I have constantly struggled with the concept of my citizenship. I struggle because I have a difficult time accepting that I am priveleged simply because of where I was born. Just because I was born in the United States I am afforded things in this life that people born on the same exact date in 1977 in other countries, poor countries, could never even fathom.
Likewise I struggle with the concept of living in a Kingdom. I don’t know what it means to live under the rule of a King. We are a democracy where we decide, well in theory we decide, who will be in charge and when we dont like what that person does we replace him. It’s that simple, we can get what we want.
So when I hear about God being King, I don’t always get it. And forget trying to wrap my head around the concept of the Kingdom. In fact sometimes, I even feel…well…Weird when I say the word Kingdom when talking about my faith. It seems so religious, so cult-like. Right? I know it does.
But I have a fantastic pastor who is wise enough to simplify things for me. He explains that a kingdom is simply where a king reigns. So God’s kingdom is where God reigns. Itt is planted like a seed and like yest, in a small, slow way moves it’s way through your life and this world. But the only way a seed or yeast can begin growing is by making contact with it’s environment.
I now know that God’s Kingdom has come in my home, in my marriage and my parenting. But I also know that there are areas of my life where I live one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world. I also am challenged in how I am making contact with my environment. I might talk with my neighbor, but am I really asking God to be the king of that relationship? I might want to help the lady down the street, but am I doing it so that the Kingdom can make it’s way into my neighborhood?
The fashion community is in an uproar. The well known trendy retail store Forever 21 has recently released a series of t-shirts boasting of the love of Jesus. Unbelievers are upset at the store, “shoving Jesus down people’s throats.”
As I was reading the article that started a religious feud in America traveled all the way to the UK, and the many blogging comments that followed, I had this thought: This is how to be a tree.
Consider where you are rooted, in this case in the fashion world. Adapt to your environment while allowing Jesus to continue to nourish and grow you. And when you open your 94,000 square foot store in the middle of New York, spread the Gospel.
This is the very definition of planting yourself by the spring of living water, allowing His Spirit to grow you strong, producing sweet fruit. And this sweet fruit, is sometimes souring. The very name of Jesus, or the message that Jesus loves you offends the hearts and souls of those who are not dwelling in the same spring.
On this earth, Jesus offended. When he spoke to the multitudes half believed, the other half left shaking their heads. Those are the same people who walk out of Forever 21 shaking their head. Offended at the many creative means that God uses to spread his message.
Oak, pecan, pine, maple, elm, olive. All trees, all different expressions of Jesus’ amazing love, in their own way, in their own forest, in God’s perfect timing.
Are you a tree? Do you see yourself being built by God to spread the message to those within your influence at exactly the right moment–share with us how!!
The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:12
Cody asked me, “Do you think the kumquat tree I planted yesterday will grow?”
“Where did you get the seed from?” I asked him
“Umm mom, from the middle of a kumquat!” Duh?!!!
God is so amazing in his design. Not only did he give us the nutrients we need from the ground, he created fruit capable of reproducing itself. He gave us the fruit “with seed in them after their own kind.”
As we produce fruit, we also have seed after our own kind. Our seed is capable of going deep in the lives of others. When we choose to let Christ feed and water our soil from the very roots of our heart, our lives produce a fruit bound in righteousness. Those in our lives who partake in that fruit become the soil for the seeds of goodness to fall and root in the depths of the hearts of others.
Likewise, if our actions prove destructive, filled with anger, addiction, bitterness, self-hatred, those closest to us will bear the seed of our hurtful behaviors. Instead of multiplying strong trees with a foundation in Christ, we will be responsible for the planting of weeds, stickers and thorns that dwindle away what little nutrients is in that habitat–that child, that husband, that wife, that friend.
God created us to live in community. We have part ownership in the community we surround ourselves with because we determine, by our fruit what seeds are planted. So ask yourself:
Are my kids disrespectful because they see me yelling in traffic –my seeds, my fruit?
Does my husband not show love to me because I don’t show respect to him–my seeds, my fruit?
Do my adult children struggle being around me because of my critical spirit–my seeds, my fruit?
Is it difficult for friends to trust me because I don’t trust anyone–my seeds, my fruit?
Does my wife not desire to take care of me because of my demands–my seeds, my fruit?
Insure that the fruit that is produced from your life is goodness by planting your roots deep in Jesus.
Question: Did you realize that the seeds of your behavior are being planted in everyone around you?