The Kingdom of God is built on an exchange system. Our rags for his riches, our sins for his forgiveness, our hurt for his healing. This is the message of the Gospel! The life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus makes a way to replace everything sin has brought upon us. But the exchange doesn't stop with our salvation and healing. The exchange is life-long process for those committed to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus will ask you for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in your life; it's the process of our sanctification--setting us apart for Him. Upon salvation and surrendering to Jesus, we are giving Jesus permission to rule and reign in our lives. It means our lives are no longer our own. Our finances, plans, job, kids, marriage, even our hobbies and entertainment are to be given to the lordship of Jesus. This sounds controlling and manipulative to those outside of the Kingdom, even to some Christians. Many want to have both the salvation of Jesus and the freedom to do what they want. But Scripture calls that a double-minded man, and has a lot to say about that--none of it good (go take a look). To be truly surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus is to let him tell you what needs to be given to him.
God is a very gracious and patient Father. He doesn't expect us to be perfected in a day. He takes us through the process over our life-time. But many people don't understand that when God is asking you to give him something, it is in exchange for something greater. When he asks you to give him your free time, to give up watching TV or certain shows, it's not to deprive you of fun. When God asks you to give a generous amount of money to a ministry or a person, it's not to deprive you of your needs. When surrendering your job or business to pursue what he has called you to, it's not to make you miserable. Every "ask" from the Good Father comes with an exchange for something greater from His Kingdom.
If someone were to say to you, "I have a brand new version of your car, with all the upgrades; it has that new car smell, and comes with a life-time warranty for all parts. You just have to give me the keys to your old car and it's yours" I am pretty sure you would take it. Right? Who wouldn't take a free upgrade? But our perception of God is stained by experiences with imperfect people. We often have a wounded view of our Heavenly Father so we doubt, don't trust, or just don't even hear him when he talks to us. In the extreme case, some think God is just trying to control, manipulate, and deprive them. And yet if you examine the entirety of Scripture, you won't find one example of God taking something away just to cause hurt, loss, or depravity. Without turning this into a book about the goodness of God, every example of "taking" something away has resulted in greater peace, riches, provision, protection, healing, wholeness, joy, and fulfillment of promise. But we have to be willing to hand over the old keys to get the new ones. Sometimes the reward of our surrender isn't fully seen here in this lifetime. Some riches will be eternal in nature. But think about it--would you rather have a reward that lasts 50-60 years, or one that you have for eternity?
There is no such thing as "loss" in the Kingdom of Heaven. There is surrender unto victory, provision, healing, and empowerment. It is a big thing to give up our businesses, friends, family, familiarity of home, and most of our possessions to answer God's call. But it's not a loss. If we didn't give up our house here, we could never receive the house in Newcastle. If we weren't willing to say good-bye to our friends and family here, we couldn't gain the friendship and family of Centre 61. If we were not willing to leave the perceived security of stable jobs and businesses, we would never gain the faith to trust in God's complete provision. Every ask comes with an even greater reward. To receive it we have to go through a continual process of renewing our mind, allowing Jesus to heal our wounds, and even get delivered of strongholds and demonic oppression keeping us from experiencing the fullness of God's Kingdom.
This past Sunday at Sozo Church we were commissioned to go. This commissioning cost us the surrender of our lives. That is all that some people see. "I could never leave the security of my job!" "I love my life here. My family...my house...my friends..." The excuse for not being willing to hear God's call is the very thing he is trying to upgrade. He wants to exchange the world's poor imitation of life for the real thing.
You can love your life unto death, or you can love your death unto life. Because only in the kingdom of God does death produce life. The world and God's Kingdom are opposite in every way. The world says you have to earn your reward and riches. But God says, "Die to yourself and I will give you the inheritance of Heaven." It has already been earned, but not by you. Jesus has already won the prize. The only way to share in it is to share in his death.
So what is God asking you to lay down and why don't you want to do it? I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you what is holding you back from the next level of surrender, that you would experience the riches of Heaven in your life. What could he have waiting for you?
We go on October 17th. We say good-bye to a lot, but we aren't losing anything. We are gaining an inheritance that we can't earn any other way. Will you join us? You can partner financially and share in the reward of the harvest. Every person that has partnered with us already has said yes to what God has in exchange for them. Will you be next?
Click here to join us!