Focusing on seminary has kept me far from blogging but today, as it is my reflection day as I will call it, has got me continually thinking about Living the Kingdom life. One of my first classes in seminary almost 5 years ago, was Biblical Survey of the book of Matthew, which is all about the kingdom of God. If you read Matthew, you will see Jesus refer to the Kingdom time and time again.; “the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like, the kingdom is like…” He is trying to teach his disciples that living the Kingdom life is so extremely different from the way they think life works; same truth for us today! But unfortunately this doesn’t always get translated correctly in our churches. Sadly, many Christians live in bondage who don’t know how to overcome their past hurts, or may not know how to deal with new ones, and so they fail to thrive as Christians. I say this because I have been there. I think every Christian who has learned to truly walk in freedom and who has continually learned to desire and live a kingdom lifestyle has had to go through some darkness to get their. What continues to strike me is in my minuscule attempts to keep up with some of the talking heads in our Christian sub-culture is the continual mudslinging that we still partake in. Why am I drawn to a leadership article that shows up on my facebook feed to only see it’s another pushing down of our “inncorect” behaviors once again.? That was so helpful and encouraging, NOT! I know people need to vent at times and I know we all wrestle with our faith (I know I’ve done it on this blog) and I know we are all at different places on the journey, but as I continue to get older and see my daughter growing up fast before me, I wan’t to emulate a Jesus saturated life as much as possible. No I am not perfect, and no I have no great formula or set schedule to accomplish that. One of my biggest issues I constantly talk with God about is how to have more structure but not that it would bound me to a “right way” of doing something, but learning each day to surrender to God as I wake, asking him to help me to be patient, kind and loving as I get my 2nd grader ready for school; learning to live in the present moment each day. I really want to be a Holy Spirit led, Holy Spirit controlled person. I know that I can’t do things in my own strength, but as I continue to depend on God at every turn I learn to hear Him, I learn to sense Him guiding me in different things. So what are a few things that I learned about living the kingdom life? First one of my biggest and continual life-lessons has been to accept people where they are, period. Learning to love people where they are especially when they think differently than you, is I believe a huge way that God grows us. Going back to hurts, to be kingdom people we need to learn to forgive no matter what and let God deal with that other person. It’s often been said and is very true, that forgiveness is not so much about the person who hurt you but about you gaining freedom from the bondage of unforgiveness in learning to forgive. Just a quick note, that forgiveness truly is the 70×7 thing Jesus talks to us about. Even this morning I was having to re-forgive in something I have given over to God many times. Being able to see that God loves that person so much, and that He created them to walk in freedom and wholeness also is very helpful in our forgiveness and healing journeys. I recently learned that God has forgiven their lack of certain character qualities that I had expected and I too was now being asked to also forgive those deficiencies. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want restoration, because I do, but my job is to learn to forgive on deeper levels and leave the rest up to God. God forgave us and so we must learn to ask God to teach us to forgive one another. Again, it’s not something we can do in our own strength, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Another area that has helped me to live the kingdom life of freedom is to accept people where they are on the journey. This is hard for someone like me who has had a lifetime of learning in school, now studying to be a pastor and wanting to see people thrive in their Christian journey. Being able to learn to trust God with others and not feel a need or compulsion to fix them or “help” them can be challenging. But again as I surrender my control and my life over to God he helps me live out my own life in preace and the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and as I learn to cultivate and manage my own life I learn to let go of my desire to manage others. Going back to our journey’s, we are all knit in our mother’s womb from our great creator God and we need to truly learn to honor one another by letting them walk the path God has laid before them, even if we don’t get it. Now obviously if they are in sin we may be able to assist them back on track, but only as God tells us to do so. Living the Kingdom life means that I am secure in who I am as a child of God. I deeply know that God is good, that He is for me and that His unconditional love is the only approval that I really need. I say deeply because many have a head knowledge of God but the life they live that come out of what’s inside of them is often sadly vastly different from who God is. Community is also important on our spiritual journey’s but only as God has taught us to keep our eyes focused on Him, and find our identity and security in Him alone, can we truly live to be life-giving kingdom agents to others. As we learn to live for the audience of One, and seek to depend on Him with our whole mind, body and strength in humility, weakness and child-like faith and trust He will transform us into His likeness Again, it’s not my job to change you, to get you to see my point of view or agree with me, but it is my divine privilege as a child of the King to live out my freedom in Christ in front of you, to testify of the works of God in my life, to share my struggles and that I don’t have it all figured out, but I am persevering still by the strength of Christ in me. When I fall, I get up and I remember who I am in Christ, I remember the promises spoken over my in the Word of God. I learn to model the kingdom life as God leads me. I do this by the passions he has placed in me; cultivating a lifestyle of worship where I sing with my voice which fills me up and compels me to move to love others, in genuine love, compassion and mercy. There is so much more I can say about the kingdom life, and I feel like I just scratched the surface and I hope to write more on it as God leads, but as I live dependent on God he continually teaches me how to live the kingdom life more and more, and it becomes something that I truly am desperate for. As with everything, it’s a journey that we walk, so be patient and live surrounded and watch God move in and through you to truly become someone who lives the kingdom life. So how bout’ you? How has God shown you how to live the kingdom life where you are? Blessings, Robin.