In late December, I wrote a blog What happens when we create a Jesus that is “too nice?” I addressed important leadership traits and would like to continue this conversation as we begin a new year.
In the secular world, everyone is taking sides and trying to vie for the opinions of others. There is a strong polarization in the world in which we live. It is very important for Christians to understand that opinions from the left and right wings of political, and economic policy, have Christian aspects to each of them. But we are not called to the left or the right—we have been called from above! The Scriptures tell us that we were once in darkness, dead in our trespasses and sin, but God has made us alive. As believers, it is important for us to understand that He not only takes us out of something, He has also called us into something. Ephesians 2 tells us that we are called to heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so our point of view in this world must always reflect the vantage point of heaven.
In Matthew 6, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We must always recognize our need as Christians to participate in the heavenly call. This should be the priority of our prayer life, and should also be reflected in our everyday lives, as those called to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Therefore, to seek first the Kingdom, we must have input from the kingdom of God as we formulate our opinions. When Jesus was getting ready to leave His disciples, He prayed for them as recorded in John 17. He said, “Father do not take them out of the world, but keep them from the evil one.” Jesus was not training His disciples to escape the world; He was equipping them as overcomers. We are in the world for a purpose! Although we are called to participate in the world, we should always recognize the kingdom call is to separate us from human opinions in order for us to follow the principles of the Word.
Time To See Ourselves as Distinct!
As Christians, we must be mindful that no human philosophy within itself will be fully agreeable to the call of the kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul wrote, “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” and “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, and they are futile. Therefore let no one boast in men.” As a person, who is very interested and involved in the affairs of this life, I am always careful to remind myself of the limitations of human wisdom. I always want to know God’s viewpoint, so I can incorporate His wisdom into my thoughts. I must also be mindful that any voice I listen to must be secondary to the voice of God. Remember, there is only one truly world-changing power, and that is the power of the gospel!
In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation.” The gospel of Christ is the power to deliver, heal, and protect. We must remember that no matter the group we are engaged in within this world, we are called to impact it from heaven. This is why we must recognize our need to belong to the association God has given to us—to mature, equip, and strengthen us. That association is with the Church. In order for the Church to fulfill its mission, it must understand the need for the full ministry of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus Christ ascended, He gave His ministry to us through men. Ephesians 4 says, “He gave Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and teachers.” These ministries are not just to equip us, but also to bring us to maturity and the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Since the beginning of the latter rain and charismatic movements, God has been speaking about the need for the five-fold ministry. Although many people are using these titles, it is very important that we fully understand their function, and how we can relate to them. I believe that there is a new generation of leadership arising in the body of Christ. However, we must not just relate to the leadership ministries from a church perspective. We must learn how to be equipped to live out our walk everyday, as voices for the kingdom within all the systems of men. We must see ourselves as distinct, or as Jesus said, “in the world, but not of it!”