Posted: 11/28/2008 at 12:10pm
Thriving in a Difficult Season of Change
By Ron McGatlin
Is it really possible to not only endure but thrive through times of extreme personal and worldwide change? As world systems crumble and life-long situations are abruptly changing, how can it be possible to not be weighed down with concern?
It may depend largely on where we are connected. Let me explain. If our life is connected to the past and dependent on how things were, we will not continue to prosper when that to which we are connected crumbles or fades away. Lives that are connected to the natural world though the passing secular and religious systems will not thrive in the time of severe shaking.
Heb 12:26-28: Whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven. Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
History emphatically teaches us that all worldly kingdoms are temporal. Any man-made worldly system that we are connected to and dependent upon is subject to major changes and even disappearing. When that to which we are connected is failing, we will not thrive but languish.
Only the spiritual kingdom of God is forever and never fails. Connecting to the unchanging kingdom of God assures us the potential to thrive even while worldly kingdoms are failing.
Those who have severed their connections to secular and religious systems and are connected into the everlasting spiritual kingdom of God will thrive. The bright light of heaven will shine within them and from them. They will be a part of bringing intense spiritual awakenings to many people. The living presence of God in their lives will draw out and rescue many that are perishing without hope. Once translated into the kingdom they too can thrive as sons of God.
Many who have trusted in fallen-world systems will be without hope clinging to pieces of the crumbling old systems. Some will begin searching for real life – searching for a solid foundation in a fluid world. Many will then be given ears to hear the real gospel of the kingdom of heaven on earth. They will turn from their old ways and come to Jesus with their whole hearts to be set free by the powerful presence of God. The effects or results of their ungodly living that had been passed down to them from their forefather’s will be severed as they are adopted into a new heritage of their heavenly Father in the kingdom of the Son of His love.
Col 1:13: He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
Gal 4:4-7: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Rom 8:14-:15: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
Changing Our Connection
For some of us this may seem impossible or unreasonable. The past systems may have been good and served us well. Our connection to secular and religious systems has been our lifeline and the key to our thriving in the world as it existed at the time. Looking to a spiritual kingdom may seem nebulous and uncertain after abiding so long connected into worldly kingdoms. Walking and living in the Spirit may not seem as solid or as real as walking in the secular and religious past. Real faith is required to be fully translated from the kingdom of this world into the spiritual kingdom of God.
We are not talking about an abstract pseudo “faith” or fantasy coping concepts to fill our minds with unreal dreamy expectations. We are speaking of a victorious faith supernaturally empowered by the Spirit of the One for Whom and by Whom all things were created and continue to consist. Real faith is anchored in intimately knowing and being known of Christ Jesus as mature sons and heirs of God in Christ.
Everyone has faith in something. We have been trained to have faith in our abilities and in the systems of the fallen world. We have faith in higher education to make us more successful. The fallen world systems taught us to trust in money and accumulated wealth. You can know what kingdom you are connected in by how your time and effort is spent. Most people spend years getting an education to be able to have more money and what it can buy. However, they spend very little time in seeking spiritual truth. For most people seeking pleasure and entertainment far exceeds the time and effort spent in seeking the spiritual things of God and godly living.
To change our connection we must change what we are seeking in life. Sadly the secular world has taught us that spiritual matters were mostly irrelevant to practical life. While religion taught many that seeking spiritual things was for the primary purpose of securing heaven after death. Little consideration has been given to seeking spiritual matters for ordering this life. For most people secular or natural things have been the primary if not the only considerations for preparing for and living this life. Religious things were usually only added in as a small part of one’s life, if at all. The people of the world have connected fully into the secular/natural reality and for the most part ignored the far greater and more important spiritual reality of God and His kingdom.
This backward self-seeking life focus characterized by need, greed, lust, and pride is the cause of worldwide economic, ecological, and political failures. The failure of the secular and religious systems will cause many people to become desperate for a different way of life. The door will be wide open for many to seek new life in the kingdom of God.
Mat 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
I suspect the greatest spiritual awakening ever may be before us as the light of the real gospel of the kingdom flowing through the powerful presence of God penetrates the darkness of the hearts of men and intervenes in world affairs. A new genuineness will come to the people of God as persecution and difficult times expose the shallowness of life based on the past secular and religious systems.
The major purpose of spiritual awakenings and revivals is more than getting people born again and more than getting them into a church and more than teaching them the Bible. The real purpose of revival and spiritual awakening is the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Revival is to lead to kingdom living now in this life, developing pure holy mature sons of God to rule and reign with Christ. The end of this matter is the return of the kingdoms of this earth to the kingdoms of our God and Christ Jesus preeminent in all things.
Recognizing Kingdom Values
Kingdom values are usually the opposite of fallen-world secular values and different from religious church system values. Stated in brief and general terms some kingdom value changes are: faith instead of fear and worry, giving instead of taking, forgiving and blessing instead of resenting and retaliating, selflessness instead of selfishness, serving instead of being served, sense of always having enough instead of a sense of need, peace and joy instead of strife and depression, rest instead of unrest, focus on heaven's ways coming to earth instead of going to heaven some day, focus on spiritual reality instead of natural: in general, God-seeking instead of self-seeking and walking in the Spirit instead of the flesh or intellect.
These are just some values that will shift in people who are connected into the kingdom of God and freed of the systems of this fallen world. All of the attributes of God are potentially available through Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit to all mature sons of the kingdom of Christ.
Some Basic Lifestyle Changes
Family and extended family will grow more closely knit instead of widely scattered and individualistic. The kingdom family will be God-focused and led by the Holy Spirit. Family worship, prayer, and family interaction will replace television, video games, and other forms of empty entertainment. Community will develop among neighbors who trust and pray with one another. Community families will not just look out for themselves but will care for one another. Competition will be changed to cooperation.
Fathers will return to protecting and providing strength and encouragement for their children. Irresponsible and random bringing children into the world or worse disposing of unborn babies will stop. The kingdom norm will be one man and one woman working together with extended family and neighbors to raise godly children and protect them from the devastating wayward lifestyle that many of the past generation grew up with. Joy will be abundant within families walking with God that is not dependant on external situations or circumstances. Children’s hearts will be insulated from devastating stress by the loving presence of God. Adversity will be about, but the solid foundation of a loving family in God’s presence will keep us during the times of difficulty.
There is much more that will change, but these are some examples of thriving in a season of difficult changes.
Isa 26:3: You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Col 3:2-3: Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col 3:5-14: Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom that changes the world.
The short version is that the kingdom of God works by love – the pure holy love of God in His people through Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Keep on pursuing love.
It never fails.
Edited by Ron McGatlin on 06/02/2010 at 6:01pm