We enter the kingdom through much tribulation…-Acts 14:22
Jesus said “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.” -Matthew 11:12
This verse gives people much confusion on exactly what the meaning is, usually there are two camps of thought:
- The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.
- People have been ardently pressing in to the kingdom with all their strength.
Which one is right? Yes. probably both.
We are hindered at every side, attacked, sometimes actually, sometimes verbally, sometimes emotionally, to keep us from participating in the unstoppable, moving, coming Kingdom of God. At the same time we must determine not to be deterred, slowed down or hindered in any way. We must ardently press in to catch the moving train that is The Kingdom if we intend to ride that train, if we want to be a part.
Sometimes I think we get sidelined, we forget, or think “I’ve been there and done that.” but we have to practice being attuned to the Holy Spirit, and practice sharing hopeful news, or just stopping for a few minutes to pray with someone.
YOU have a part in The Kingdom. You get to “play.” John Wimber, a leader of the early Vineyard Church said:
“When you joined the kingdom, you expected to be used of God. “
But then soon we lose vision, lose fire, we’re told to sit, be quiet and then soon we’ve forgotten about anything that has to do with being used by God, serving, using our gifts, or just being willing to participate. Wimber continues:
“Folks, I’m not saying,Do some-thing heroic. I’m not saying, Take on some high standard, sell everything you have and go. Now, if Jesus tells you that, that’s different. But I’m not saying that. I’m just saying,participate.”
We’re all made to do different things, we don’t all do the same things easily. But at the same time God can do anything He wills as is necessary regardless if we are “gifted” or not.
Here are some of the gifts that the New Testament speak about in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4: exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, teaching , faith, administration, discernment, healing, helps, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, teaching, tongues, interpretation, wisdom, apostle, evangelism, pastor, prophecy, and teaching
No gift is given to us just for us. Gifts are given to serve God and to serve others, to bring His kingdom in some way.
John Wimber said:
“Give some portion of what you have; time, energy, money, on a regular basis to this purpose, to redeeming people, to caring for people. That’s where you’ll really see the kingdom of God.”
Teddy Roosevelt said “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” We all can participate in bringing God’s Kingdom by simply doing what we can, with what we have, where we are; just by participating. Don’t underestimate the small testimony of what God did in your life this week or last week. Don’t underestimate the significance of offering to stop for 60 seconds and ask someone if you can pray with them about anything.
This week ask the Lord to show you an opportunity to participate in The Kingdom!