From the beginning of our spiritual heritage, we’ve been taught to put
God first. In fact, that’s how the Ten Commandments begin: “I am the
LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. “Do not worship
any other gods besides me…” (Exodus 20). And, Deuteronomy 6.4-6,
which we’ve been lifting up, instructs us to put God first as well:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love
the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your
strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these
commands I am giving you today.”
Living the Kingdom of God Colossians 3.1-4
Kingdom living begins with putting God first, getting a God-focus for life! Through Jesus, we’ve been invited on a journey.
And whenever we talk about living the kingdom of God, we talk about
putting aside certain practices/habits and taking up new ones. What
kinds of things should we put away? What kinds of habits should be
break? Colossians 3.5-11
And if we really want to put God first in your life, if we want to live
the kingdom of God way, Paul gives us a snapshot of what our lives will
look like … Colossians 3.12-17
Jesus was always talking about the kingdom of God, and how we should live the kingdom here and now. Matthew 6.19-34
If you read this with the attitude of “it’s all about me,” you will
emphasize the “all these things shall be added unto you” part. But
that’s not the focus. Jesus is simply saying: “Get your priorities
straight!” “Don’t worry about anything, I’ll take care of you.” “Don’t
be like the people of who are building their own kingdoms and living in
the kingdom of this world. Don’t be like them. Live in my kingdom!”
So, how do we get better at putting God first?
Who/What are you worshiping?
Our word worship comes from the Old English word worthship, which means
“to attribute worth.” What does your life attribute worth to?
What do you value in your heart of hearts?
Who/What are you serving? Everybody serves something even if it’s your self?
Who are you living for? Who are you living to please?
Committed Christ-followers seek to honor God in every way. We’re not
always successful, of course, but we never stop trying. In fact, we
keep trying to get better and better at it.
Living the Kingdom of God is a journey
We’ve been talking about the Way of Christ, and how it is a journey.
I’ve thought about that this week as we traveled to and from Fort
- Expect delays (leave the timing in God’s hands)
- Sometimes (many times?) things don’t go as you planned, and sometimes you stuck in the terminal
- Expect turbulence (trust God)
- Travel light (Hebrews 12.1)
- Travel with friends
Are you on the journey?
Are you living the kingdom of God here and now? And, if you’re following Jesus, are you fully committed this journey?
When I think of commitment, I think about a lot of people in the
Scriptures. One person is Daniel. Daniel was incredibly blessed by God
and gained a lot of influence in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. So much so
that the other leaders were jealous and wanted to destroy Daniel. They
determined that the best way to trap him was to restrict prayer to
anyone except the king for a period of 30 days. The penalty was death
in the lions’ den.
I love what the Scriptures say about Daniel’s response: “But when
Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt
down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward
Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done,
giving thanks to his God.” (Daniel 6.10)
Yeah, it got him in trouble, and God miraculously protected him from the lions. But what commitment!
Jesus said, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9.62)
May God help us to keep our eyes on the horizon ahead of us and keep moving forward on the journey!