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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 11/21/18

Seek the Kingdom

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STORY: The Leader in You

I’ll never forget the day my junior high science teacher pulled me aside in the hall and locked eyes with me. I knew this was serious. Today’s vernacular would call it an intervention. She told me I had tremendous talent and I was wasting it all away because I was making the wrong choices. She suggested I activate my leadership talent by running for student council. I didn’t even know I had leadership talent. That conversation was a pivotal point in my life. (Once I finished trembling!)

She recognized something in me I didn’t see in myself. I ran for office — and won. From there, I learned more about leadership and it propelled me into what I’ve continued to pursue throughout life. But it wasn’t the political career she dreamed of for me.

Our country has recently survived (barely) a particularly brutal political season. One thing that has kept me calm and helped me carry on is knowing that it’s not this kingdom that matters. God’s kingdom is the one requiring my focus. Something that helps me with this is realizing if a perceived priority doesn’t “play out” in third world countries, it’s not a concern I need to fixate on. But if I focus on God’s Kingdom agenda — that’s something that matters no matter where I am — no matter who I help.

One thing that helps me seek the Kingdom of God is to meditate on each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, or the “Our Father.” A phrase that sticks out is praying for God’s Kingdom to come, His will be done, “On earth as it is in heaven.” When I’m not sure what’s important, I can go to the Lord’s Prayer and figure it out.

When I was a junior high girl I didn’t make the best choices. But that intervention sparked a fire in me to seek the Kingdom. The best way I can be a leader is to be a servant.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” –Max De Pree.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, let’s remember the importance of seeking, serving, and saying thank you.

STUDY: Seek First

"For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)

  • Jesus knew all humanity was lost without Him, so He came to give them everything they need to be found.
  • Since all are lost, it wasn’t so much looking for someone who was spiritually separated from the Father. It was more about seeking those who were ready to be found. We have to realize we are lost before we can be found — that we need a Savior before we can be saved.
  • What is the significance of Jesus being called “Son of Man” in the Bible? How does it contrast to the passages that call him “Son of God”?
  • For you personally, what does it mean when you think of Jesus seeking you out? Of Jesus saving you? When you seek Him, you are found! You are rescued!

But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” John 6:27 (NLT)

  • Jesus addressed a common human struggle — worrying about daily concerns. He points out they are temporary. What concerns do you have tormenting your head and heart right now?
  • What does Jesus want you to spend your energy doing instead?
  • What happens when you switch your focus from something temporary to something that has an eternal outcome?
  • Part of the search and rescue process is for the one who is lost to want to be saved. Notice in this passage it says to seek the eternal life that Jesus can give you. It doesn’t say, “gives you.” The “can” in this passage means salvation is available, but it’s up to us to receive it.
  • What does God’s “seal of approval” mean to you?

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. Luke 12:31 (NLT)

  • To practice these verses, determine that the main motivating factor in your life is the act of yielding to God’s authority and helping others accept God’s love gift.
  • What is God’s Kingdom agenda? What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God? Why do you think it’s important to seek it above all else? What happens when you notice it slips from that number one priority in your life?
  • How does living righteously help you as you seek the Kingdom of God? How does it help you identify your true needs?

STEPS: Finding God/Serving Others

  1. Seek. Bump all other concerns to the bottom of the list and seek first the things of God. When you do this, you are in the right mind-space to do #2 and #3.
  2. Serve. Serve someone who doesn’t expect it, and possibly doesn’t deserve it. Someone who isn’t in the position to serve you back.
  3. Say thank you. Remember why you are grateful. When you know the “why” you will have a burning desire to thank those who propelled you to that why.

Copyright © 2018 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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