stress for you.  The circumstances do not create stress.  They just reveal stress in our heart.  When trying circumstances come, they will be dealt with orderly thus recreating the internal state of peace or they will be amplified into greater stress creating a mirror image of your internal state.  The same is true for fear.  If you are fearful, you will create circumstances that reinforce fear in your life.  One of two reactions will occur when truly fearful circumstance arise, you will start defusing the fear from these circumstances or you will start amplifying the fear.  The same with lust, greed, pride, so on and so forth.

You will become who you see yourself as.  If you see yourself as a person who has little value, then you create circumstances that reinforce that belief.  An example is if a lady sees herself as cheep and dispensable, then she will never be able to say, “no” to “Mr. Wrong.”   She will never have enough will power to overcome her identity because it is impossible for her to act outside of her identity.  Mr. Wrong reinforces the belief she has little value.  She must hear Jesus say, “You’re valuable…You’re precious…You’re significant…You’re important… You’re so important that I died for you.” When she believes this her internal identity changes and her external reality can change, and she can then say, “no” to Mr. Wrong and then in converse say, “yes” to Mr. Right.  Her identity and her internal reality is everything.  Self-control has little relevance to the issue.  So when she believes this, and makes the next step integrating the teaching of Jesus into her identity, then it becomes easy to say “no” to Mr. “looser” Wrong.  Why?  He does not confirm the value of her significance.

This is a two edged sword that works for good as well as the bad.  If you have an excellent state internally, then you will create a context that reinforces excellence in your life. A life that now produces excellent products, services and results.  If you see yourself as successful internally, then you will create a context that lends itself toward success.  If we see ourselves as pure, then we will start to live a morally pure life.  This is why the Bible calls us saints before we act like saints.  If you can buy into that identity, then it will change your behavior. Our inner life becomes our reality.

This is true no matter what mistakes you have made, abuse that has been unjustly heaped upon you, a ridiculously long history of failure, or location in the pecking order of your society.  To live it on the outside, you must live it on the inside.  This is how the Crazy Kingdom works.

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 8-To be Seen Do It In Secret

 

 

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.                                  

 Matthew 5:14-16

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.                                    

 Matthew 6:1-4

Lets start off by reconciling these two scriptures.  One scripture boldly proclaims, “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  To summarize this scripture it could be paraphrased as “when people see you doing good works, then they glorify God.  The logical conclusion is that the more good works people see done, the more they glorify God.  This scripture certainly encourages public ministry.  Your good works serve as public relations for God.  The terminology of a “Town built on a hill” could easily be paraphrased as a ministry with a platform and influence. A ministry that cannot be hidden.

The second scripture tells us plainly, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.”  This scripture appears to discourage public ministry opting for secret service.  Actually, Jesus is building on the same point in the same sermon.  One could summarize this passage as saying, “Make sure your motivation for good works is not your own public relations.”  Love for God and love for others still needs to be the primary motivation not self promotion.

Notice Jesus assumed his followers were going to do good works. Therefore he instructs His followers that when they do good works there is no need to announce it.  There’s no need to attempt to get credit from others for ones good works.  God knows and the person served knows and that is all that really need to know.  Jesus was clear. Good works are not the currency for recognition.  If you want to be seen by God, then do it in secret.  The more secret, the purer the motive, and the more God takes note and the more the He rewards.

Yet because of the previous passage we know that God wants his followers to have a platform.  If there is no platform visible or a light on a stand in the dark, then larger groups of people will not see the hand of God at work through his people.

These two scriptures lay out a spiritual process that occurs in Spiritual formation, but also cuts across the survivalist mindset.  First, a person starts serving privately and/or secretly.  As they work privately in service to God a few things occur: 1) God uses service of people to purify their heart for service.  2) Their skills in serving and ministry are developed and refined. Everyone starts at the level of incompetence and grows from that point. 3) God allows their motives and skills to be tested.  When this process is complete the Father pulls away the veil that has hidden this secret servant.  He gives them a platform.  Now everyone in the secret servant’s new exalted platform sees a picture of a right person, doing rights things, the right way, for the right reasons.  The observers get to see a testimony of the heart of the Father.

