Our Defining Priority (7)
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6.33
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1.10, 11
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6.19, 20
Citizens and ambassadors
Having purchased our salvation by His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. There, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high and was given an eternal Kingdom over which to rule (cf. Ps. 110.1, 2; Heb. 1.1-3; Dan. 7.13, 14). Jesus has bestowed that Kingdom on “the saints of the Most High” by translating all who believe in Him out of the kingdom of darkness into His own glorious Kingdom of light (Dan. 1.18; Col. 1.13; 1 Jn. 2.8). Now we are citizens of a new, glorious, and eternal realm which has come and is coming more and more day by day. We are ambassadors of that Kingdom, appointed to seek, represent, and proclaim righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit in all we are and do.
We who believe are not our own. We have been bought with a price by the King Who now calls us to His Kingdom and glory, to be His witnesses, make all the nations disciples, build His Church, and restore for the goodness and glory of God the world He has reconciled to the Father (1 Thess. 2.12; Acts 1.8; Matt. 28.18-20; Eph. 4.11-16; 2 Cor. 5.14-21). Compelled by His love, we long to be daily and increasingly employed in His project of filling the world with Himself (Eph. 1.22, 23; 4.7-10).
We are not our own. We have an all-defining mandate from Him Who bought us and delivered us to the Father, that we should seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness above all, in and through all, first and always (Matt. 6.33). At any moment, we are either completely surrendered to and engaged in fulfilling that mandate, or we are straying from the path of the Lord which He has pioneered (1 Jn. 2.1-6; Heb. 12.1-3). We cannot serve King Jesus and anything else. We must serve Him only and only on His terms. For of Him and through Him and unto Him are all things, to Whom alone be glory now and forevermore (Rom. 11.36).
It is thus incumbent upon us, as citizens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God and Christ, to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure. For only as we are sure of this calling will we be sufficiently sure-footed in our daily journey to undertake whatever is necessary to fulfill our calling day by day.
Sent like Jesus
Of course, we know that any effort we make to realize more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God will be imperfect, at best. This should not deter us, however. While we strive for excellence and the glory of God in all we do, we embrace Chesterton’s belief that “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly” (What’s Wrong with the World).
And realizing more of the Kingdom presence in our world is certainly worth doing, though all we ever manage, despite our most earnest and energetic efforts, be but a poor representation of it.
Like Jesus, we are sent to the world to bring the Good News of the Kingdom to people living in the darkness of wrong-belief and sin (Jn. 20.21). We are not likely to give much effort to this mission until realizing the Kingdom presence becomes a more vital and transforming aspect of our daily experience. We must seek the righteousness of the Kingdom, to dwell increasingly in its peace, and to know and express its joy by all the power and means the Holy Spirit can provide. As the character of the Kingdom becomes more consistently our character and its peaceable condition the defining ambiance of our lives, and as we increase in the joy of the Kingdom and the hope of glory that joy radiates, we may expect to see the Kingdom of light overcoming the darkness of sin as far as our active will can reach (Willard, The Divine Conspiracy).
We are called to God’s Kingdom to live for Jesus and His glory, and we are sent to the world to proclaim this new reality by all our words and deeds.
What will it take for us to begin realizing and asserting a richer and more enduring Kingdom presence in our lives and times?
Sure and sure-footed
We must make our calling and election sure if we would know a deeper and more all-engulfing presence of the Kingdom in our lives. This means understanding the roots of the Kingdom of God, both in Scripture and God’s plan and in our own lives.
It will also entail a more complete effort to realize the Kingdom presence in every aspect of our lives, beginning in our soul and working out into all the spaces and times of our walk with and work for the Lord.
Realizing the Kingdom presence will mean greater clarity and consistency in prayer; taking actions consistent with the character, condition, and consequence of the Kingdom; and joining with fellow Kingdom citizens for mutual encouragement and edification.
And it will require that we focus, as fully as possible, on the final and glorious coming of the Kingdom which even now is unfolding in, through, and around us. We must have the glorious vision of the new heavens and new earth directing our thinking, enthralling our affections, and keeping our values and priorities set on that which Jesus Christ is even now preparing for us.
Realizing a greater Kingdom presence—on earth as it is in heaven—is not just going to happen. Earnest longing and wishful thinking won’t bring it about. Only devout and faithful prayer, informed and zealous living, and working together for the Kingdom and glory of God will help us to make our calling and election sure and give us the Kingdom sure-footedness that will enable us to realize more of its presence, promise, and power as we are going.
1. How do you express the fact that you are not your own, that you have been bought with the blood of Jesus?
2. In what ways would you like to realize more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom in your daily life?
3. Share the studies in this series with a friend. Encourage your friend to subscribe to ReVision (click here) and seek a greater “Kingdom Presence” with you.
Next steps – Preparation: Spend time in prayer asking the Lord to prepare you, soul and body, for a fuller experience of His Kingdom. Make this your daily prayer.
T. M. Moore
A companion study to this installment is entitled, “We Would See Jesus.” The four installments in that series are available free of charge by clicking here.
A companion book to this study of “Kingdom Presence” is available at our bookstore. Learn more and listen to an excerpt from The Kingdom Turn, by clicking here. Then order your free copy.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study.