When we become Christians an amazing thing happens that we need to take advantage of. The Holy Spirit becomes part of us, and from the instant of our conversion, we are no longer alone.
I just finished reading Night by Elie Wiesel. Rarely does a book impact me emotionally. Night did. It’s a true story of a 15 year old Jewish boy who, along with his family, was forced by the Nazis to leave his home. He endured a year of hardship and survival in Nazi concentration camps.
The book is an account of separation from his mother and younger sister and the declining health and death of his father.
It was sad. I felt its effect for several days after reading the last words.
But it was sad on another level. Until the day the German troops marched into Mr. Wiesel’s village the citizens were in denial they would be affected by the war. In fact, they were sure defeat of the German army by the Russian Red Army was imminent.
“And we, the Jews of Sighet, waited for better days that surely were to come. Spring 1944. Splendid news from the Russian front. There could no longer be any doubt. Germany would be defeated. It was only a matter of time, months or weeks, perhaps.” Page 8
Yes, fellow Christian, just sit back and relax. God is in control.
You want to end a conversation about the chaos in the world today? Utter these soothing words, “God is in control.”
Case closed. Go on to the next subject. Crab grass. Vacation. Car shopping. Whatever.
Then sit back and do absolutely nothing.
It takes from 8 to 10 hours to travel the 50 mile passage that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Was it worth the price?
It was first thought of in the 1500s by King Charles I of Spain. Actual construction did not begin until 1880 by France. Faced with mudslides, malaria, and yellow fever, it was abandoned in 1888. American president Theodore Roosevelt purchased the French assets in 1902. Construction by the Americans began in 1904.
“Be patient. God’s not finished with me yet.”
That’s right. God began changing you. It probably began with a change in your habits. He prompted you to change your attitudes about people. He made you aware of needs in others that you may not have even noticed.
When did this change begin?
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
At the moment you asked Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life you became a new creation. When I did that, although I sensed something different, I did not feel like a completely new creation. Why not?
“Jones!” The coach’s voice echoed in the empty hallway. “Going somewhere?”
“Yeah, I’m heading home.”
“Did you forget? We have practice today.”
“I won’t be there.”
The coach quickly walked up and got about two inches from Jones’s face. “Excuse me. Why not?”
I handed the officer my passport and anxiously waited for him to motion me through the gate.
“What is the purpose of your visit?” He asked.
“Vacation.” I answered.
“How long will you be staying?”
He handed my passport to me. “Next.”
I was in.
A citizen? No. Just a visitor.
How can we seek His kingdom unless we understand what His kingdom is?
Recall the words of Jesus.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 New American Standard Bible
The Greek word for kingdom is basileia. Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words notes that this is primarily an abstract noun, denoting sovereignty, royal power, or dominion. It does not refer to a physical territory but to the reign of God.
To seek His kingdom is to seek His reign over our lives. A king demands full authority over his subjects and expects absolute allegiance from them.
Although a visitor must follow all the rules, citizens are expected to be loyal.
Unlike an earthly king, God does not force His authority over us. It’s my choice to submit to Him, and submission must include every part of my life.
I can’t claim God as my King if I have not given Him full authority over all areas of my life.
Consider these steps:
- Prayerfully ask God to reveal those areas that have not been submitted to His reign.
- Write those areas down.
- Begin with one area and ask God to tell you how to turn it over to Him.
- Follow His direction.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each area on the list.
If we’re serious about putting Jesus first in our lives, we need to quit playing around with our relationship with Him and do what He said. Seeking God’s reign in my life is not an option.
Until next time, #Jesusfirst2016.