How to live your life Kingdom first part 1

This will be the first of many posts on how to live your life kingdom first. This is a journey for all of us, and just like you, I have yet to arrive. Let us be thankful we have a good, loving Father who is full of patience, grace, and favor toward His kids. With so many theological arguments out there, and thoughts about what’s most important, I just want to know God, His ways, and how I should live this life for Him. I believe the Lord revealed this series to me because He knows my Heart for it, and He knows my heart for you.

Most of you that read this blog know that number one we should love God with every part of our being, and seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness. I have already written several things that give us some practical things we can do to put Him first, such as not being autonomous in our life plan, but allowing His plan for us to be our plan.

But outside of this number one thing, how do I live my life kingdom first? What should I be doing in practical terms? Over the next several posts, I am going to present 6 other practical things we can do. In my thoughts, it is out of doing these things that your individual gifts begin to flow out of you.

So much is written and talked about in things such as eschatology, finances, authority, how to interpret, and so on. That is fine, and I like some of those conversations; however, it seems to me that so much of what God is trying to get through to us is our own internal transformation through Christ, and how we treat and deal with other people.

If loving God, and putting Him first is number 1, then the second thing we can do is to love other people.

The commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples in an intimate moment was to love each other as He loved them, and that this love is what would prove to the world that they were His followers. In John chapters 13 and 15, He gave them this command three different times.

In Romans 13:8-10 we see that it is an obligation to love others, that love does no wrong to others, and so it fulfills all requirements. If you love other people you will want to take the gifts that God put in you, and give them to others. This is why I say that your gifts will begin to flow in doing these things.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:12 we see Paul out of his own great love for these people ask the Lord to make their love for each other, and for all people not only grow, but even overflow. In chapter 4 he tells them he really doesn’t even need to tell them to love each other because they already do as the Lord Himself has taught them, but even then he urges them to love even more.

In 1 Peter 3:8 we see that we should love each other like siblings, and be compassionate towards others while at the same time being humble ourselves. Then in chapter 4:8 he tells them that most importantly they should continue to love each other deeply as love covers all.

In 1 John 3:11 we see that the message from the very beginning was that we should love one another. It says this same thing in 2 John verses 5 and 6.

In 1 John 4:7-12 we see that love is from God, that we should love others, and that this is what proves we Know God. If God loves us as much as He does, then we ought to love others. It goes on to say that if we will love others then His love will be perfected in us.

So this not only speaks to how we treat other people, but also our own internal transformation in becoming more like Christ. Loving other people perfects things within ourselves.

It is His command to us, it is evidence that we know Him, it lets the world know that we are His, it fulfills all, and it covers all.

If you want to live a kingdom first life, love others. Even if it is hard. Love covers all including you, for example, if you choose to love rather than hold a grudge, your own soul (mind, will, and emotions) will remain healthy.

Live your life kingdom first!

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

The fruit of your salvation

Paul makes a couple of simple statements in Philippians chapter 1 that are a great reminder for us as Christians.

We should strive to grow in knowledge and understanding so that we understand what really matters most in order to live pure, and blameless lives. The thing that matters most is that we let our love overflow more and more.

He also reminds the Philippians to remain filled with the fruit of their salvation which is the righteous character produced in your life by Christ. This is what brings glory, honor, and praise to God.

The fruit of your salvation is your righteous character, and the biggest evidence of that character is how you treat other people. Is love spilling out of you? The opposite of love is fear. As people we generally treat people inappropriately when we are afraid of them in some way. Perfect love casts out all fear.

Let your love flow without fear, and let your righteous character shine!

God is for you, and I am for you. Let there be no fear in you.

It’s not complicated…

As Christians, it seems that we tend to make living a fulfilling christian life a deep, and unobtainable theological mystery. This seems to cause people to act like someone they are not, try to modify their behavior, and measure up to the standard status quo.

I would like to make this argument….It’s not complicated.

I think it can be simplified down to the two commands of Christ…Love God with every aspect of your being, and love others as Christ has loved you.

Out of the first command we love God with all of our being. We follow Jesus, we are transformed by Jesus, empowered by Jesus, view the world through Jesus, interpret scripture through Jesus, etc, and understand as 1 John 3 says that love was the message from the beginning.

Out of the second command we love others as He loves us. I think this produces 6 primary things we should do to live the Christian life….

Love one another, Encourage one another, humbly serve one another, accept one another, greet one another with love/excitement/joy, and Do not be evil towards one another.

There are no less than 59 “one another” statements in the New Testament.

It’s not complicated……Love God, and love people.

 

Important question regarding your spiritual, mental, and emotional health

The question is this….

Why would you be more loyal to people who ignore, degrade, or devalue you than to the people who acknowledge, enhance, and celebrate you?

Common reasoning….They are my family, I have known them my whole life, I grew up with them etc.

Family loves, encourages, celebrates, respects, and honors you. The people that do not do these things are not your family. This does not mean you can’t care for those people, but it should determine who you allow your heart to be tied to.

Don’t allow your spiritual, mental, and emotional health to be destroyed by people who devalue you.

