By Lina Cioffi
My previous blog was an introduction to the Kingdom. Now I will explain Kingdom influence. A city that is influenced by the Kingdom is a city blessed by God.
The Bible teaches us through many parables how to compare the kingdom of God. It compares us to a garden, an army, a bride. Because there are many dimensions and aspects to the kingdom, we cannot say ‘it’s this or it’s that.’
“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened” Matthew 13:33.
I would like to focus on this illustration that Jesus used (baking); which He most likely grew up seeing His mother do. It speaks loudly about who we are and what happens when our lives are based on Kingdom living.
It starts with small beginnings: the leaven was small but it changed the whole dough. The Kingdom of heaven starts with individual men and women who dedicated their lives to Jesus. God places us in different areas and positions to influence/change our surroundings. The Kingdom is hidden, working from the inside and not seen, but active. It is not for us to keep selfishly but to share.
Like planting a mustard seed, when the tree has grown, the branches will have nests so the birds of the air can come and rest (Matthew 13:31). Our influence will draw people not to ourselves, but to what we carry, so they can find a nest to rest and live.
The Good & The Bad
The Bible teaches that God will cause the sun to rise on evil and good, cause rain on the righteous and unrighteous (Matthew 5). This shows that Grace is available for ALL mankind, and we have no right to pick and choose who to love or not. Our job is to be the channel for Jesus, so the Holy Spirit can flow and do His work (not ours). Therefore, people will see that it is Jesus, God, and not us!
Lead With Love & Humility
I mentioned in my previous blog, pointers that need to be cultivated in our daily lives. Through these steps we will influence our surroundings.
The kingdom within us is not to get people to come to church, nor to be used in a political fashion to say we are right and they are wrong. No! Jesus taught and directed people to the Kingdom and showed how to live with the Kingdom within them. He was a man loving all, the rich, the poor, the pretty and the not so pretty, enslaved and not enslaved, etc. He was not a respecter of persons because He came for mankind.
Jesus did not publicize who He was, nor did He come as a political figure tearing down the political agenda. His fruits were visible. He showed mankind the Kingdom of LOVE and this caused men to be drawn to Him. He was planting the seed, knowing that the Holy Spirit will be coming to continue what He had started. This is what He was carrying: He was the Kingdom at hand!
Never, Ever, Ever Compromise!
Let’s briefly look at Daniel in the Old Testament. He was a man who was living for God. He and his friends were exiled, living in Babylon. In his heart he knew who he was and what he carried, yet did not compromise his faith. Through his trials, he was not moved nor wavered, knowing his God being true. God gave him wisdom to interpret dreams, through which he found favor with King Nebuchadnezzar. He was put in high position in the kingdom of Babylon. You see, through the influence of Daniel, signs and wonders following, the King realized that his God was true (Daniel 4). Daniel in his influence, continued to serve 2 other kings following Nebuchadnezzar. He did not preach to them nor did he go against their beliefs. In his serving he was the channel of influencing the atmosphere, by what he carried. God did the rest.
How do I channel myself to be an influence?
- no matter how dark the atmosphere is, the Kingdom in you should be the light, not by preaching or dictating
- find people to be proactive to love and serve with generosity
- do not be a respecter of person, love everyone
- serve without a political agenda (Jesus is not politics)
- your agenda should not be to convince them to come and join a church, but to experience Jesus’ love
Remember: there is only one difference between us and the world…His name is Jesus.
Do you regularly ask yourself “What would Jesus do?”