Time for Restoration (5)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6.33
Every moment for the King
Since, as we have seen, the Lord Jesus grants us the time of our lives for the purpose of augmenting, improving, and expanding His rule on earth as it is in heaven, we do well to take His command about seeking the Kingdom into every area of our lives.
Jesus taught us to pray that the Kingdom would come on earth after the pattern and with the same character and impact as it has in heaven (Matt. 6.10). The Kingdom brings all-things-newness to the world, and it does this as believers work out their salvation in fear and trembling, and pursue good works of restoration in every aspect of life (Phil. 2.12; Matt. 5.13-16).
We are making the most of the time of our lives when we are using every moment of it on the King’s business, devoting ourselves to the progress of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit as our overarching framework for life (Rom. 14.17, 18). And since these attributes are not everywhere enjoyed, our work of restoration – the ministry of reconciliation that has been given to us – must aim to bring more of these to the world.
The better we understand and the more consistent we are able to be in seeking Christ and His Kingdom, and doing the work of restoration, the better use we will make of the time of our lives in bringing glory and honor to the Lord.
This is a call for a new outlook on the time God gives you each day. As a citizen and ambassador in the Kingdom of God, you are both a sign that the Kingdom has come, and an outpost from which the Kingdom is extended to others.
Know the King
Seeking the Kingdom means preparing, growing, living, and working in such a way as to experience and express the reality of Christ’s rule in every area of our lives. This is what the work of restoration seeks to achieve.
This requires, in the first place, that we maintain a vibrant and fruitful relationship with the Lord of the Kingdom Himself. That is – as we have said – the work of restoration must be continually attended to in our own soul and life. We cannot bring restoring grace to others if we are not making the time each day to be restored in all aspects of our soul and life.
Peter commands us to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ so that we encounter Him in His glory through the various disciplines He has provided, especially reading and meditating in God’s Word, and prayer (2 Pet. 3.18; 2 Cor. 3.12-18). We cannot expect to have much success in advancing the rule of Christ if we do not know the Lord well enough to understand how He would have us use the time of our lives for His honor and glory. The paltry spiritual life that characterizes many professing Christians will keep them from making the most of the time for the work of restoration, for the simple reason that their relationship with the Lord is not as deep, vibrant, and vital as it should be.
The Kingdom visible
The Kingdom of God – the reign of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit – comes to expression in our lives through the various relationships, roles, and responsibilities in which we engage each day. Thus, the more mindful we are about these, the better we prepare for each; and the more attentive and diligent we are in conducting them, the greater will be the likelihood that what we are learning about Christ and His Kingdom will become visible in our time at work, our conversations and relationships with others, and the various activities of our lives.
In every area of our lives, we need to be alert for opportunities to advance the work of restoration. The more we grow in Christ, the more clearly we will see what that work entails, and the better prepared we will be to devote the time and energy such restoration requires.
We are seeking the Kingdom when we seek to bring more of the Biblical reality of the Kingdom to fruition in those spheres where we have influence, conduct relationships, and use up the time of our lives (2 Cor. 10.13-18).
The agent of the Kingdom
Finally, we seek the Kingdom of God and do the work of restoring the reconciled world as we are involved in making disciples and building the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 28.18-20; Eph. 4.11-16).
The Church is the agent of the Kingdom, brokering its grace and truth to the world through the lives and ministries of faithful disciples and witnesses of Jesus Christ. Each of us is called to participate in the great work of making disciples and bearing witness for Christ; using our time with others to encourage, instruct, and assist them in knowing the Lord and growing in Him; and joining with other disciples to carry out the various works of ministry that build up the local community of believers in unity and maturity. The Spirit of God has given us gifts to use in this aspect of the work of restoration, and we must be good stewards to identify, improve, and employ those gifts as many ways as we can (1 Cor. 12.7-11).
Making disciples is not the calling of pastors alone. Jesus expects all His friends to be actively involved in this great work. Similarly, each of us has unique gifts and opportunities for ministering to others, and we must be faithful stewards of these as the Lord leads us day by day (1 Pet. 4.10, 11; 1 Cor. 4.1, 2). As we encourage and assist others in growing in the Lord, and devote some of our time to helping our local church become more the Body of Christ, we fulfill an important aspect of the work of restoration.
When we are seeking the Kingdom of God in these ways – growing in the Lord, doing His work in all our work and other activities, making disciples and building His Church – we will be making the best possible use of the time entrusted to us by the Lord, and we can expect a return on our investment that brings honor and glory to Christ and the blessings of peace to those around us.
And that return on investment is the increasing restoration of the world Jesus has reconciled to the Father.
1. How would you explain the Kingdom of God to a new believer?
2. What is the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the work of restoration?
3. How would you explain to a fellow believer what it means to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? How does this relate to the time God gives us each day?
T. M. Moore
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