There are two things about this process we humans don’t like, especially if we are still in survival mode.  One, this process takes time.  Most humans want to shoot to the top as fast as possible.  That might include rising to the top of a corporation, making all-stars in recreation baseball, being first chair in high school band, or growing that ministry super big super fast.  There is a race to the top, however most of the people who get to the top the fastest usually don’t stay there.  I heard one preacher say it like this, “There are no microwaves in heaven, just crockpots.” The time of secret service appears to transform us and that’s the point. The survivalist instinct desires to rise to leader of the pack as fast as possible.  Being the top dog ensures our survival.

Secondly, is God built this process into all of humanity.  Humans didn’t feel the pressure of this before the fall into survivalism.  Humanity was going to live forever.  You know, “What’s the rush?”  Yet because humanity fell under the curse of death and the curse of survival, everyone instinctively races against the clock.  God is not in a hurry and there is no panic in heaven.  No survival instinct there.  God takes his time.  He is excruciatingly patient.  This process has been build into all of creation so you might as well embrace it.

You might as well understand the practical ramifications of this painful process.  God graciously allows you to practice in secret.  This saves us a lot of embarrassment and pain.  God is gracious to us; this process is a gift.  This process can be summarized in the word “preparation.”

No one sees preparation. A movie might take 2 hours to watch, but the production of that movie took three years.  The reward of secret preparation is the movie itself, much less the success of it. People observe the results of high achievers, and they say, “Boy, they’re lucky.”  They did not see the valedictorian studying for some exam on some lonely Friday night when everyone else was out playing.  The Olympian receives the gold on the platform to the cheers of the crowd, but the crowd doesn’t see the hours of training, coaching and practice.

The crowd sees a happy functional family, while they don’t understand the effort it took to create that family dynamic.  The crowd was not there before this couple was married, when they were single and they refused to date any loser that came along; when the selection process looked hopeless, and when the lonely weekends had no end in sight.  They don’t see all the effort put into communication, working out problems, dealing with differences.  Many people say, “They are so lucky to find a spouse like that.”  Luck had nothing to do with it.  If it is seen as a success in public, then it has been practiced long and hard in secret.

If you want to be seen… If you want to have influence… If you want a platform… then you must do it in secret.  People are not going to see the light of success and be able to keep it until God says they are ready.

God is not going to pull back the curtain until you are the right person, doing the right things, the right way, with the right motive.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success he studies people who are hugely successful in life.  People who are bigger than life due to their unprecedented success.  Naturally, there are countless variables that lead to huge success.  Yet one of the biggest variables is what Gladwell calls the 10,000 hour rule.  Research confirms that people at this level of success are very rare. So rare they are tabulated as outliers.  To personalize his research Gladwell presents the examples of professional athletes and musicians, the Beatles, Bill Gates and many other interesting things and people.   Yet one common denominator among them all is they have practiced a minimum of 10,000 hours.  When a person has prepared and practiced for 10,000 hours, then odds are they are prepared for their once in a lifetime opportunity.

To be seen, you must do it in secret.  There are no short cuts.  Short cuts become long detours. Embrace the process.  Practice it with patience.  Purify your motives.  Develop your skills. Make the pain of the process worth it. This is how you embrace the Crazy Kingdom.  This is how you will inherit a crazy reward.

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 7-To Fill-up Empty Out

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.                                     Matthew 5:6

If there is any area that the survival thinking robs humanity of the most, it could be in the area of emptiness, hunger and desire.  The end game of the survival instinct is continued existence – survival.  The natural outgrow of this principle is apathy.  When all the thresholds have been met for survival, then the goal becomes to maintain.  The maintenance-mentality soon becomes mindless apathy.  Life has now kicked over into autopilot.  We have our rations, and we can now power down.  Apathy and maintenance are not the pathway to true life.  We must embrace the path of hunger if we are truly going to live.

Emptiness and hunger do not lead to starvation.  Hunger leads to motivation.  You are not motivated to eat until you are hungry.  If a person is not hungry for excellence, then there is no motivation to improve. If they are not hungry for success, then they will not succeed.  If they are not hungry to create, then other things will become a priority. If they are not hungry to solve problems, then they will not solve problems.  If a church is not hungry to grow, or meet needs, or have a community impact, then they will not.

