Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
This one sentence is full of the bread of life. These words of Jesus justify a full hour of preaching rather than one minute of reading. But there is one key point I will illuminate today. Jesus spoke those words to His small group of disciples, not to the crowd. The crowd numbered in the thousands but his disciples were a small band that followed Him.
Power and strength is often measured in physical size, i.e. numbers, weight, volume, dollars, etc. ‘Little flock’ does not denote strength in the natural realm. The disciples knew they were small in number but throughout Luke 12:22-34 Jesus encouraged them not to worry or be concerned but to be assured that their Father would care for them.
Fear is the biggest limiting factor to walking in the fullness of Christ, to walking out your call and purpose, and to overcoming danger that threatens you. Danger is anything that you perceive to threaten your well-being. Danger is always present in life, but we choose how to respond to it. We choose whether or not to embrace fear. In fear we fail. In fear we falter. In fear that we fall back from that which the Lord has called us forward. The size of our church, ministry, business, bank account, or sphere of influence does not determine our response to danger. It does not determine our level of fear. In fact, if we think we are safe because of our size, numbers, weight, or bank account we place our trust in a faulty foundation. It is the dimensions of the Kingdom of God in us that determines our response to danger.
The words following his admonition are ‘because your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom’. Jesus implied we were not to be afraid of physical measurements of danger. Why?...because the physical stature of danger can never measure up to the stature of His Kingdom in us. The kingdom of God in us is bigger than any danger around us. The reason we don’t have to fear is the Kingdom! His kingdom in us can overcome any opposition; spiritual or natural. His kingdom in us carries the fullness of grace and love that can put away fear…IF we embrace that grace and love.
The Word of God says it is only perfected (fully mature) love that puts away fear (1John 4:18). This scripture simply says that as His love is fully mature, perfected, made complete in us, there is no room for fear in the face danger. This is the love of the Kingdom of God! If we have fear of anything, except the awesome, reverential fear of God, we have not fully embraced, grown in, and matured in the love of the Father in us. It is not size, dimension, volume, or numbers of people following us that will put away fear. It is His love fully developed in us that puts away fear.
Be encouraged today that no matter what danger you may see on the horizon, His perfect love fully grown IN us moves fear out of the way and fills our heart space with kingdom confidence. Be encouraged that every fear you have in life, whether relational, physical, financial, or spiritual can be put away. His Kingdom in us…His love in us...can fill every nook and cranny of your heart to move fear out of the way. Embrace and absorb the Father’s love! Allow it to fully grow and mature. As you do so the Kingdom will bring peace and confidence in the face of danger. It will empower you to overcome everything that lies before you.
O you of little faith! Do not set your hearts on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well. ~ Luke 12:29-31
A few verses earlier Jesus says don’t worry about ‘life’. His words challenge the focus for daily living. They challenge our priorities for life itself.
Jesus brings forth two key challenges: First, to NOT set our hearts on or worry about the normal needs of life, i.e. food, drink, clothes, etc. To ‘set your heart on’ means to seek after by meditating upon something. To ‘worry’ means to have a troubled or unsettled mind about something. Jesus….were you serious about those words?! Whether you live in Africa or America, rich or poor, that is an extreme challenge. The human tendency is to focus on things of the temporal realm that either make us comfortable or satisfy a desire of body or soul. Food, drink and clothing are all tangible aspects of living on this earth. They are needs of every person.
His second challenge is ‘seek His Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.’ Most believers spend considerable time focused on temporal things because they are visible and appeal to the 5 senses on a continual basis. But to seek His kingdom is to tap into the unseen realm; the spiritual realm, the heavenly realm. Jesus says this MUST be our priority if we are to distinguish ourselves from pagans! Wow! If we seek first food, drink and clothing and worry about life, we blend into the pagan world system. Jesus did not say ‘seek after food, drink, clothes; worry about your life and the Kingdom will be given to you as well’.
We have the power to provide food, drink and clothing by ourselves and for ourselves, if we focus our time and energy on those things. The vast majority of the world does this. However, when that is where we set our hearts and the focus of our minds, we become our own provider. We become our own Kingdom…a kingdom of worry and self-sufficiency to meet every need and desire.
Jesus’ words declare a kingdom principle that is extreme…seek first, put first, pursue all things that relate to the Kingdom of God AND THEN other things we need will be given to us. The secret to not worrying is found in our seeking, pursuing, and setting our hearts on the Kingdom and His presence. As we do so there is little room for worry and fretting about other things. His presence consumes all the space!
In this Kingdom, God is our provider. He is our sufficiency. He is our sustainer of life. If we truly desire to live the extreme life of the Kingdom of God, we must take these words seriously. We can operate in faith and not presumption. We can practice ‘seeking His Kingdom’ as our top priority, allowing Him to show Himself faithful to provide the temporal things. God’s grace makes room for every person, every leader, every believer to grow into the fullness of living in His kingdom. It is only then that we live with clarity and contrast to the world around us. We will live extremely in His kingdom.