Are Church services really the best model?
What is it like living in God’s Kingdom?
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In the last set of articles we discussed how to live Hebraically, by getting our relationships right with God and with each other. With that sorted, the next consideration is how do we think Hebraically, how do we reflect God within us? Are our thoughts centred on Him? By concentrating on God’s desire for us, rather than our needs, surely we must have sufficient faith to believe that our Heavenly Father will always look after us. So why aren’t more of us living by faith, living from day to day without liquid assets or a set income?
Well, easier said than done, because our society conditions us to a view of work heavily influenced by Greek thinking. It’s the way the World works – an employee enters a contract with an employer to give of his time, skills and talents in return for money, in the form of wages. It’s a convenient arrangement, it makes sense and it works. But not in every case ...
Once you have become a new creation you enter a new kingdom, God’s Kingdom. It’s a wonderful place, full of blessings and promises, but a different place.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)
Just as the Word of God, the Bible, is a document best viewed through Hebraic eyes (more of this in the next set of articles), the operation of God’s Kingdom is best understood Hebraically, too.
What this means is that we can’t just flit between both Kingdoms and expect them to operate in the same way. And this very much includes the ways by which God provides for His people.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3: 23-24)
What this means in practical terms is that the Kingdom of God is not arranged logically, rationally, linearly ... these are all Greek principles, all very predictable and orderly but our God is far bigger than this. If God wants us to live the World’s way, being rewarded with a day’s wages for a day’s work, that is fine. If God wants us to live in total reliance on Him, living by faith, then that’s fine too. Also fine is any point in between these two positions. The key is to be where God wants us to be. And where He wants you to be is not necessarily where He wants me to be.
Living in God’s Kingdom is an adventure and although God may plot safe routes through it for some people, to others He gives the grace to ride the rapids, to operate a little more dangerously. He will not impose Himself on us in any way that makes us uncomfortable. He will not take us beyond where we are able to go and, believe me, He knows us individually better than we know ourselves.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. (Psalm 139:1-4)
I know folk who live by faith, in fact one of my earliest introductions to Christians was to a husband and wife, John and Judy, who had just emigrated to Israel, living in Eilat, where I met them. I was on a “search for meaning” but they had found it. They took me in for a few days, in which time I was shown what living supernaturally was all about, as they never had two farthings to rub together, yet had a place to stay and the money to live by came on a day-by-day basis, through prayer and total faith in the expectation of God’s provisions for them. Twenty five years later I met Judy again at a writer’s course in London. She and her husband have been running a Christian hostel in Eilat and she was in the UK promoting her new book, Walk the Land.
My own experience is that God has always provided for us when we needed Him to. That seems to be a sound Biblical principle, when we recall the Children of Israel in the wilderness, with the manna provided supernaturally daily for them to eat.
This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.' " The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. (Exodus 16:16-20)
Projecting this to the current day, although it may take a whole lotta faith on our part to live daily or even weekly in expectation of God meeting our exact needs, it does keep us focussed on Him on a continual basis, which is good for our souls, if not for our nerves! It helps us to see everything as a blessing, it makes us more thankful to God, the real provider of our needs, rather than the “middle-man”, your employer, who is simply the channel through whom God chose to work in your case.
Most of us Christians live our lives cut off from the true Source of all of our blessings. We live by supermarket opening hours, rather than by the success of this year’s harvest or by the availability and well-being of livestock. Our daily needs come by monthly bank transfer not by daily prayer.
Rather than plead with individual Christians for the odd bit of cash, some ministries would surely be blessed more simply by asking God and expecting Him to act.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
And if He doesn’t, ask Him why not.
For the next article in this series, click here.
For the previous article in this series, click here.
You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.
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