Against the Grain

Father, I set my thoughts upon You
& commit to think on those things that are
true, pure, good, beautiful, and praiseworthy.
I turn from anything opposing Your truth.
Renew my mind. Transform my life.
I repent and desire to follow You wholly.

Series Focus: “Thy Kingdom Come”

Have you ever been so convinced in your thoughts about something, only to discover the truth was NOTHING like you imagined? It’s mind-blowing. Revolutionary. Overwhelming. And often, extremely humbling.

Last week, Jen introduced our new series: “Thy Kingdom Come.” She explained how we don’t have to wait to get to Heaven to experience the Kingdom of Heaven – that we can enter into a relationship with Jesus today and be a dwelling place for His presence. Further, she affirmed God’s Kingdom doesn’t look the same as the world we see every day – just as John 3:3 says, “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.'”

When people hear “Kingdom of God,” or “Kingdom of Heaven,” most think about Heaven – the place believers go when they pass from this world to spending eternity with their Father. But that’s not the whole picture of the “Kingdom,” as referred to in the above scripture. Nor is it when Jesus instructed His followers to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Why would Jesus teach His followers to pray “Your Kingdom come” to earth – especially when Jesus was already in the earth? That, my friends, is a loaded question. Buckle up as we journey against the grain of common Christian perception.

First, as Jen explained last week, when Jesus left this earth, He sent the Comforter – the Holy Spirit – the One who leads believers into all truth – to indwell their hearts. Thereby, God makes His home in those who believe upon Jesus as their Savior.

Next, after becoming born again and infilled with the Holy Spirit, the eyes of understanding for those who believe are opened. As the Bible is studied, transformation occurs by the renewing of  the mind. No longer with minds darkened and conformed by the nature of this world, the light-switch is turned on. Suddenly, revelation pours out and the believer understands scriptures like never before. That’s where the great shift occurs.

Now, let’s enter into this week’s focus. Walk with me through these scriptures:

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

The word “repent” in both scriptures is the same Greek word: metanoia. The literal translation, according to The Strong’s Concordance, is “to think differently;” or “to reconsider.” So, John the Baptist and Jesus instructed the Jewish community to “think differently.” Why?

The Jewish people were waiting for the Messiah to come, conquer, deliver and rule. In their minds, they thought the Messiah would look like a mighty warrior – a military and political leader. Yet, Jesus came as the Prince of peace. He didn’t operate by man’s governing influence, but by God’s. In other words, Jesus didn’t come with force and violence, but with love. More specifically, the agape – unconditional – love of God that overcomes all sin.

Paul writes in Romans 14:17:

“For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

The Kingdom of God is not what we think in our finite, limited and conditioned minds. It’s not just some far away destiny we’ll inhabit someday when we pass from this world to the next. The Kingdom of God – or Kingdom of Heaven – is something we can experience in the here and now – right here in the earth – today! It’s the righteousness of God, the peace that surpasses all understanding, and the joy of the Lord!

Friends, I am passionate about this message. We exist so far under the measure God desires us to live! Repent. Think Differently. Reconsider what you have embraced as truth and upon which you have ordered your life. This is the day of salvation! The presence of the Lord is here – with you right now!  The fruits of the Spirit are yours – not just to understand, but to implement, experience fully and enjoy.

Let’s realign our thoughts according to the scriptures – according to the Kingdom that is ours to experience today! Jesus said, as recorded in John 5:25, “An hour is coming, and NOW IS, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Go against the grain of the world. Commit to think upon those things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, and praiseworthy.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand for you today. How will you respond?

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: John 3:3, 5:25, 16:5-15; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Matthew 3:2, 4:17; 6:10; Romans 12:2, 14:17; Galatians 5:21-22; 2 Corinthians 6:2; John 5:25; Philippians 4:8


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