Kingdom Living

Kingdom inside-minded

Matthew 21:20-22 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Jesus was teaching His disciples an important principle in kingdom living in this portion of scripture. It is walking and acting in faith. He showed them first by taking authority over the barrenness of the fig tree. He was hungry when he came upon the fig tree and it did not have fruit when it should have. On a fig tree the fruit is first formed, and then the leaves appear; so if he came upon the tree with leaves the fruit should already be there. This tree had the leaves but no fruit. We would say it was an impostor, or a pretender, a hypocrite because it played the part of a fruit bearing tree. Jesus cursed it and caused it to wither up and die by the words that He spoke in authority, believing that what he said would be done.

Don't look for God in the sky

Kingdom living is taking the kingdom of God that is within you out into the world where you live. Jesus told the Pharisees in Luke 17:20-21 that they wouldn’t be able to see the kingdom of God in a type of world system because the kingdom of God is within people. He lives within believers in Christ Jesus and sets up His kingdom rule within their hearts.

Luke 17:20-21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; “nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

They were used to a King ruling in the kingdom that he had established through the world systems. But God’s kingdom is not established through a worldly way of living, it is a spiritual kingdom that operates on spiritual principles. In Matthew 21:18, 19 when Jesus cursed the fig tree He was demonstrating how the kingdom of God works in the lives of God’s people. It works through believing and speaking in faith what God has established as a truth in His word regarding kingdom living. Jesus went on to say that the same principle that caused the fig tree to be withered up and die, speaking in faith, believing that what you say will be done, can be used in prayer as well.

Matthew 21:21 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Jesus further elaborated on this same principle in Mark 11:20-24:

Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

Jesus cursed the fig tree through the words that He spoke to it. And it dried up from the roots. That shows the weight of our words. They are containers of power and when used properly will establish and produce kingdom results. But Jesus said the words that produce results are words that are spoken or prayed in faith, believing and not doubting that what you have said will come to pass, or come into manifestation. By kingdom principles, faith, when spoken out of our mouths, whether through confession, declaration or prayer, produces the desired results.

Matthew 21 22

Looking at kingdom praying, let’s go back to Matthew 21:22. Jesus said “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Ask – Greek word aiteo means to to request or petition with the definition of the word denoting insistent asking without qualms, not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute. . The word usually describes a suppliant making request of someone in higher position, such as an individual asking something from God, a subject from a king, a child from a parent, or a beggar from a person of substance.

What this definition brings to my mind is of a person requesting a withdrawal from their bank account. The account-holder, or the one praying, comes before the person in charge of the account, which spiritually speaking would be God, and makes a request to withdraw something from that account. A bank account is termed as a demand deposit account. So when you write a check or request funds from that account you are making a demand on the deposit that is within that account. Likewise, as citizens of heaven, we have a heavenly account with God that was purchased through the blood of Jesus and everything that is provided through our covenant with God made ours through accepting Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord is now in our account that God has for each one of us. We have an account in heaven through the blood of Jesus that provides for our every need. It is described in God’s word and if you don’t know what is in your account you can’t place a demand on that account, or through prayer to ask for what is rightfully yours.

Paul talks about God supplying all of our needs according to, or in a manner consistent with, His riches in glory by Christ Jesus in Philippians 4:19:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Our needs are supplied through what Jesus died to give us when he was crucified for our sin, sickness, and poverty. Kingdom living places a demand on what is laid up for us through His sacrifice and makes it ours through our faith in believing that what He has already died to provide is ours as we confess it, declare it and ask for it in prayer.

Just before Paul made the statement that God would supply all our need he spoke of the fruit that is stored up in our account.

Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

One of our kingdom principles for living is supporting the gospel as it is preached around the world through God’s messengers. Paul was one of God’s messengers and the Philippians were sending support to him for his daily needs. Paul was saying here that he wasn’t as interested in them supplying his needs as he was in seeing the fruit that was laid up in their account through which God was using to supply their needs. Their needs were supplied through God’s provision from what Jesus provided for them on the cross of Calvary and was accessed through their relationship with Him!

We come to the Father through our relationship with Jesus. As we live out God’s kingdom principles it is done through faith believing that as God’s ambassadors in this earth we have His authority to speak out His word and to pray, in faith, believing that God will hear and answer our requests. We ask based on His word to us that if we pray according to His will He will hear us and provide the requests that we have asked of Him.

1 John 5:14, 15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Immature faith tries to manipulate God through a formula of prayer, but true faith operates through knowing God’s will and applying His kingdom principles through faith, believing, praying and speaking forth God’s word into life’s situations.

Confidence – Greek word parrhesia means outspokenness, unreserved utterance, freedom of speech, with frankness, candor, cheerful courage, and the opposite of cowardice, timidity, or fear.

Parrhesia, or confidence is a boldness that comes before God in prayer knowing that if we ask, or make petition of Him regarding anything in His will, that He will hear and give us the petitions that we have asked of Him. So, successful kingdom living requires that when we pray, in order to have that type of boldness to come before the Father making requests of Him from our kingdom account that was purchased through the blood of Jesus, that we need to know what He purchased for us!