We all know the natural order to this.  The cycle goes like this: hunger leads to eating, eatings leads to being filled.  The sensation of being full wanes which leads to hunger, and the cycles starts again. There are a few variations to this process. When a person eats good things, then their metabolism speeds up, giving them more energy, and making them hungry sooner.  When a person eats bad things, then their metabolism slows down, giving them less energy and making them fat.  The fatter a person gets, the more hungry they become.  The brain tells their stomach that they need to consume enough food to provide energy for the body, but also enough calories to maintain their fat. Ironically, no matter which path a person chooses, they are going to have an increased appetite. Our bodies illustrate this truth to us everyday.   To get full, you must be empty.

The same principle is true on multiple levels mentally and spiritually.  The nature of what you feed yourself, whether good or bad, is going to increase your longing for it.  If you have been feeding on the bad, then you will desire more of the bad.  If you have been eating the good stuff, then your appetite for the good will increase.  This is true, but it is not my main point.

The reality is when you eat mentally and spiritually the more hungry you get.  This cannot happen naturally due to the limitation of our stomach to hold food, but it is true physically over the long term.  Yet mentally and spiritually we do not face these limits.

Due to there being no limits the more one eats the more hungry they become instantaneously. This leads to the bizarre state of being hungry and filled at the same time. The more hungry you are for God, the more filled with God you are.  Being filled with God makes us even more hungry for God.  The more hungry you are for knowledge, the more filled with knowledge you will be, which intensifies the hunger for knowledge.

Hunger leads you to what you are hungry for.  When you are hungry for answers, then you find answers.  Hunger blesses us because it forces us to ask the correct questions.  If you are not hungry, there is no reason to seek.  If you are not seeking, you will not ask the right questions.  The right questions lead you to the right answers.  When you are naturally hungry, you ask, “Where can I get food?”  It is your emptiness that leads you to fullness.  If you are satisfied, then there is no motivation, and without motivation there is no satisfaction.

You never get full until you get empty.  You could paraphrase what Jesus said like this, If one hungers for righteousness, then they are going to ask, “How can I get righteousness?”  When you ask the correct question you will find the correct answer.  Jesus was so confident in this truth and in the hardwiring of humanity; if one asks the right questions, then they will find the right answers.  And in this particular case, Jesus knew that if one asked how they can be righteous, then they would find him. They would find his grace.

Hunger leads to the right questions.  What are the right questions? How do I find what I am looking for? How do I feed my hunger? The right questions improve our life.  Outside of random, but positive accidents, nothing can be improved in life without us asking how each area can be improved.  How can I improve my business?  How can I get a promotion?  How can I increase the quality of my life?  How can I feed all of these kids?  How can I afford to take a vacation? You never get there without hunger.

You pair this with the mind and the spirits ability to never reach capacity, then this leads to a state of being starved and filled simultaneously.  When you think about this you know it to be true.  The most knowledgeable people you know are still the most hungry for learning.  The most spiritual people you know are still the most hungry spiritually.  In the Crazy Kingdom, when you’re full you’re starving and when you’re starving you are full.

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 6-To Be Happy Mourn First

 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

Most of human behavior revolves around this survival curse.  Yet most people want to escape from this reality.  This is the root of our cultures idolatry of fun. This survival curse must be covered, medicated and escaped from in our lives. In light of this the world says, “Be happy at all costs.” If alcohol makes you happy, then drink to your hearts content.  If illicit sex makes you happy, then you should not restrain yourself.  There is no need for restraint in anything that makes us happy, and rescues us from the rut of survival.  So popular culture says jump in with two feet, and if it be drugs…hanging out with friends…partying…medication…porn…another bad relationship…TV…entertainment…busyness…work…achieving, then so be it.  Whatever brings you delight is to be pursued.

This race to escape from our human dilemma is futile. We want a deep seated happiness that radiates from within, not a superficial bandaid that only distracts us from reality. Yet the only way to find this deep seated happiness is to stop and face the condition we are in. This is the call of repentance that we hear from John the Baptist and Jesus.  The call to face our sin.  The call to mourn our condition, and then turn from that condition. Humans instinctively run from mourning and repentance.  We know we are flawed.  The transformation from superficial happiness to a deep joy within must go through the door of mourning. We must stop and face who we really are.  Alcoholics Anonymous says it is the point when you realize you are an alcoholic. You are not just having fun…you’re a drunk.

