I still remember the day when I swore at my classmate while we were in a heated argument. I was 16 or 17 at the time and had just been a Christian for 12 to 18 months. I felt the Lord gave me a ‘nudge’ to say, “You know that’s not acceptable now that you are my follower? Please make amends”. I apologised and made peace with my classmate the following day without making a song and dance about it nor used the occasion to preach to him! He stood there like a stunned mullet. He graciously accepted my apology and downplayed the incident at the same time. I didn’t fully comprehend my actions until much later.
The human heart by nature is self-centred. What this means is we can be self-centred in our view of God, in our reading of the Bible and what salvation means, just to list a few examples. In that self-centred paradigm, God becomes Santa Claus like; the Bible is read like a ‘magic book’; salvation is an insurance policy that protects me from hell.
When Jesus came, he had the salvation of humanity in mind but it was always understood in the context of the broader message of the kingdom of God, something Jesus referred to over 70 times. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Salvation is merely the entry not the end point. The gospel of the kingdom includes salvation and the ways of His kingdom in every dimension of life.
God’s kingdom is nothing like the kingdom of this world (John 18:36). Jesus presented an upside down kingdom. If you want to become great, be a servant! Exalt yourself, you will be humbled; humble yourself, you’ll be exalted. If you want to ‘save’ your life, relinquish it (to God) but if you try and ‘save’ your life, you will ‘lose’ it. Don’t get even with your enemy; pray for him and do them good! If you want to receive, give! The whole Sermon on the Mount is about the upside down values of God’s kingdom.
The nudge I received years ago (and many times since) was an example in the ways of God’s upside down kingdom. God has appointed us as ambassadors of Christ on earth, enabled by His Spirit and authorised in His name to proclaim and demonstrate the upside down values of God’s kingdom. Our faith is personal but it is not private!
Have a fruitful week as Christ’s ambassadors!