The Kingdom First Life
Dianne Wilson | Co-Lead Pastor | Newport Church | Newport, CA
My life’s purpose is to know Jesus and to make Him known. I often think about Jesus and His three years of public ministry and about all that He achieved in the short time He lived here on earth. I think about his relationship with His Heavenly Father and I think about His love and devotion towards people – all people. I also think about His relationship with his team – the disciples.
At times Jonathan and I have moved between “Pastoring” and “Parenting” our young team that we planted our church with, as we have tried to help them negotiate life, the universe, and all that is involved in building a significant church for the glory of God. We love our Team dearly and appreciate each and every one of them greatly. We admire the strength and integrity of those who have, and continue to lay down their lives, Romans 12 style.
It is all too easy to go through the motions serving God and allowing oneself to become disconnected from a true and life-giving relationship with Jesus, with the Word of God, and with the family of God in which He has placed you. We all need more Jesus every day, and those who are called to serve Him in a full-time capacity can’t survive without that life-giving connection. It can be easy to slip into “doing” ministry as though it was “industry”, something I call “the industry of ministry” – something that we have worked and continue to work at eliminating in our leadership team.
There are always well-meaning people in church life who love to come alongside people and give them advice, under the guise of “helpful” voices telling budding leaders to “find balance”, to “pull back”, to “rest easy”. The only problem is that those people usually aren’t the ones who have signed up for the big life. I want to encourage you! The big God life is the best God life to live!
People who offer advice of more “balance” without revelation that the Kingdom of God is wonderfully all-consuming, don’t help anyone. Balance is not one extreme or another. Balance is the tension found between the two, within any chosen lifestyle. When we choose Kingdom first, then we can find perfect balance within that choice. Be aware of anyone who offers advice that could take you out of the white-hot center of the wonderful action and activity that exists in building the Kingdom of God.
Seeking God’s Kingdom first is one of the finest decisions of your life. The Kingdom first lifestyle is clearly described in the Bible; it doesn’t mean Kingdom first, family second, and job third. Kingdom first is Jesus at the center of every aspect of our life. We need to have a revelation that there is balance and every other thing we need is found within the Kingdom first life.
Matthew 6:33 in the Amplified version says, “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and his righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” Jesus didn’t come to earth to celebrate the disciples’ gifts. Jesus came to earth to challenge human hearts to the core. Heart is everything, capacity grows, and every good gift comes from God!
The refining of the human heart is an interesting process. Maybe you have a “bring it on” spirit and want to change and grow, or maybe you fear the refining process because you are too attached to a dysfunction in how you live your life. Change is essential if we want to fulfill the call of God on our lives. The refining of the heart and the renewing of the mind makes a way for us to change for good.
James A Michener says, “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.”
Let’s make this life count. Where will you be in five years time? 260 weeks time? 1825 days time? 2,333,000 minutes time? If you want a preferred future, if you want to live a Kingdom first life, you need to plan now, change now, live now.