True happiness comes when you face the truth, mourn the truth and deal with the truth.  Until you look in the mirror and face the pain, and mourn the truth you will never change.  Some need to look in the mirror and say,  “I am a bad parent.”  They need to mourn it, and then say, “I am not going to bounce from relationship to relationship any more trying to fill the void in my life.  I am going to focus on my kids.”  A person needs to go through that same process of facing all hindering behavior.  I have made bad decisions, but no more excuses.  Face who you are.  Do you need to say: I am a liar; I am a slave to the opinions of others.  The truth is the most painful thing you will ever face.  But the truth is the only thing that will set you free.  It is not until you realize that you are a bad parent or an average parent that you can become a great parent, and that brings great joy.  It is not until you own your hypocrisy that you can make adjustments, and that coherence of life and thought brings real joy.  It is not until you realize that you are not doing well at your job because you are lazy, that you can make a real change.  The truth hurts.  Feel the un-cushioned force of the truth.  Mourning is the key to change.

The call to mourn also beckons you to dig deeper than just your behavior. You also have to face the injustice inflicted upon you in the past.   Many times our actions are rooted in the pain of injustice.  There might be more to the problem of overeating. The problem could be that you are medicating the pain of rejection from a parent that walked out on you.  The reason you are looking at porn maybe because you are afraid of intimacy, because the last person you shared your heart with rejected you or used that information against you.  I am not saying that all bad behavior is rooted in a dysfunctional past, but the call to mourn says, “If it is, then you need to deal with it.”  If you want to be free then you have to face the fact that: my parents never loved me; the abuse is affecting my behavior; I was taken advantage of.  The list could go on and on.  Facing the past leads to freedom from the past.  So how does one cure the pain of injustice afflicted upon them?  You can’t fix the past, but you can stop running from it.  You can face it, then mourn it, and then healing comes.  The survival instinct says to run from the pain.  It says to run from the darkness of pain.  Yet Jesus calls for us to face it, to mourn it, and let the healing process take root.  To mourn your lose is the only way to find freedom from the past, and this leads to genuine happiness. Happy are those who mourn.

Mourning is the pathway that helps us to step into a larger world.  Mourning things outside of our control places us on a path to greater joy than we can ever imagine.  It is paradox again.  We force ourself in a direction that is counterintuitive.  There are all kinds of injustices that you can mourn: sex slavery; children with parents in prison; teen pregnancy; etc.

When you mourn issues larger than yourself, then the blessings that come into your life are manifold.  This mourning releases compassion.  This compassion stirs up love in our hearts.  This love and compassion connects us to God, motivates us to act positively.  God connection and positive action releases the anointing of God’s Spirit into our life.  This brings a supernatural dimension into our life.  We have a supernatural flow of energy, purpose and miracle working power. This provides a high to life that can only be understood when one has experienced the connection to a larger purpose.

When one takes this mourning to God through prayer this is what the Bible calls intercession.  The issue that one is mourning becomes catalytic in connecting to God.  This connection to God  awakens people to the life they were created for.

We were created to glorify God, know God, and relate with God. When we mourn larger injustices we step into a combination of joy, peace and purpose that brings an inward satisfaction that awakens us to why we were created.  The Bible calls this, “Joy unspeakable and full of glory.” This holds true until God brings us another cause to mourn.  Mourning starts the process that leads to love, compassion, connecting with God, and the anointing.  These make us happy. Thus, blessed are those who mourn!

 

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 5-To Experience It Honor Others Who Have It.

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”                                     Matthew 10:40-42

 

When a person is running the rat race of survival, they are in competition with the ones that are ahead of them.  The survival racers alway keep track of those who are ahead of them and they always know who is behind them, especially those who are close behind them.  Understanding the pecking order of the world is important if one is a survivalist.  The survivalist longs to be on top of the food chain.  Jealously is fuel to the survivalist. Jealously gives the motivation to keep competing.  Jealously is the consolation prize for the first and second runner up. Jealously is the salt in the wounds of the defeated.  Jealously is the longing for someone else’s experience.

Jesus comes along pointing to the way of the Crazy Kingdom.  In the Crazy Kingdom experience is not hoarded, experiences are multiplied. In the Crazy Kingdom if one person experiences something, their experiencing it is the key to someone else experiencing that same reality. The survivalist says, “I am going to push them out of their spot, their experience, because it is only when they are displaced that I can experience what they are experiencing.”  Experiences are limited.

