September 6, 2019
What's Keeping God From Using You In His Kingdom?
One of the most powerful verses in Scripture [for me] is Matthew 7:21, which quotes Jesus: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. And Jesus was the perfect example of what that looks like. We must be intentional in interacting with God -- hearing His voice above our own; always seeking His purpose and desire in any situation; and then taking action to accomplish His will.
We know, from John 3:1-5, that to enter the Kingdom of God [or Heaven] we must be Saved [born again]. But, it sounds to me [according to Matthew 7:21] like Salvation alone is not enough to be used by the Father. And we all want to be used by God, don't we? Don't you want to hear Him say, "You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you have been a faithful steward to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, 'Come celebrate with me!' "? So, let's consider what might keep us from being useful to God.
The first thing the author mentioned was Driver's seat Christians. These are Believers who, without question, are Saved, but find it difficult to yield control of their lives to Christ. We call Jesus our Lord, yet do we understand what that word means? He is our Master, our Ruler, and He has full authority over all things on the earth. Yet, there may be times when we find ourselves unable to surrender to His leadership and mastery of our lives. We want what we want, and often find ourselves justifying our actions according to our own desires, rather than the will of the Father -- which is expressly un-Biblical! If you are someone who finds it difficult to submit to the Lord's authority, then He will be unable to trust you in administering His kingdom here on earth.
Then there are the Christians we call Armchair Critics. I find it interesting as I seek God's kingdom before anything else, that those who can't see it, or refuse to see it, are the ones speaking the loudest against my pursuit of it. Because I know what it feels like to be unjustly criticized, I fervently try to judge another's walk with Christ by the fruit they bear. Their walk may not look or sound like mine, but if there is observable fruit for the Kingdom, then I know it is honoring God. The Holy Spirit does not counsel me to judge or accuse out of anger or pride or a religious spirit. If I want Him to use me, then I will concentrate on His assignment for me, knowing that He is perfectly capable of giving differing assignments to other Christians.
We all know Christians who are Glass half-empty pessimists, right? They are always engrossed in the headlines, focused on what the news is forecasting, and aligning it all with End Times prophecies. Or when the blessings of the Lord come, they are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. But, I have to ask ... who is God more likely to use in service to His kingdom here on earth? The one who doesn't quite trust Him to secure their good fortune, or the Believer who knows the consequences of following the Lord and is willing to go forth anyway? Who will bear the most fruit for the Kingdom? The Bible tells us that the presence of fruit in your life is evidence that you are a disciple of Christ. He will recognize us by our fruit ... and those whose focus is on a half empty glass will be unable to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and bear a fruitful harvest.
Perhaps the thing that grieves me the most in the Body of Christ is the Carnally minded Christian. These are the folks who have chosen to compromise with the world and lower [or alter] their standards of moral character and lifestyle. They intentionally blur the lines between what the Bible calls sin and what the world calls acceptable behavior. But God's Word does not change! And His charge to live sanctified lives has not been abolished. The Biblical meaning of Sanctification is still His standard -- to be declared holy and set apart; to be purified and seen as morally acceptable in His eyes. God cannot and will not use us in service to His kingdom if we are approving of the world's sins. We may receive rewards from the world for our compromise, but our works will be unfruitful for the Kingdom.
There was one description in the article of Christian's that God won't use that I wish to comment on and clarify. The author singled out Church dropouts, and stated that "God does not use people who have turned away from the church." I believe it is important to qualify that statement. I agree with the subsequent statement that it is popular among some to bash the Church out of a bitterness and out of woundedness by the Church. I stand in agreement that God will not be able to use anyone who hangs on to unforgiveness. But there are those of us who have decided to be the Ekklesia, rather than the Church, and we love the Body of Christ. We do not bash "the Church", but rather find that [in its present state] it no longer feeds our spirits and desires to be obedient Kingdom citizens. So we have returned to the spiritual roots of the Early Church and walk together [as an Ekklesia] in a Kingdom model and a Kingdom mindset of service and worship of our Lord. And believe me, I see much fruit in this Godly community!
Then there are the Christians the author calls Timid Cowards. God will not be able to use Believers who suffer from a fear to be bold. As the author states, "All those who surrender to the call of God must bravely open their mouths, defend the faith, risk their reputation and suffer rejection—and possible persecution". That can be a huge barrier for a Christian who is afraid of the consequences of such bold action. But Christ calls us to boldness, without fear of the ramifications. Each of the Disciples were willing to suffer martyrdom to expand God's kingdom on earth. We are called by our Lord, Himself, to do nothing less. Just consider the fruit of those obedient lives!
The last classification is called Lazy Spectators. It's easy in this fast-paced world to get distracted by technology, the demands on our lives, and our busy calendars. Sometimes it seems that we can only give a half-hearted response to the call on our life. But a life that can be used by God makes Him and His righteous Kingdom their priority. It's not easy to be all-in for the Lord. There is much that we give up when we make that commitment. But the rewards are so worth it! When you see that the fruit of your efforts lead to a transformed life in your neighbor, then it makes the sacrifices worthwhile.
Take it from me. There will be sacrifices made when you answer God's call. God cannot use you if the desire of your heart is for the wealth of this world. So you need to be satisfied and content with just what you need, and what the Lord provides. As you become more obedient in your calling, your time will not be your own. You will find that bearing fruit results in more opportunities to bear fruit -- if that makes sense. But you can't say No to God! You will come to realize that you have a very short time to make a difference in the earth and people's lives. You will want to rest, but find that there is little time to rest. There is always more to do for the Kingdom. You will find that the care of your home suffers, and all the outward appearances of your life no longer matter. You have said, "Yes, Lord! Use me!" and He will take you at your word.
But I can also tell you this ... once you have surrendered your will to the will of the God of the Universe, and answered His call on your life, there is no way you're going to want to turn back. You will find that the wealth of this world does not compare to the riches in your work for the Kingdom. You will enter into a new Remnant Community of people; people whose commitment and dedication to expanding the Kingdom on earth will unite your spirits and your purposes in this life. You will not get caught up in the distractions of politics, religion, or popular culture -- your mind has been renewed to a higher purpose and you are focused on what God is showing you.
But let me also make it clear that there is so much joy in doing the Lord's work. Yes, you will be tired from your efforts, but you will also experience a lightness and elation that transcends your physical senses. You will rejoice in the victories won for the Kingdom; and you will find immeasurable joy in expressing your gratitude for being used by God. There's nothing like experiencing the power of the Lord in His grace on your life. Just say, "YES!"
Matthew 7:16 You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious. You won’t find sweet grapes hanging on a thorn bush, and you’ll never pick good fruit from a tumbleweed.