By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God…” (Acts 14:22b; capitalization mine)
In lieu of what has been going on in America, it is difficult to believe that many of those who have taken moral, theological and philosophical positions contradictory to the Word of God are members of the Church or the Body of Christ. And many of them do call themselves “Christians.” Observing their behavior the confusion is certainly easy to understand.
But it is crucial for all to understand that being a member of the Church and doing Kingdom Living are two different things. We all know those who have been involved in church life for years but as we observe the way they live, it is clear that many of us say one thing but live another.
Exactly what is Kingdom Living?
Kingdom living in this day and time means always moving against the social flow. The world is determined to please itself and we, those doing Kingdom living, are determined to please God. Kingdom living is not the church accommodating a popular theology but contending for the gospel as revealed by Christ Jesus and the Apostles. Kingdom living is believing the Word of God is the final determination when it comes to questions of morality, marriage, and sexual orientation.
We are living in a time when people want to believe that God is limited in His understanding and His prescience capability. That He did not see this time coming and was not expecting the growing acceptance of gay marriage, transgender behaviors and males cross dressing. One of the main attributes of God is that He knows everything that was, and is and will be. So He knew this would happen. Kingdom living is embracing that truth completely. God ain’t surprised at anything we do. The Bible teaches us God can see our thoughts. That renders the discussion about the Church needing to accept these heresies without merit. The Church does not need to and should not allow social pressure to induce theological compromises on these very important issues. To do so would deny the very divine and errorless nature of God.
Some may find that unacceptable but the church is not meant to be user friendly, it is meant to be a place of Christ based transformation. Come as you are does not mean stay as you are. God’s Grace is more than enough to help us through any difficulty in our lives. That too is an element of Kingdom living.
This means that even if we believe we have been born homosexual or the wrong gender or criminal by nature, God’s Grace can enable us to fulfill Christ’s expectations in our lives. Will it be a struggle? Yes, it will. Can we do it? Yes, we can.
Many of us are in struggles every day with who we are and behaviors we would embrace were it not for the Grace of God. These behaviors do not get the publicity or notice of homosexuality or wanting to be transgender but they are real struggles nonetheless.
Kingdom living means having to defend your faith from those determined to label you insensitive, bigoted, intolerant, or socially archaic in your thinking. It means dispelling the belief that the God you worship is a God who doesn’t know what He created or why. That has a human arrogance to it that cannot be categorized. Suddenly the creation knows more than the Creator.
Pastors too are called to Kingdom living. Pastors more than any member of any church, are called to represent Christ and His expectations as the Bible has listed them. Kingdom living pastors cannot want to please the world more than they want to please the Father or His Son or the Holy Spirit within them. They cannot want to fill seats more than wanting to be filled with righteousness. Too many of our pastors prefer popularity to righteousness and are fearful of man more than committed to Christ.
Kingdom living involves every area of our lives: marriage, child rearing, politics, economics, education, entertainment, fashion, music; the movies we go to and the television programs we watch. After all, ask yourself: whose vision is television?
Finally there is this: we should not be surprised at what the world does nor in dismay about it, God has told us “the end is not yet,” and these things must be before the end comes.
And the end is coming. Maybe sooner and maybe later, but come it will. Think about it.