But in the Crazy Kingdom nothing is limited.  One person’s success is the key to another’s success.  One person’s experience is the path to someone else experiencing that same reality. Jealously is the counterfeit of honor.  Jesus taught us about how honor works in the Kingdom. Jesus said, we had to “welcome a prophet as a prophet…”  Why must we honor a prophet as a prophet?  If they’re a prophet, then they’re a prophet, what difference does it make about our attitude toward them?  The issue is if you want to experience what the prophet experiences, then you must honor him for what he is.  You see, the prophet’s reward is revelation.  If you want revelation from God or from the prophet, then you must honor the prophet.  If you want to share in his experience, then you must honor the person that caries that experience. When you honor the man, then you are honoring the price he paid to get to where he is.  Honoring the path puts you on the same path. Honoring the person positions you to receive from them…to learn from them…to receive impartation from them…to acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit within that person.

Jealousy is honor in reverse. When one is jealous they desire the experience of another, but the nature of jealously prevents them from sharing in the experience they desire. Honer is the kingdom path to shared experiences.

When Jesus’ hometown folks did not honor him, then they could no longer experience his miracles. Miracles don’t flow up to the proud, they flow down to the humble.

This principle that Jesus taught extends beyond the realm of the prophetic.  Jesus qualified that he was teaching a heavenly principle by giving different applications to the same principle.  If you welcome a righteous man, then you get the righteous man’s reward. What is the righteous man’s reward?  Righteousness!

If you want to experience what another is experiencing, then don’t be jealous of them-honor them.  When you honor them, then you share in their experience and you receive from their gift. The path to their experience is a process.  To receive from their reward is immediate.  When you honor them their path is highlighted for you.  You can follow in their footsteps.

This is not only the key to receive from those above us; it is the key to receive from those under us. The people that follow our lead have gifts, abilities and talents.  It’s only as we acknowledge and honor the gifts they bring to the table that we can receive the full benefit of what they bring to the table.

You must receive a mentor as a mentor to receive a mentor’s reward (training).  You must receive a pastor as a pastor to receive a pastor’s reward (care).  You must receive a life coach as a life coach to receive a life coach’s reward (perspective and solutions).  You must receive an administrative person as an administrative person to receive organization and order in your life. The principle holds true no matter if one moves the principle up or down the ladder.

Most of the time honor is going to be more than simple respect. Honor will require you to give yourself to the person by some means or another.  You must pay a personal trainer, life coach or nutritionist if you are going to receive their reward.  Honor may mean you travel to a conference this person is teaching.  Honor may require you to purchase a book they are selling or downloads from their website.  It may require you to tithe or to sow into their ministry.  It many require you to purchase their lunch or dinner. Honor demands giving by one means or another.  Even if you do something small like a cup of cold water, this will influence what reward you are going to reap from their life.  Jesus said even little acts of honor will bring the reward from their life into yours.  Remember, in the Crazy Kingdom if you want to experience it, then you must honor it.

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 4-To Receive It Give It Away

 

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”                                            Luke 6:37-38

The drive to survive compels people to hoard everything like chipmunks hoarding nuts in a tree.  If ones goal is to survive, then it is logical to store reserves.  The laws of mathematics states, if one wants to accumulate more reserves, then they need to add to their reserves, and certainly don’t divide it. Therefore, people will hoard whatever brings them security.  This survival mindset drives people to acquire.  If one wants money, then they need to put it in a bank account or stuff it under the mattress.  If one wants friendship, when they find a friend or a group of friends they shouldn’t let anyone else in. Protect the reserves. This survival instinct to hoard is rooted in a fear of lack.  This fear of lack fuels the fires of hoarding, greed, ruthless ambition and theft.

A person can survive with that mindset, but they certainly cannot LIVE.  The kingdom of heaven does not function on survival mode.  The Kingdom overflows with life.  The Kingdom overflows with love, creative power and abundance.  If you want more of something, then you must give it away.  If one is going to tap into the creative power and the abundance of the unlimited kingdom, then one must act in love.  Love always gives.  Love is not the priority of survival, but it is the priority of life, a true life link to the Kingdom of heaven.  When one understands they are operating by kingdom principles it brings confidence that the resources of the kingdom will be at hand.

Just like the fruit was at hand for Adam and Eve in the garden. They knew if the resources were not there, then the resources could be created.  If it is not there right now, then it will bloom in season.

Many understand that God wants us to be generous, and many more understand that the way of love is giving, but few understand how to receive kingdom resources.  The way to reach ones hand into the Kingdom is to create flow.

