Kingdom Principle: Deliverance & Declaration are the marks of the Kingdom.
Conflict and Controversy are not obstacles to avoid rather they are opportunities for advancement of personal growth and kingdom expansion.
We have all been delivered… that is brought into this world on a certain date. We all need deliverance… that is to be loosed from the grips of this world and the ways of the enemy. In order for us to truly be delivered, we must first aware of our state as being unpleasant or dangerous. (As much as a baby may consider the womb, better than the world… it would mean death to the mother and child for them not to be delivered.) The irony of deliverance to the Kingdom of God is that the very definitions of unpleasant and dangerous become completely redefined – this has been called the paradox of the Kingdom. Once delivered, the call is to declare, “I am no longer in bondage”. (1Cor 15:54-58, Luke 15:31-32, Romans 6:17-18, Gal 5:1)
Jesus says, “the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Repent speaks of the power of deliverance, the declaration is found in the observation of the movement of the Kingdom coming near and in the expression of the Good News. Paul in Romans says that faith comes by hearing the message. (Romans 10:17) The marks of those who enter the Kingdom is the constant profession of their deliverance from this world, and profound declaration of the Good News. This act leads to the deliverance of others in the power and name of Jesus Christ, resulting in yet another declaration. You can see how this plays out in the Gospel of Matthew:
We are blessed to receive the Kingdom in an act of deliverance… (Matt 5:3, 10) We are to invite the Kingdom to come as an act of declaration… (Matt 6:9-13) We are to Seek first the Kingdom for continual deliverance … (Matt 6:33) We are to be prepared that the deliverance of the Kingdom comes with violent power… (Matt 11:12) We are to teach and declare the Kingdom come (Matt 13:52) We are to do the work of the Kingdom both delivering and declaring… (Matt 16:19) In this we move from Deliverance to Declaration. For this is what we are commissioned to do (Matt 28:18-20)
For some people “deliverance” is a buzz word for spiritual opposition and demonic oppression, while I believe that this one form of needed deliverance, it alone is not the only aspect which the Kingdom of God renders necessary. The kingdom touches every aspect of one’s life, think about your most recent conflict or controversy in your life which you have overcome. For most this has taken place in the context of relationships often in family or at work… (Where we spend most of our time.) What did you learn from those experiences? These nuggets of truth and life lessons are some of the most valuable which money can’t buy. If you can’t think of anything you have learned from conflict or controversy recently, it is very possible that you have not fully stepped into the full leadership potential that God has prepared for you. (Eph 4:11-13) I am not suggesting that you look for things to challenge you and to bring conflict into your life, rather I am presenting the reality that as you and I seek the kingdom and to live in submission to the King as an act of leadership, you are likely to face situations that challenge you and bring conflict to the surface. (Acts 14:22) Another possibility is that you may have overlooked a pattern, which God is revealing and leading you to discover from which a greater authority will be given to you as you overcome it. Going through conflicts and controversies are not seen in general as desirable rather most people do all they can to avoid such experiences – but this is not so in the Kingdom.
How we respond to challenge is more important than if we “fail or succeed”. In fact, to fail in a challenge is likely to produce more growth and learning, than to simply overcoming and succeeding without struggle.
Martin Luther King Jr. adds this insight, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The Lent Season (which begins this week) is the period of time leading up to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this season it is traditional to “give something up” but a better way to look at this to willingly take on an opportunity which may produce challenge or conflict in your life. As we seek first the Kingdom of God, we are embracing that all power and authority has been given to you and in this you are initiating a violent takeover of territory which the enemy has un-rightfully claimed. (John 10:10) Our claim is to know that nothing can come upon us that will put us to shame, nor separate us from the Love of God. (Romans 8:37-39, 10:11-12) It is in this declaration throughout the season of lent, that we find our way to stand in times of challenge and controversy that yield the greatest kingdom expansion.
The call for Lent is not to GIVE UP something – especially hardships, for if you give this or anything up in this manner the Kingdom will most likely not be affected. However if your gain the perspective that no trial, trouble, conflict or challenge is meaningless and that in Christ you can do all things; then consider the opportunity to TAKE ON something this Lent season in order to affirm your willingness to bear the cross of Christ in your life. Take on a joyful celebration in the Kingdom of God as you are stretched to its limits.