 

Core Values

I believe everyone should know, or be seeking to know their core values. Your core values help define who you are, what you do, and what you say no to. If you have no idea where to start, here is a link to over 500 core values you can choose from.

Most core value lists are simply words, and I think that is great. However, I also feel like it is incomplete. One of the things my wife, and I have done is to agree on a definition that adds action, and emotion to our core values. I am going to share some of our core values with you, and how we defined them.

The list I will share with you today is the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. This is certainly not all of our core values, but if we are going to live a kingdom first life, I believe the fruit of the spirit better be at our core.

Love-We will lay down our own agenda out of love for our Father, and place others before ourselves. We will love others with no expectations of anything in return.

Joy-The joy of the Lord is our strength. Happiness is temporary as it is based on events. We have joy meaning sheer gladness because Holy Spirit lives in us. Our joy is not fleeting, but permanent because of His goodness.

Peace-We are free from internal struggle because we know Jesus has made us complete, and whole. We are free from external struggle because He is our source, and provider. If God is for us nothing can stand against us.

Patience-We have the capacity to wait upon the Lord, and His will. We will endure without getting angry, or upset. We also choose to exercise this same endurance when people come against us.

Kindness-We will be soft-hearted, warm-hearted, and open-hearted towards others. This internal working of Holy Spirit will be seen in our actions, and reactions towards people.

Goodness-God has made us righteous. Our goodness is His work in action. We will do what is good in the eyes of our Lord, and encourage others to do the same.

Faithfulness-We seek to prove ourselves trustworthy, and faithful to God even in spite of tremendous pressures, weaknesses, or temptations. When know that when we fail, He remains faithful.

Gentleness-We will not come with a whip, but with love and a gentle spirit. We know that no one has it all figured out, and we are all prone to weakness; therefore, we have no right to act harshly.

Self control-We seek to master, and bring our mind, will, emotions, and body under the control of Christ.

We kept our definitions short. You can make yours long, or even shorter than ours, but I challenge you to define them. Don’t use the dictionary definition to define your core values. Use your resources, but define them in a way that make them real to you.

Comment, or email and let me know if this was helpful. Which one of ours was your favorite?

Live you life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

Discipleship

I think we have a discipleship problem in America. It is my thought that one of the major issues we have is that true discipleship requires a deeper relationship than what we want to commit ourselves to. I think studying Jesus’ life shows this to be true. He had deep relationships with the 12. In a social media world of surface relationships we don’t want to connect very deep. I mean who has time for that in this culture anyway? We have to make an intentional choice to commit ourselves to Christ, and others.

Jesus said follow me and I will make you fishers of men. This one statement shows us a lot about discipleship, but for now we can just quickly and simply say follow Jesus, and He will transform you. This helps us understand what we are supposed to do. Connect people to Jesus, and support them as Jesus transforms them into who He has called them to be. That will be the perspective of this post, and several upcoming discipleship posts.

How do we disciple? There could be a lot of different answers to that question. I have a desire to be able to answer that question, or at least respond with an actual blueprint on how anyone can connect to Matthew 28:19 and go make disciples because we are all called to do it. From my experience I think there are three major stages in the process, and each stage contains three major steps. So lets look at stage 1, step 1 a little bit today which is love.

This is not just love others as yourself. Jesus said in John 15:12 “This is my command, that you love others as I have loved you.” That is a challenging statement. However, from what I’ve learned it’s pretty much impossible to go beyond the surface with someone until they feel like you love, and care about them. Love people in their victories, and defeats. When they are easy to get along with, and when they are hard to get along with. When you like their personality, and when you don’t. When they agree with you, and when they disagree with you. When they tell you what you want to hear, and when they challenge you. Etc.

People may give you their ear, and listen to what you say. They may even give you their mind, and think about what you say. However, until they feel like you love them they will not give you their heart, and take in what you say. Discipleship requires people to take things in and go through a transformation process.

Remember this isn’t about turning someone into who YOU want them to be, it is helping them become who JESUS has called them to be. I would also say you don’t have to feel like you need to disciple everyone, but you should disciple those He has given you out of this world.

Next time we will discuss stage 1, step 2.

Live your life Kingdom first! Love people!

Levi

I have to admit, I get frustrated.

It is frustrating to see people you know that call themselves followers of Christ spit venom at their brothers, sisters, and people around them because they don’t support the president that was inaugurated today in the USA. Life long learners, and proclaimers that never apply the words of Jesus in their life. We serve the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. There is no thing ever created that can separate us from Him and His love. He is our source, the current president is not our source. Do we really believe God works everything for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose? Do we really believe there will be no end to the increase of His government or of His peace? Or, are these just things we say to look, and sound the part? Some people are acting as if a person can change these things, people do not over rule our Lord.

So today I want to provide a list of a few scriptures that remind us all how to treat one another if we are going to call ourselves Christ like.

Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace.                       2 Corinthians 13:11

So encourage each other and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
 Hebrews 10:24

This is just a small sample out of the word that tells us these same things repeatedly. Let me reiterate with the words of Jesus himself, the one we say we are following.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. John 15:12

This is My command to you: Love one another. John 15:17

Let us follow the ONE commandment of our Jesus. Even if I get frustrated sometimes, I still love you all.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi