IS IT KINGDOM SUCCESS?
by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Have you ever asked someone to pray for you and then it seemed it was the worst decision you ever made? Ah ya ya! This spiritual war can be tough sometimes! There are so many different agendas out there, and each one thinks it is right! But when you look at the fruit and it's stinky, you have to sort through it to know what is right and what is not.
Sometimes we have to go to "regroup mode." Jesus said betrayals would be very common in the last days. Many can say first hand, "Don't trust a brother or a friend!" It's tough. Sometimes the agendas are not so readily seen on the surface!
Many have dropped out of churches and fellowships because the comradarie goes sour. Sour is good sometimes mixed with sweet in candy, and there is often the bittersweet in ministry but that is what drives us to minister. We have accepted the fact that not all of life is "perfect" or "ideal" for people, and so we work to make life better if we can for other people.
But then you meet others sometimes who feel that their agenda clashes with your agenda and it becomes the "war of the vision" and who will dominate. Yuk! It's very subtle because everyone is claiming "This is the Lord" for all these "good" reasons, and logically it can seem that way, but still people are getting wounded. Where peace was, there is no peace. "But it's for a good cause!" they will say, as you scratch your head in a wonder.
The next step is the argument "well if you were of God, then all these things would be working out perfectly" and you wonder what planet they are from, because their reality concept is questionable. Are we working for the ideal or are we working for the Kingdom?
To many, having an empire, or being a part of empire building is the goal. It often is mammon oriented. What happens is people have found a way to express their strengths, and so they use the Name of the Lord and work to bring it to pass. Later... they realized they missed it and that not everything resulting was indeed "good." But sometimes they never realize that the right to express themselves hurt a lot of other people and they hold them accountable.
Is Jesus building the hearts, or developing a program? Especially in the western or businessman's mindset, where "prosperity" has found a "home," it's strongly "only logical" for things to happen a certain way. Consensus is easy to find because it seems "so normal."
But hidden in here oftentimes is a deception because we lose our first love. We don't realize it at first because of the euphoria of seeing "our plans" come to pass! We "just know" that if "so and so" will do "this and this" we can get this plan into action and so all sorts of means and ways are implemented and then we want to present this work to God for His approval. It is when it is challenged that the true warfare begins.
Sometimes we are surprised to see a group over here saying, "But I don't see Jesus in that." And it can be a big argument. Especially when the "haves" and "have nots" are emphasized and showcased, in a spiritual tone of course, and you see "Spiritual" competitions. The works become about who "succeeded" more than who pleased God. It's works, but it looks good!
It's very subtle when we lose our first love. There is a momentum of energy that can just get us sucked into a "good plan" that may not fully be a God plan. Oh, it's a good idea, but is it God? We need to look and ask, "What is this doing for people's hearts? Are they being changed to be more Christ-like, or is this just a job to be accomplished?" Do we see Him or know Him in the plan? Or did we do it "for Him"?
It's easy to see when looking at children in the school play or little league. Is it really about them being a rip roaring success or a way to develop physical and social skills? In many places the drive to perfection and success overdrives the joy of discovering life. So it "seems" right but personal values are lost.
I guess today we would call that "politically correct," and it is in the churches, too. What is church? We certainly would say that it is "a fellowship of believers" but what are the goals? Can we see the difference that Jesus makes "to" the business world? Are the business people "plugged in" or do they encounter Christ? Is the mammon oriented mind offended to have an encounter or is it just programmed - in a nice way, of course...
Do we know our first Love? Can just "anyone" minister? All should be encouraged to have a work of ministry but is there a difference to those who are truly called to minister or is it a big free for all and everyone gets a turn at it? That would be the democratic way with a program going on.
Do we really know His Kingdom? Do we really know Him? Can we say that we have a first Love?