While their are many nations on this Earth and their have been many kingdoms that have populated and ruled it through the generations, their are really only two kingdoms: The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. The Kingdom of God brings life and prosperity, leading us to realize our greatest levels of potential. The kingdom of this world drains us of spiritual and temporal vitality, pulls prosperity from our fingertips and scatters our potential to the four winds. The Kingdom of God offers a place at the master's table. The kingdom of this world enslaves us in bondage and degradation. It is clear, then, we must pursue the Kingdom of God and rid ourselves of the kingdom of this world. But How?
1. Build First, Fight Next
It might seem contrary, but Proverbs 24 starts us out by building our house before we make war (v.3). A common thought of most people in need of Christ is, "Once I get rid of [insert sinful lifestyle], I'll start living for Christ." This line of thinking isn't only reserved for newly saved Christians. A lot of saints won't establish themselves in ministry because there are too many things they have to get set first before they can build. The enemy is wearing them out and they don't have the opportunity to advance in Christ. However, Christ wants us to get started now. He wants us to build our relationship with Him now, even if we are still fighting demons and struggles. Christ said for us to come to Him when we are heavy burdened, not once we've gotten everything straight (Matthew 11:28). Christ wants us to build His Kingdom in our lives even though the devil still seems to have a foothold in our lives. This strategy was used by another person in a pivotal time period for the people of God.
Nehemiah had the Children of Israel rebuild Jerusalem in the face of surrounding enemies. Not long after Israel had returned to their promised land, the enemy came to pick a fight. They knew that if they could draw Israel out, they had the numbers and the strength to overcome them. However, Nehemiah used wisdom. He knew they had a mandate from the king of Persia. Nobody could touch them as long as they didn't initiate conflict.
Don't Give In, Stand Firm
After we've made a commitment to grow in God, we don't have to be afraid when the enemy tries to intimidate us. Whether we are starting from salvation or going into a new depth of ministry, the enemy wants to step onto our territory, but we aren't called to fight him while we build on what God has given us. God's mandate will prevent the enemy from tearing down the promises God has given us. He'll have to stand on the fringes and watch us grow. Sure, the enemy will try and intimidate us. He'll try to use fear, lies and even infiltration through a friend to try and get us to do something that releases him to attack. If we stand in faith behind the mandate of God, though, his tactics won't prosper and our promise will be established. It is then when the battle can begin.
2. Take the Fight To The Devil
God doesn't give us a promise to just sit on us. Everything He supplies us with is to grow His Kingdom. In order to grow His Kingdom, we'll have to take territory. In order to take territory, we're going to have to do battle with the enemy. However, much like with building on our promises, we must use wisdom in how we battle the devil. So how do we advance wisely?
Counsel Brings Salvation and Victory
God's wisdom will make us strong and prepared for battle (v. 5). This strength is the Word of God being established in our hearts and minds so its concepts can be produced in our actions. However, that is before we enter into the fray with the enemy. Once we go into battle, there is one thing that allows us to advance the Kingdom of God: counsel.
Counsel is listening to God and trusted others to know what we should do. When you are trying to get a ministry started in your community, praying first is key. However, we must also seek the advice of those who have gone before us. If you are trying to create a Bible Study group, talking to older saints who have led Bible Studies in the past will assist you in how to get started in studying the right scriptures and reaching the right people. If you are trying to work on raising resources for a home missionary, counseling with the Missions Director at your church or somebody who has pledges to missions regularly can get you started in that area.
Finding Safety Amongst The Body
The term safety at the end of verse 5 can mean two things: salvation and victory. We are going to need both if we are to find success on the battlefield. Having people who can tell you about fasting, witnessing, prayer, specific ministry, Bible reading, Bible teaching, etc. is paramount to success. All to often, though, we shy away from asking for help. Some do it because we don't know who to seek. In that case, we need to pray for God to lead us and then talk with our Pastor/Leader for guidance on who to ask. Some shy away because we don't want to trust. In this case, we need to return to scripture:
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1 Thess 5:11)
While our trust must always be in God first, Christ gave us each other to encourage and build each other up. If we are trying to do something in God, having a fellow servant of God to encourage and build us up with wise counsel can only help. If we work together as a united front, encouraging each other in our own gifts and strengths, we will advance the Kingdom of God and push back the devil from our lives and the lives of others.
Seek to build on what promises God has given you.
Don't let the enemy intimidate or trick you into taking your focus from your promise
Let God's mandate work to protect and deliver you from the enemy while you build
Seek God first in what you should do with your promise/gift
Go to a trusted voice (i.e. a pastor/reliable leader) for further guidance on what to do and who to go to for further assistance
Listen intently to all those who God leads you to and apply their godly wisdom to your purpose.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.