Why the Kingdom Must Be Manifest in Every Aspect of Culture
For too long our understanding of the kingdom of God has been confined to a Sunday morning church experience. Worship, teaching, prayer for family and friends and back to our busy lives. But I believe God's invitation extends to every aspect of culture. Isaiah prophesied that the increase of Christ's government and peace would never end. Is Christ rule in your workplace? Is Christ's authority and dominion represented by his justice, peace, equity and righteousness permeated every aspect of your profession? If not you are called to be an agent of change to manifest the rule and reign of God wherever he has put you.
What does the Kingdom look like?
The kingdom of God is both now and not yet meaning that the kingdom is accessible now but will be fully revealed at the return of Christ. Nevertheless Christ commanded his disciples to preach every where that the Kingdom of Heaven is "at hand" or within reach. It's available to whomsoever will. But there is a prerequisite in the Scripture as well. Christ taught us that the Kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Again this calls for wisdom. Violence in this context means an aggressive pursuit and a will to apprehend the things of God. The invitation has been given for you to apprehend and take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you. Now he is looking for our response.
In his first public address, Christ paints the clearest picture of what exactly the Kingdom of Heaven looks like manifest on earth as it is in heaven. Opening the scroll to the book of Isaiah Christ invites his hearers and disciples to a whole new reality where heaven invades earth and light shines in every dark corner. And thank God for it. "The people living in darkness have seen a great light," Isaiah prophesied. When God's light shines, every piece of darkness must flee. Sickness is healed. Joy takes the place of sorrow. Bondages are broken. Relationships are restored. Repentance occurs and love is the center of everything. Read it for yourself,
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins...
St. Francis built on the truths of the Kingdom of God made manifest on earth when he coined one of the most powerful Kingdom minded prayers ever penned,
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
So what does this mean for you and me? It means wherever we go, wherever we are we must manifest the glory of the Risen Christ and carry the restorative nature of the Kingdom of God into every sphere of society. Every industry. Every neighborhood. Every family and school (yes even "Christian schools"). It is about bringing God order into the chaos of a sin filled world. Not running from the problems but running into them and releasing God's shalom. Releasing his provision to the poor. His love to the lonely. His strength to the lowly. The foundation of God's throne or rule is righteousness and justice and that's what he requires of us to operate in righteousness and in equality. In our relationships we are to do right to one another and conduct ourselves in truth and fairness to all.
How do we get there?
First off no one ever said obtaining this is easy and frankly not one of us has arrived. Hebrews 11 says, the ancients saw the promise and welcomed it from afar. Many of God's promises are invitations to walk into. Just as Mary called forth the first miracle of Christ, there are certain miracles and Kingdom manifestations that are reserved for those who will respond with all their hearts. We need to stop reducing the word of God to our experience and start pursuing the promises and goodness of God until we experience what the word of God says. That's where people are missing it. Just because you have not experienced what Christ invites us into doesn't mean it's not for "today." You just need to pursue more until your experience lines up with God's will. Not the other way around. Let God be true and every man a liar. So think of the Kingdom as an invitation that we can respond to in at least 4 ways.
1) Prayer: We accomplish nothing of spiritual value without prayer. What you do inwardly in prayer manifests in outwardly into the natural realm. Jesus promised it. Daniel experienced it. What you do in secret will be rewarded openly. Daniel prayed and immediately the answer was given but it wasn't until 21 days later that it manifested.
So in your workplace assignment I want to encourage you to get on your knees and begin praying for the needs of your boss, co-worker, and employees. You have authority based on the fact that you are working in your occupation and your identity as a son or daughter of the King.
2) Faith: Find the promises of God for your situation. Mark Batterson in the Circle Maker encourages believers to find the promises of God and begin circling your greatest needs and biggest dreams with the promises of God until they are manifest.
3) Word: It is with the heart we believe and it is with the mouth we confess unto salvation, Romans 10 teaches us. Wherever God has you, speak the word of God over your situation, workplace, family and more. The Word needs to go into your heart and come out of your mouth. The Kingdom of God is as if a man would scatter seed. The seed of the Kingdom is the word of God. Sow it.
4) Deed: Now your prayers, faith and words align, your actions and therefore deeds are in alignment and manifest the glory of God in your situation in and through you. You begin to move in the opposite spirit. Where there is discord you sow peace. Where there is darkness you sow light, etc.
You see it is God's will to release on earth what is happening in heaven. Don't see that happening? Repeat these steps as necessary.