Kingdom Principle: The King sets our course; the servants set the race pace.
|Isaiah 5:1-7||Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19||Hebrews 11:29-12:2||Luke 12:49-56|
Expectant mother receive a promise… they are pregnant and the “signs” point to giving birth to a child. While this hope is yet to culminate, (the deposit is complete- hope is rooted in the past) a “good” mother begins to adjust their life pointing forward to the day that their expectancy will be fulfilled in the coming of the child. However, even before the child has arrived, things can begin to switch and instead of expectancy, all sorts of expectations are placed on the mother (and father). Those expectations can actually smother the mother into grief and sorrow, believing that they can’t do it. There is something truly life giving about living in expectancy verses under the burden of expectations. How do we live in the hope of expectancy verses the burden of expectations? Life is to be lived without being smothered with expectations which kill our faith.
Is Jesus meeting your expectations? Are you meeting the expectations of Jesus? The realities of these questions direct us to failure and disappointment. But I believe that questions like; what is your expectancy when trusting God? What kind of expectancy does Jesus hold for you? Are questions that will lead us to love and acceptance. Is this simply word play or is there truly something to this….? These second questions open the door of hope to live a life of faith.
On 9/13/11 I wrote “Expectations cause us to compromise the Peace & prosperity we have received from God in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Today’s post, picks up that concept and builds on what I wrote and a year ago… “Kingdom Servants are to enjoy peace and prosperity as a way of life.” (9.18.12). But this must not be interpreted without the clarification given on 10.2.12, Justice and Righteousness supersede Peace & Prosperity as a way of life. Because of this understanding we addressed the reason why all relationships are renewed through the lens of religious covenant and rights with God. To live in covenant is to live in expectancy, this is life based on a promise that was made. To live in control is based on expectations, feeling the burden of failure rather than the call of love and grace. It is this experience which redefines our expectations when it comes to being in relationship with God. When we incorrectly understand or view who God is – we end up with Unmet Expectations. This began in the Garden, and continues on today. I began to address some of our misconceptions of God in our pursuit to be WITH God. When we approach God in these ways (From, Over, For, & Under) we end up living with Insecurity, Loneliness, Hopelessness, & Irritability (respectively). God’s expectancy for us is a life of Celebration, Salvation, & Reconciliation (found on the path of life). This week our focus is on the unmet expectations that plague God’s people and Jesus unwavering stance to clarify the very expectancy of the Father, rather than to be burdened by the expectations of the world. (Matt. 11:28-29)
The passage of Isaiah pictures beautifully both visually and poetically the unmet expectations of God–First, is the imagery of a Vineyard owner (Husbandry – John 15) who diligently prepares the land and vineyard for prosperity, yet it only produces sour grapes. But further poetically, in Verse 7 it is clear that God was looking for justice, but found only bloodshed, and in looking for righteousness He found cries of distress. In Hebrew (the original written language) there is only one letter difference between the words justice and bloodshed, and again one letter variance between righteousness and cries of distress. So while God was looking for one thing, from a distance the people may have said, “it’s not so far off”, but when you look closely it is the furthest thing from his desire. A sentence in English that demonstrates this is: God’s justice prevents brokenness, Israel perverts justice in brokenness. Further…. Israel’s form of Justice is far from Justice.
How do we remove unmet expectations? I believe the roots of our unmet expectations are all established in relationships (God, self & others). Overcoming or removing them is also found in relationships of Grace and Truth. The text this week in Luke demonstrates Jesus unwavering commitment to grace and truth. As set out above, while peace is to abound in the life of a Kingdom servant, it is not the highest pursuit of faithfulness or righteousness. Many Christians do not expect Jesus to say, “I did not come to bring peace, but a division.” We think he doesn’t really mean that, yet it is further clarified in that he has come to bring fire to the earth, and that this division will tear apart families much like a fire can burn down a house. This suffering and trials of life is not new to those who follow the King of Kings… those who are the heroes of Faith faced such a life; death by stoning, being sawed in two, killed by sword (Hebrews 11) etc…. this life was a pursuit of happiness, yet it remained a life crowned by joy and celebration marked by thanksgiving. For us today – to be heroes of faith – we must fix our eyes on Jesus, trusting in the hope of the resurrection. (Both His and ours) We do this by throwing off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. (Hebrews 12) That which hinders us – is anything that slows us down while we are running the race course, set for us by the King. The pace that we run will be determined by weight we bear and the sin that entangles. Throwing off sin that entangles maybe easier to see, while things that hinder are not such obvious sin, they are simply accumulation of this world. . (Greed and Idolatry cause us to accumulate and value that which hinders us in the race.) Another way to look at that which hinders us is anything that gives us peace or prosperity which does not hold value in the Kingdom.
This is where Jesus’ message gets to division… if your family members do not value and invest their lives in the Kingdom of God – they must not be allowed to place expectations on you. (This does not mean you “cut them off” or else God would do well to cut us off.) Rather we are to highly value the kingdom that any expectations they have fail to control our lives. This is a life of long-suffering and prayer. Not all expectations of your family are to be tossed, but review the difference between power and authority. We are to remain in relationship with our families – living out our authority, but drawing only from the power of King rather than being drawn to the power of our earthly families. So in general anything which causes you to deviate from living into the expectancy of the King we are to identify as a threat to our freedom. I call this expectancy the basic building blocks of life They are: Listening – intimately in the Presence of the King; Living – identified by the Principles of the Kingdom; Loving – inspired for the Purposes of Kingship. Everything in this blog is about coming along side you on this journey. I hope in the Power of Jesus Name to confronting the chaos of your life which leaves its mark you your life causing Insecurity, Loneliness, Hopelessness, & Irritability.