Matthew 11:11-12 (NIV) Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.
Matthew 11: 12 (NKJV) “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Seize the day. The words burning inside my spirit today. The Kingdom of Heaven is subject to violence and violent people have been raiding it. What is the Kingdom of God? It is not a city with streets of gold entered through pearly gates but the collective unit of the souls that comprise the Body of Christ. We are the Kingdom of God. Violent, ruthless, sadistic people raid God’s Kingdom every day as the church sits in air-conditioned comfort, theater-style seating listening to the perfect music set followed by about thirty minutes of feel good preaching. What happens when the forces turn on them? Will they survive? Will they even know what hit them? We must seize each opportunity in every day to take back the Kingdom of God by force. Where does one begin? I am not a violent person. I do not like to fight. I avoid all altercations. This battle is not so much a physical one but rather a spiritual one beginning in our heart.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NIV) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Let’s begin here to build a foundational truth to live by. The modern day church has watered down, convoluted and misrepresented the Grace of God as an excuse creating a passive mindset that is allowing God’s People to be picked off like sheep without a shepherd in an open field. There is no one there to save them or hear their cries for help. So the roaring lion now becomes the devourer. Grace does not give us permission to sin. Not at all. Not ever. Sin will always separate us from the Lord. Willful sin represents an unrepentant heart and the bearer lives a lie whether realized or not. Disobedience to the Lord on any level represents rebellion against the Kingdom of God. Those who feign ignorance are not exempt. If you know it is wrong, and choose to do it, it is sin. Grace flows to the repentant heart. The one whose full intention is to take up their cross and follow Jesus. God sees our heart and knows instantly our motivation. You can fool others and maybe even you but you cannot fool the Father. He knows us. He made us. He knows why we have come to Him. Grace is the product of true repentance and a heart after God’s Own Heart.
As believers, we must learn to seize each day as an opportunity to take back the Kingdom of God. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. We are mighty in God because God is in us. We pull down strongholds in praise, worship and prayer. We cast down arguments with love and grace. We honor the Lord by exalting His Name above every other “thing” in this world. It is a daily initiative. It is a daily mindset. It is our allegiance to Jesus Christ to fight for His Kingdom every single day and not relent until it is complete.
I John 4:4 (NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Where do I begin? I am a lover not a fighter. Well, it’s not about you! It is because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. It is learning to live for Christ that allows our life to become victorious. It is engaging in a relationship with the Lord and allowing Him to take over every area of our life until we are fully committed to the great commission. (Matthew 28:18-20) Are you committed to Christ? Our live tells the story of our devotion.
I Samuel 17:34-36 (NIV) But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
Every step of David’s life led to him becoming king. David was a man after God’s Own Heart. In the field tending sheep, the Lord built up his confidence and courage. David was a worshipper which I believe facilitated the heart growth that gave him the strength of character to take sheep back that were stolen. He watched over the sheep. He took care of the sheep. He laid down his life for the sheep. Sound familiar? David learned love, commitment and devotion.
When David brought his brothers lunch, he heard the Philistine giant disrespect the Lord. Something rose up in him that was cultivated throughout his young life. His logic in fighting the giant was not emotional but devotional. Our strength and power as believers is the God in us. It is greater than any other power. Those who decide to allow the Lord to grow them into good soldiers on a daily basis will be ready for every spiritual threat or attack that comes against the Kingdom. God does not empower you to fight in a moment. He trains you in your lifetime. We are called to take down strongholds. We were created to be giant killers. Have we answered the call? Are we ready to fulfill our purpose?
2 Timothy 2:1-7 (NIV) You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
We have a son who is an American soldier. He loves this country and will lay down his life for it if called to duty. To be a good soldier requires commitment. Commitment to the cause. It is devotion. It requires sacrifice. It is obedience on the highest level. It is to understand authority and take it at its word. Are you fighting the good fight today? Are you committed to Christ? Are you engaged in battle to take back the Kingdom? Or have we become entangled in civilian affairs as not to offend anyone or make them uncomfortable? Have we compromised because in the army that is treason? We must become committed and devoted to seizing the day and taking back the Kingdom to be Children of God after His Heart. This is the character of men and women committed to Christ. Who will stop at nothing to be in His Presence and take as many with them as will go!
Paul and Silas were causing an uproar. (Acts 16:16-20) The people demanded “justice”. The two ended up in jail. Yet they continued to pray, praise and worship the Lord openly and without regard. The natural could not hold them captive and the chains all fell off. How far are you willing to go for the Gospel of Christ? Our relationship with Jesus is not about making our life better. It is all about building a Kingdom that will last forever. Are we taking back the Kingdom of God by force? Am I seizing the opportunity to live for Jesus every single day? To seize means to take hold of suddenly and forcefully. It is to grasp mentally. To take by force and control it. We have the Power of God living in us. Will we give Him enough room to make His Way out of us? Will we be confident and committed to the Great Commission leaving comfort, compromise and complacency behind? I cannot live any other way. The more I know Him the more I love Him. Less of me is always more of Him. Today, I will seize the day. His Grace is sufficient for me.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV) So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.