Regular Catch readers are well aware of how much I dislike baseball, and yet my husband loves it, so if I am going to love him, I need to pay attention to what he likes. This kind of bending instead of bickering is required in all relationships because we are all so different. We are never going to pair up with someone just like us; in fact, we are most often attracted to our opposite. People almost always marry their flip side.
The disciples all had unique personalities. Like you and me, their personalities could both drive them crazy and at the same time endear them to each other. In this, they remind us so much of ourselves. There was among the disciples, the controversial, loud and brassy, Peter who, like me, had his foot in his mouth most of the time. Then there were James and John referenced by Jesus as the “Sons of Thunder,” because they lost their temper easily and were ambitious and fiery. And then there was Philip, the quiet, deep, and rather mousey man who hung around in the background all the time, but probably was the most advanced in the lessons of faith, and likely the one who would understand all that was underneath the very dramatic surface phenomena the others were experiencing every day. Today, Philip might be a geek. The kingdom of God brings all these diverse people together. It overcomes.
Once the kingdom of God is in place in our closest relationships, it is bound to expand, as the kingdom of God is always expansive, never regressive. With the kingdom of God in place in our homes and in our marriages it is bound to expand to our children, our neighbors, our community, and our places of work. I do not think it can operate in the reverse. A ministry outside the home is not going to trickle down into the home. Rather it is a matter of light increasing and darkness decreasing, beginning with those closest to us and working out. The key is to bring the kingdom of God to these relationships first, bless them, embrace them, and bear the power of God on the areas that require miracles, as in our differences and our disappointments. The point is to always be moving forward and moving out.
Jesus is always telling us to “Go out.” That means: Go out beyond yourselves and stop looking the other way. Go out, and when there is an obvious need for extraordinary power, operate on the power I, the Lord, give you. Go out after the destiny I have created for you that is greater and better than your present circumstances. Go out and connect with my vision — connect to my assignment for you. (My paraphrase, obviously.)
Lets look at the assignment Jesus gave 70 of His followers:
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them,“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:1-3)
Jesus sent out an advance team. He had a plan for reaching the local communities in which He traveled. We have a plan, too.
When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:8-9)
We are the kingdom of God. Wherever we are, the kingdom of God goes. The kingdom of God is where we are aware of God and what He is doing, and are ourselves a part of that, all the time. There is no off season for the kingdom of God. No winter ball somewhere else. We are the functioning part of the kingdom of God on earth.
We can no longer let our circumstances keep us from seeing God’s purpose for our lives. We can no longer be people that allow our homes to be “kingdom-less.” We are the kingdom. Wherever we go, whatever we do — even when we blow it — we bring an awareness of God and His purposes (in spite of us) to everything. He wants the world to see how we react to our mistakes. You see, there’s nothing exempt from the kingdom once you are in it. Out in the world, we are lambs among wolves. But as the late Bob Briner wrote, that doesn’t mean we can’t be roaring lambs.
We believe the enemy’s camp can and should be overrun, the goods looted, and the former captives trained to go out and bring liberation to people in other camps until at last they are free themselves. This is what I want — to reclaim over and over again that the kingdom of God has come, beginning first with my marriage and never letting circumstances prevent me from seeing and acting in God’s purpose for my life.
Join, embrace, improve, go deep, and when miracles arise, give praise to the Lord — His kingdom come.