Friday, August 19, 2011
Living in God's Upside Down Kingdom
“I think I’m going to be sick. What was she saying? What was I supposed to say?” It was as if my head was submerged under water. I could hear her speaking to me but couldn’t fathom what she was saying.
As I stood in my kitchen that day and listened to my dear friend yell at me, I wondered how we could have gotten to this place.
We had been doing life together for about 5 years, my friend and I - having babies, hanging out as families and doing ministry together. We were the only two women in a world of men and we were allies. But our roles had recently changed and she did not like the decisions I was making. We were no longer allies or even friends and my heart was breaking. Why couldn’t we just work this out? Why did it have to be like this? Didn’t she know me well enough that she could trust that I had her best interest at heart?
I watched as our friendship blew up in my face and could do nothing to stop it.
I met with a mentor as I wrestled through what God wanted me to do in regards to our relationship. As we were discussing the situation my mentor made a statement I’ve never forgotten. He said, “What you’re seeing here, Kristi, is the purest form of legalism – she is saying “it’s my way or the highway”. God’s answer to legalism is grace. And I believe God has given you an extra measure of grace to reach out to her and draw her back into fellowship. But with that grace I believe that God is calling you to take the higher road, to humble yourself and go to her and seek to restore your friendship.” I remember thinking at the time, “This is completely opposite of what the world would tell me to do. The world would say, ‘she did you wrong, run as far away from her as possible. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be treated like that.’” But I knew in my heart he was right, that God was calling me to lay down my life for her and to go to her in humility and grace.
I wish I could tell you that our relationship was restored but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. But what I do know, is that I did what God was calling me to do even though it was completely upside down from what the world would say I should do. And through my obedience He blessed me.
In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about what it looks like to live in His Upside Down Kingdom. Listen to His Words . . .
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (Matthew 5:3,10 NLV)
Jesus goes on to say further in the chapter, “But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. . . You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:39-40, 43-44 NLV)
When we follow Jesus, He calls us to a higher path - a road less followed, a road of radical obedience to His WAY.
The world will tell you that you will be walked on if you do things His way that you will be trapped and misused, if you hold to that kind of lifestyle.
But Jesus says that living in His Kingdom sets us apart and shows the world that we are different! The truth is that when we live in His Upside Down Kingdom we experience a life of true blessing and freedom!