Do you know all that Jesus died to give you? When you come before the Father in prayer, can you do so boldly, with confidence, being assured that you are praying according to His will? Some parts of our covenant are clearly presented through God’s word and some things that we ask for in prayer we must seek His will about before we can boldly request from Him what we feel He wants to give us from our heavenly account. The way to understand how to pray according to His will is to get into His word and find out what belongs to you as a Child of the King. Study what He provided for you on the cross when Jesus took your place so that you could have all that He died to give you.

Kingdom living requires faith, boldness, confidence in speaking life into dead places and requesting of the Father what He longs to give you if you will just come to Him in faith, believing that what you ask you will receive.

Father, I thank You for the privilege of prayer that is ours through our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is through His blood that was shed for us on the cross of Calvary that we can come boldly before Your throne of grace to obtain mercy and help in our time of need. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for purchasing all that we have need of on the cross! Thank You for dying for us that we might live through You. Father, I come before You this morning in the name of Jesus, meaning that I am standing in that place of acceptance in Him that gives me the right to make petition of You, based on the covenant that He has purchased for me. I ask You to open the eyes of our understanding that we might see the provision that You have made available to us through the kingdom principles that You have set forth in Your word. I ask You to grant us wisdom and direction in our everyday living that we might live according to Your kingdom principles effecting change through the words that we speak into situations in our lives as well as the prayers that we pray for Your intervention in our lives and the lives of those that we bring before You. May we fully understand what You have provided for us through the covenant that Jesus purchased with His very own sinless blood. Thank You, Father, for hearing the requests that I have made of You this morning. Thank You for supplying the needs of Your people, Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Human “Being” or Human “Doing”?

Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

 

We are human “beings”, not human “doings”. Martha was distracted from “being” by her need to be “doing” something. She wanted to please the Lord, to make Him welcome in her home and comfortable at her table, and there is nothing wrong with that, but there had become an imbalance in her relationship with the Lord versus her serving Him. She had become distracted and had lost her focus on what was the most important in her life. Jesus pointed out that her problem was not that she had too much to do but that she was troubled and worried and that caused her to try to over-compensate by doing. Mary, on the other hand, had learned the secret of “being”. She chose relationship over service. She knew the value of being close to the Lord, of listening to His voice and following His directions. Jesus commended her for choosing that good part of life; that which could not be taken away from her.

 

Worried – Greek word merimnao – means “to divide into parts”. The word suggests a distraction, a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress, and pressure.

 

Have you ever been distracted from your focus on the Lord because of being worried about something? Martha’s need to do something for the Lord caused her to be worried, distracted, divided in her devotion to the Lord. Sometimes the need to “work for the Lord” takes precedence over “being with the Lord” and we get off balance, out of spiritual kilter, so to speak. Martha had reached that place of imbalance; she had run off into the ditch of “works”.

 

This morning as I was walking…..and praying, the Lord gave me a picture of me up in His lap resting my head on His chest, totally enveloped in His arms, being jostled up and down on His knees, just being a child in her Daddy’s arms. What a relaxing, restful picture that was. Peace washed over me and the thought of everything that I had to “do” faded out of the picture. He reminded me of the scripture in Mark 10:13-15:

 

Then they brought the little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

 

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like little children coming in total dependence upon their Father. He wants us to come to Him as little children, being who we are, not striving to work to gain His attention or love. He loves us because He is love! He can’t do anything but love us and nothing we can do or not do will change His love for us. We are His children!

 

As a parent I love for my children to call me or come to spend time with me. That happens less and less since I live some distance from them, and I feel left out of their lives if they don’t communicate with me. Imagine how God feels, as a parent, when we don’t spend time with Him. We become so busy with the details of life, and trying to run the universe on our own so we can work for Jesus, that we fail to come into His presence and just “be” with Him.

 

Matthew 18:1-5 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”

 

We can’t even begin to see what God has in store for us in His kingdom without humbling ourselves as little children and being being born again, thus establishing a relationship with Him. All the work that we do for Him does not even compare with the greatness that we have as His children! We can never work enough to earn God’s love and favor, or a place in His kingdom. It is ours for just being His children. We are the greatest in His kingdom, not because of some work that we do for Him, but simply because we are His children! He places all of us on the same level playing field. Our stance in His eyes is simply that of being a child.

 

Are you trying to please God through works? Has your “doing” taken the place of your “being”? Do you get so busy with your day that you forget to come to the Lord for strength and direction? All of these are indications that life has become out of balance and needs an adjustment to bring things back into their proper places. But it’s a simple adjustment; simply a tweaking of priorities!

 

Father, I thank You that You love us even when we become out of balance. Thank You for making the way possible for us to come back to You. Please forgive us for getting caught up in “doing” things for You instead of “being” with You. Help us to prioritize our relationship with You and choose that best part like Mary did. Bring us back into balance, Lord. Help us to give You the best of our time, our life and our abilities. As we yield ourselves to You, Father, please show us the important things that you would have us do and how to discard the unimportant things. Open our eyes to see what You see that is important. Give us Your vision, Oh Lord! Thank You, Father, for forgiving us for our failures and weaknesses, and for restoring us to a right relationship with You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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