by John Garfield, BKC DIRECTOR OF kINGDOM aDVANCEMENT
Much is shifting in the Kingdom right now, with many practical ramifications in every mountain of our cultures. It is spring in America, a season for new beginnings. At a personal level, servants who have emphasized discipline and obedience are being invited to become friends and transition into God’s Kingdom with passion and participation. We are no longer imitations of Jesus, we are His incarnations.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Phil 2:12-13 NIV
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Eph 3:20 NIV
What does it feel like? – Let’s contrast the old with the new. In the first century, Gnosticism or dualism was a false doctrine that taught, “everything spiritual is good and everything in the natural is bad.” Material possessions, wealth, sex, culture, etc. were thought to be nothing more than carnal expressions of our sinful, fleshly nature. This denial of self naturally led to asceticism: monastic orders that withdrew from society with vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience… all the remnants of a religious spirit that is still prevalent today. Can you see how rapture theology fits this line of deception?
A real relationship with Jesus has a focus on the Kingdom: 1) instead of celibacy, it’s loving relationships and passionate engagement in our culture; 2) instead of poverty is the realization that wealth is a valuable tool that follows Kingdom purpose (Mt 6:33); and 3) obedience alone, no longer describes spiritual maturity, discipline is no substitute for a passionate heart… Jesus calls us friends instead of servants. Servants obey rules, friends are not afraid to ask for the desires of their hearts. They are naturally passionate about the King and about the Kingdom.
Passion – The religious spirit that prides itself in obedience and discipline has roots in a vow of presumption. We all have two experiences in our relationship with Jesus. We rightfully start as servants who learn to obey. In the course of maturing, we have all felt the pain of presumption: we stepped out in our own initiative and found out it wasn’t God at all. Then we reaped the consequence of self-will, repented and vowed never to step out in our own initiative again. That vow has to be undone if we want to become Jesus’ friend and inherit our land. What changes with maturity is that hearts now carry the same desires in our Father’s heart. The Father is asking every Kingdom believer one question right now; “What would you have me to do for you.” That’s the question God asked Solomon in a dream (1Kings 3:5), Elisha asked the widow (2 Kings 42), Jesus asked the blind beggar (Lu 18:41) and the lame man (Jn 5:6), and it’s the same question Jesus is asking you and me (Jn 14:12-14, Jn 15:7-8, John 15:15-17, Jn 15:23-24).
If we need a “command” to enter the Kingdom it’s this: “Ask for the desires of your heart,” because God wrote them there (Heb 8:10, 10:16, Jer 31:33). It’s like a litmus test for the religious spirit. Servants cannot ask for their own desires, but friends can. We are sons who live in a house with a Father who owns everything…. Or better yet, our Father has taken up residence in our house!
I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. Ps 40:6 NIV
This kingly boldness and initiative in the friends of Jesus to ask for “whatsoever” has some practical roots in our relationship with Jesus:
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 NIV
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Eph 1:17-19 NIV
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Prov 25:2
But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. Deut 8:18 NIV
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen 12:2-3 NIV
Passion is the place in our hearts where obedience and freedom come together. Passion loves God with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our mind. Maturity moves us from serving God with our head to co-laboring with Him out of the passion of our heart. The first is religion and rules; the second is Kingdom and dreams coming true.
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