Ordained

“Ugh, Monday again. Just gotta make it through today.” I overheard yet another person make yet another comment about trudging through yet another Monday.  I felt a check in my spirit.  Recent comments and conversations began replaying through my head, all filled with the tones of personal anxiety, need, or general disdain for doing any of the ordinary, daily activities required by life.

“How are you?”

“Tired.” “Busy.” “I’m not feeling very good.” “If I could just get through.” “I need more time/better health/more money.”  “Wish it was summer/vacation/Friday/weekend/insert anything other than here here.”

I think the sad thing is that I hear these things from believers.  Born-again, Spirit-filled, walking free from their past sins believers.  I hear them from me, too.

John Lund/Riser/Getty Images

John Lund/Riser/Getty Images

I guess the question I began to ask myself is, Why are Christians sometimes the most defeated people?  That’s not what the Word says we are: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Have you acknowledged your ordination yet?  It is time we, as Christians, recognize that we are ordained by God to be His priests and ministers of the Gospel.  We are called to live as Jesus lived, which means everyday is an opportunity to heal the sick, set the captives free, and proclaim the year of jubilee.  We must break free from the mentality (or, more aptly, spiritual condition) that makes the only ministry we see that which we need.  We claim our Savior, yet live as ones destitute, hungry and naked from spiritual impoverishment.  “Pray for me,” we beg, yet we ignore the dying all around us, too distracted by our own needs to have the heart for another’s.

Every day is a gift.  And while that is a cliche, it doesn’t make it untrue.

Yes, we all have needs from time to time, and God wants to meet your needs.  But it is our faith that looks at those needs in our lives, declares, “His grace is sufficient,” and pushes through to live as a son of God, without hindrances, moving in the authority granted us in Him.  Satan would love to keep you too bound in your own impoverished state to do damage to the Kingdom.  But isn’t it time we awoke from our state of stupor, stepped beyond our immediate comforts, and looked at the Kingdom, with its fields ripe with harvest. Beloved, are you His?  Are you a new creation, with the DNA of Christ in your being?  If so, you are ordained into the priesthood.  Put on your habit, the clothing of Christ.  Walk in each moment with the intention of the Kingdom.

How do we do that?  Wake up every morning with the prayer that God would show you your calling for that day.  Do you have errands to run?  Pray to meet someone who needs the Gospel.  Working in a cubicle?  Have a God conversation with your neighbor.  Cooped up in a house with three preschoolers?  Put on the worship music and let the Spirit of God invade your home and their little hearts.

Beloved, it is a choice we must make every morning to advance the Kingdom.  We must put on Christ daily and choose to find ways to turn each day into a mission. With mission comes joy, purpose, and the fulfilled promises of God in your own life.  I charge you, me, to embrace Monday, the grocery store, the cubicle, and even the illness that sends us to a doctor; it is in those places we take the Kingdom by force.

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The Kingdom

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. – Matthew 11:12 (NKJV)

The above scripture has always been a source of confusion for me: Who are “the violent”? Demons? Angels? Believers? Everything I knew about the character of God seemed to contradict violence. My Jesus is the “turn the other cheek” savior, the one who rides into Jerusalem on a donkey and wears a crown of thorns. Could He really be the one to promote aggression?

Through this semester in School of Leaders, I have discovered that the Kingdom of God is one of contractions. As Misty Edwards puts it in one of her songs, it is, “The inside, outside, upside-down Kingdom, where you lose to gain, and you die to live.” Jesus taught about the Kingdom as something which appears humble and insignificant at first, but becomes powerful and life-giving. Jesus Himself is a picture of the Kingdom: born into a humble family, living a life of service, dying a criminal’s death. Yet it is through His service and His suffering that we see His strength. Only an unwavering faith can produce powerful humility, which heals with a word or a touch, causes repentance in the fool-hardy, and brings life where the was death. This is the Kingdom: the present and future manifestation of the reign of Christ; where the “violent” are the unassuming followers of Christ, and the “force” they wield is a faith which moves mountains and compels the most hard-hearted to take notice.

As I have journaled through the last semester, the question I was faced with was not, “How do I advance the Kingdom daily?” but, “Do I advance the Kingdom daily?” I found it difficult to answer that question in the affirmative for the first few weeks. Almost daily, I am privy to stories from my husband about meeting people on the job, witnessing to them, praying for them. Still finding my footing as a stay-at-home mother, I spend most of my days cleaning, meal-planning, toddler-chasing, and doing other administrative tasks which tend to fall into my lap. I do not have much contact with people and, when I do, I have to spend most of my attention on my rambunctious child. I do not have the great stories that others do, and many days I do not even get the chance to pursue them.

I began to ask God to show me how, where, when I could serve Him. I was reminded of the word I received about leaving my job – God was telling me to make myself available to Him, not just for my son (although that is a huge part of it), but to whatever else He called me. I took an inventory of everything in my days, beginning with my son. Every day I pray over him, worship with him, and expose him to the things of God. If nothing else ever came out of my life, what I pour into my son will be a testimony that will live after me.

Next came the environment I create for my husband. He is going through one of the most challenging times in his life, but it is one which will change everything for him. The menial tasks I do to take care of him, from laundry to paper-editing, help him to focus and be productive daily, which will in turn contribute to his success and future endeavors. I am doing what God commands for the wife: to be a helpmate, assisting him on his calling.

Last, I looked at the things I experience in ministry. Most of the things I do seem insignificant: a couple of hours at the House of Prayer every week, meeting with some mentees at my kitchen table, spending hours on a computer revising documents and e-mailing countless people, and preparing Sunday morning lessons which may or may not go according to plan. But, the Kingdom is such as these. God began to show me that every prayer, encouragement, and task creates a ripple in the Kingdom, and fruit I may never see.

I may not have daily divine appointments in the traditional sense, but I have found that, if I am paying attention, I always have a divine assignment. They are usually humble and unnoticed, but the Kingdom is such as these. When I walk in obedience, I walk lock-step in with those in the Body of Christ, forming a Kingdom which is constantly advancing. God is not asking us to change the world by ourselves, but to move when He tells us, where He tells us, and in doing so, we together change everything. It is the upside-down Kingdom, where strength is found in submission, love, and faith, not control or brute. The beautiful thing is that He who is the suffering servant, born in obscurity and dying a criminal’s death, He is the One who receives the glory. After all, He is the One who is worthy of it.