Worship is essential to establishing the Government of God. The Lord’s prayer begins with ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.(Matt. 6:9,10) Jesus taught us that the coming of His kingdom down here begins with recognizing and declaring the Father’s heavenly status and holiness. The word ‘hallowed’ means ‘set apart as holy, honored greatly, revered’. Jesus is saying we are to worship Him for who He is; the awesome, holy, revered Father to be greatly honored!!!
The first time Jesus was truly worshiped as God was after his resurrection when the women at the empty tomb ‘clasped his feet and worshiped him’.(Matt. 28:8) They worshiped Him at his ascension.( Luke 24:53) The divine, messianic fullness of Jesus came forth at his resurrection and ascension. He was worthy of our worship! The fullness of God’s grace became real! There could be no doubt that HE IS GOD.
Worshiping Him is not an event; it’s a lifestyle. As a pastor I greatly value our worship of the Lord through music in our home church. It stirs me, excites me, and releases God’s goodness and gifting from within me every time. We allow freedom in the flow to accomplish the prophetic purpose of our worship through music. I love it!!!! However, I cannot confine my worship or my concept of worship to that brief time on Sunday. Nor can I confine it to any other music related time I spend with Him. That would put worship in a music box. Paul told the Romans ‘I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship’. (Rom. 12:1) Paul is saying that true worship is the daily offering of ourselves completely in response to the incredible grace and mercy offered to us. As a leader I need goodness and gifting to be released every day of the week. Worship is the outward manifestation of an inward transformation. It is a lifestyle not an event!!
What we treasure is what we worship. The Bible is very clear that anything we truly value in our heart will be revealed outwardly. The treasure of our heart defines our focus and we will seek it and speak it. (Matt.6:21; Luke 6:45) It (whatever or whomever it is) becomes, in a sense, an object of our worship. What is your treasure?
As leaders we are called to lead in worshiping the Father as the treasure of our hearts. We do it sacrificially. We do it outwardly. We do it boldly. It is the lifestyle of worship. In so doing the kingdom of God and His will is done IN US! Then………………. we see His government established in us and flowing through us to accomplish His Kingdom purposes here on earth. Leaders: pursue a lifestyle of worship if you desire the Government of God to be established in your life.
Leaders love the unlovable. Leadership is different than friendship. We choose our friends. We don’t always choose the people we lead. In fact leaders often lead people who seem unlovable. People come into our sphere of influence for various reasons, but two reasons are paramount; to bring influence into their lives and to bring their influence into our lives. This often stretches us as leaders.
As people come into our sphere of influence our intrinsic leadership nature is to impart something to them. However, occasionally we find someone who presents every rough, abrasive element of personality that absolutely grates on us……we feel no warm, affectionate emotion toward them. Let’s be real here! It’s true! Don’t get religious and say you don’t experience this in your leadership! But here’s the revelation …….love does not require affectionate emotion, but it does require benevolent intention.
The New Testament primarily uses 3 Greek words for ‘love’; phileo is an emotional, affectionate love; storge is a familial, brotherly love; and agape is a supernatural, intentional love. Agape is a moral, dutiful benevolence irrespective of emotion or family status. It shows the benevolent in the face of the malevolent. It is intentional. All true, authentic leadership is rooted in agape toward those we lead in spite of emotions we feel. Paul prayed this: ‘And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge---that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’(Eph. 3:17)
If we desire to have the Government of God established in our churches, businesses, and governments, we must embrace the establishment of love (agape) in hearts toward people we lead, especially those who seem unlovable! Very often they are there to stretch and mature US! Loving the lovable is easy, but God asks that we stretch to love the unlovable. Note in this verse that establishing love brings power and the ‘fullness’ of God. The fullness of Christ is the fullness of God’s government IN YOU. Authentic agape therefore requires benevolent intention from YOU. You must decide to S T R E T C H? Decide today to stretch yourself in the loving the unlovable. You will establish God’s government in you and in your governing.
Today I continue the series ‘Establishing the Government of God’. One of the great challenges of leadership is leading people through change. Human nature does not like change, especially personal change affecting hearts and minds. Business and government leaders struggle to motivate people through the change process. Large companies send leaders to weeks of leadership training on how to lead people through change. Why? Because most people will resist change if they think it will affect them in any way.
Church leaders face this challenge as well; the difference being that business and government can and will force the change via organizational rules and job performance standards. Leaders of the church have encouragement, prayer, teaching, casting vision, etc. to motivate people in the direction God would have them go. There are no church member performance standards that say ‘change or we won’t let you tithe here anymore!!!' Many people leave churches and ministries because of change. If ‘change’ requires transformation of heart and mind, there will be resistance!!
Moses had a big challenge getting Israel out of Egypt, even though freedom from slavery was the offered vision. He had great challenges keeping people moving toward the Promised Land rather than moving back to Pharaoh’s land. Paul offered the message of grace to the Jews and was beaten, mocked, jailed, tortured, and finally killed. That kind of change elicited that kind of resistance. Martin Luther offered change to ‘justification by faith’ encountering great resistance in the Catholic Church. The reluctance to change is the same today as it was thousands of years ago. The knowns of the present seem better than the unknowns of the future change process.
A life in God is a life that is always changing; changing toward something better. A life following Christ is a life continually being transformed into His image. He leads us into many uncomfortable places for two reasons; our good and the good of the Kingdom. ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’(Luke 9:23, 24) The cross is the process of change. Change occurs instantaneously in our spirit upon being born-again. It occurs in our soul and body over time as we embrace change; i.e. take up our cross daily. To establish the ‘government of God’ in your life, you must embrace the process of the cross, the process of continual transformation of soul. The human nature will resist it. The spirit nature will embrace it. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, so you don’t have to be the same; same problems….same mindset….same anxiety….same….same …..same. He say’s ‘take up the cross of change and as you change My ‘government’ will be established in you. Be encouraged leaders! The Jews made it to the Promised Land! Martin Luther’s leadership started a change that today has the growth of non-Catholic Christian churches increasing about 4 times the rate of that of the Catholic faith. And, the fledgling church, for which Paul suffered greatly, now comprises 2.2 billion people. Leaders; preach the cross of change; change into the image of Christ; the continual transformation that establishes the government of God in the hearts and minds of the people!