How do you get started?  You initiate!  You make the first step. You give.  That’s why you must forgive to be forgiven.  In the kingdom you make the first step because there is unlimited grace.  If you want less of something, then you withhold it.  It simply takes you out of flow.  God is the creator, and a river is flowing from His throne.  It is flowing into all the kingdom, and when you initiate, then you create flow.  Jesus said out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water.  Jesus is saying that you become a source of flow.

Jesus also tells us this works in reverse.  You don’t want to be judged, then you stop the flow of judgement out of you.  You don’t want to be condemned, then you rein in the condemnation.

If one wants to increase something, then they need to start giving it away.  Everything you do can become an investment that brings the flow of the Kingdom into your life. If one needs more money, then they should give more away.  If a person invests their life into a life-giving church, then they will reap a higher quality of life.  If someone wants more time, they should give time away in service to others, then they will reap that time back in living longer.

The same is true for you! If you want your business to operate in abundance, creative power and the blessing of the kingdom, then offer more than is expected to your customers.  Offer your customers greater quality than they have ever dreamed possible.  If you’re tired and worn-out, then you need to exercise.  When you give away energy, then energy will come into your life.  If you want friends, then give away friendship and it will return your way.  If you want your kids to care for you when you are aged, then invest into your relationships with them now.  I am not talking about providing for them or taking them to the movies.  I am not even talking about lecturing them about life or giving them platitudes about how to be successful.  I’m not even talking about reminding them to wear their seat belt or look both ways before they cross the street.  I mean you talk to them, spend time with them, hug and touch them or whatever it takes to earn the right into their hearts.  Do this continually while they are children, teens and young adults.  Make their new marriage easier rather than being a curse to it.  Then one day when you get old, they’re going to care for you with compassion.  If you don’t, then you’re going to land in a cheap nursing home on the bad side of town.  What you sow is what you reap.  You will be provided for, but with no relationship attached to it.

Why?  Giving creates flow.  Giving gets things moving. You initiate flow for the positive or for the negative.  When we are in flow, we are acting out the image of God within us. We are running on the operating system that we were made to run on.  The operating system that brings us life.  This raises our human potential.  This brings creative flow into our lives.  This connects us to an invisible kingdom that has no lack, and is filled with abundance.  This pulls us out of the curse of survival and into real life.  Life is about giving. The more you give, the more you live, and in the Kingdom this generous life is rewarded with more resources to be generous.

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 3-To See It Believe It. Don’t See It To Believe It.

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

Hebrews 11:1

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:22-24

Our natural tendency is the five senses are king.  If we can see it…taste it…touch it …hear it … smell it, then this determines our reality.  This is the framework for life. This is belief.  The inbred will to survive demands it.  We want proof.  If we have proof, then the realm of our survival has known and understood boarders.  We can be confident in what resources, dangers and threats await us.

This view of the world is deceptive.  It promises security, but in the end it places limits on true life, and never enhances it. This paradigm is based on there being limited resources.  It rejects all resources that are not within hands reach-especially spiritual resources.   The atheist says, “I have never seen God, therefore I do not believe, therefore He is not a resource I can trust.”  The doubter says, “I have never seen a major miracle, therefore I don’t believe in miracles, therefore I should never do anything in which I need a miracle.”  The disappointed Christian says, “I have prayed and not received the answer I wanted, therefore prayer is useless, and not helpful for life.” This subconscious mindset operates on the premise of a lack of resources.  It’s trapped in survival foraging.

Yet belief opens our eyes to resources that we have not previously observed: spiritual power, spiritual realities, processes of doing things, human potential, etc. Seeing these resources and then acting on them, actually enforces belief and makes it relevant to life.  Unbelief is very limiting.  It places a lid on human potential.  No matter how great the achievements of mankind without faith, they never fully reach their full potential.

A faithless state of mind is dead weight on personal growth  because when one only believes what they have a personal reference for it makes them, at best unteachable, and at worse, hopelessly ignorant.  Unbelief limits ones horizons by limiting the tools, reference points and resources that are available to make life work and to make the impossible possible.

So we must spin our minds around the reality that belief leads to true life. The kingdom of God is not a resource-based Kingdom.  It is a creation-based Kingdom.  If you can think of it, then you can create it.  Belief is the conduit that connects one to creative power.  This works practically, naturally, and in the spiritual realm.  If you can imagine it, then it can be done.  There is no cure for cancer, but we can imagine life with one, therefore it will be invented.  There are no flying cars, but it is just a matter of time before they start flying off the lot.  Every creation, cure, invention and solution started with an idea and the belief that the idea would become reality.

This limited mindset that has come into our society that says, “There is only one pie and everyone gets a slice of the pie,” is a lie of unbelief that chains the potential of society.  “If I have a big piece, then you have a little piece,” creates a small world with small ideas.  Yet when one connects with creative power, then they understand they are a pie factory.  Life is not limited to one pie, and society certainly is not limited to one pie.  We are pie factories.  Connect to creative power and produce pies that have never been imagined before.  You can make more pies.  There are unlimited resources, we just have to discover where those resources are.

To see it, one must believe it. Faith connects you to spiritual power.  Faith releases the floodgates of the power of the kingdom of God into ones life.  This power can release miracles.  It can open blind eyes, heal the sick, displace evil, raise the dead, find cures, create inventions, produce solutions, raise societies, and enhance culture.  If you believe it, then you can see it with your own eyes.  If you have to see it to believe it, then this idea will become the limiting factor in your life.

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 2: Repentance in the Red and Black

 

The most common accounting terminology speaks of being in the red or in the black.  When an account is in the red, it is overdrawn.  When an account is in the black, it has more money than zero.  It has a surplus so to speak. Bill Johnson, Pastor of Bethel church in Redding, California coined the terms repentance in the red and repentance in the black.  Most religious folk usually just think of repentance as repentance in the red.

John the Baptist primarily dealt with repentance in the red.  Repentance from sin.  You know…turn or burn…get the sin out.  When someone sins, they go in the red with God so to speak. They are overdrawn. As one repents they come back into the black.  We understand John’s preaching of repentance, but don’t understand its link to the kingdom.  The drive to sin in many ways is linked to the survival curse of humanity.  The desire to steal is rooted in survival. I do not have enough; I need yours.  Greed and hoarding says, “I might need this later on.”  Coveting says, “I want what you have because I might need it to survive.”  Murder… “I am threatened by you.”  Breaking the sabbath… “I need that extra time to labor or I might not survive.”  Unbelief says things I can’t see don’t help me survive. Lying… “this new set of facts make my survival easier.” The list goes on and on.  I need your wife…I need to control you… I need more food at this meal…I need more sleep…or I might not survive.  The cure for sin is to change our operating system.  To move from survival to life.  To change the way we think.  That is why repentance is accompanied by the message of the kingdom.  A new way of life calls for a new operating system.

Jesus added to John’s messages.  He added “repentance in the black” to the message.  There is more to repentance than just changing how we think about sin.  Repentance continually modifies our thinking to kingdom thinking.  Once we are out of sin, we need to know how to truly live life, raise our families, expand our businesses, enhance our relationships, manage our resources, wield our influence, carry out our ministries, deploy our gifts.  The call of Jesus is not only to change our thinking about our sin, but to change our thinking about every aspect of life.  He calls us to do this violently and forcefully within the context of our own life (Matthew 11:12).  This violent and disruptive change in thinking I’ve dubbed as mind spinning.  Jesus invites us to spin our minds around how to really live.

Jesus beckons everyone to conform our operating system around the reality of absolute life in contrast to mere survival.  Jesus calls everyone to live out of the image of God that was placed upon man at the creation.  This new operating system returns ones thinking to the pre-fall state of the garden. Without this “repentance in the black” ones thinking will fall back to fearful survival and existence.

You can change your thinking (repentance) and center your mental processes on the eternal Kingdom that is within hands reach and is coming in power on this earth.  For the full impact of this Kingdom to truly be revealed you must repent, not solely from negative behavior (sin), but from the base desire to just survive.  You must change your thinking to how this Kingdom affects every area of your life. This continual mind spinning is repentance in the black.

A New Book is Coming!!!

After almost 8 years my second book will be coming out soon. The good news is if you enjoyed these thoughts, they’re excerpts from my upcoming book that’s in the process of being published now.  Hopefully it will be out by Christmas, but more realistically by March.

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Please share this with a friend and let’s spread the word about living on a Kingdom operating system.  If you missed the first article about “Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living,” then click here.

Also check out my series on the “Three Life Long Seasons of Spiritual Development.” Part 1.  Part 2. Part 3.

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