To be the strongest, you must acknowledge and boast in your weakness.
In order to be first, you must mentally choose and physically act to be last.
Love what your mind naturally tells you to hate – especially those people who have acted against you.
Worry about nothing… and in the place of worry, pursue your Creator.
Want to save your life? Deny yourself and give up your life.
Want to build a future that will last forever, that neither wind, nor rain, nor fire, nor death can destroy? Feel and show JOY when people are hostile towards you and say all kinds of horrible things about you.
Set your gaze on the one who became what we are so we could become what he is.
These are the characteristics of the upside down kingdom – the kingdom that you and I wear crowns in. We were meant to be rulers. We were meant to create and to flourish; to love fiercely and adventure greatly. We were designed to rule and reign and constantly worship with everything we have within us.
…and then we fell. Instead of trusting the forever right answer, the source of all wisdom and knowledge and justice and love, we decided we wanted to declare what is right and wrong for ourselves.
And here we are. Immersed in the destruction of that damned decision. We unleashed hell on earth. Bloodshed at every turn – new wars, genocide, rape, murder, corruption, hate, sickness, and sadness.
Power, control, money, and fame – things that we weren’t made for, are objects of our obsession, worship, and future hope – as we idolize celebrities, fight with each other over corrupt political candidates, crave social media attention, and stay enslaved to the dollar through the sacred moments of our lives.
We take marriage vows that we keep, as long as it doesn’t get too uncomfortable.
Our own image bearers that share our DNA are slaughtered, by our own choice, and paid for by our own hands.
We take the things we’ve been given for granted and look ahead for that very. next. thing. that *surely* will bring the happiness we are so desperate for.
We satisfy our desires with the push of a button or the exchange of cash, forgetting that that body on the other side is someone’s daughter, sister, mother… she is a human with hopes and dreams, heartbreak and tragedy.
We neglect the place we’ve been given to reign over… the creatures we’ve been given to live amongst… and most of all, the fellow image bearers around us because, well, “they were born on that side of the border”, “we can’t understand them because they speak another language”, “we were here first”, “they do things different”, “if we intervene we’ll sacrifice our own stability”, “we don’t want their influence in our family/community”, etc.
This is what humans do when left to our own wicked hearts – my gain at your expense.
There’s so much devastation, it’s hard to know where to start clearing the muck… until we look in the face of Jesus.
Anyone else would tell you to go and do more! Find places to plug in, see how you can serve those in need, open up your home for someone who doesn’t have a family, run to those under the bridges, visit the prisons, feed the hungry, love the orphan, mentor the fatherless – and while those things are necessary and will play a role in our kingdom work… that’s not where we start.
WE START WITH THE CALL OF THE SAVIOR
THE CALL to make him first before all else in this life – before our spouse, before our children, before our hopes and dreams, before our work, before our phones, before our sexual urges, before our busy schedule, before our sports teams, before our savings account, and even before our past – which often tries to tell us who we are or who we have to be.
THE CALL to seek his face, to KNOW his language, and to listen to his words.
THE CALL to BELIEVE and LIVE that we are utterly helpless – that without his saving work on that cross, we are capable and guilty of the above listed atrocities, and so much more.
THE CALL to TRUST that he, and he alone, can do a mighty work within us to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh; to transform us from beasts of destruction to heirs of royalty.
THE CALL to submit ourselves to this upside down kingdom of familial love for others to the point of sacrificing ourselves.
THE CALL to daily do the dirty work of digging through our own hearts and minds to find and remove the cancerous tumors of pride, greed, lust, control, and idolatry (that magnetic pull to put ANYTHING other than our creator in our #1 spot).
This is our training. This is how we ready for war in a fallen world.
We are called to be warriors in the upside down kingdom, where doing more and working harder and striving to be all that you can be and searching for that goodness way down deep inside is not only never going to be sufficient – but it’s literally going in the opposite direction.
In humility we submit our lives to our upside down king, who won by losing. We boldly declare WE ARE NOT ENOUGH!!! And we trust that he was so much more than enough, his enough covers us too.
We pray as if we are bowing at the feet of Jesus on the throne.
We worship as if we are singing to his glorious face … our eyes locked with his. (Can you even imagine that without sobbing?)
We beg him to help us MOVE and to see others as he does… to treat them with dignity, love, and respect – even those who have greatly wronged us.
We live our lives sacrificially – giving of our time and our resources, not for anything in return, but because we know it’s ALL BEEN GIFTED TO US for kingdom work.
And, we ready for battle. WE MOVE. We do the work of loving our neighbors – of racing to the side of the broken, the wrongdoer, the addict, the depressed, the one in chains, the abused, the neglected, the immigrant, the suffering, the sick, the helpless, the desperate, the weak, the poor, and the lonely.
We look in their eyes, and we fight for them – for their safety, for their security, for their ability to not only survive but to truly LIVE as they were made to do … we fight for their minds – their sanity, their ingrained patterns of destruction, we help to reroute their hopelessness to hope in the only one who can satisfy their greatest thirst… we fight to pluck them from danger. We fight to right the wrongs. We fight to protect. We fight to share how we were rescued, and how it’s our honor to offer that redemption to others.
We wait, pray, and long for His kingdom come. We take advantage of every opportunity to get a taste of the already and the not yet. And we courageously make other people’s problems our problems as we rise to the calling of kingdom warrior and become who we were created to be.
The following video and song BEAUTIFULLY inspired much of this article:
Lindsey is a self-proclaimed walking disaster. She has been married to her high school sweetie pie for 13 years; add in 3 bio babes, + 1 Indian adoption + the lack of even a single domestic bone in her body – and the “walking disaster” part starts to make total sense.
She loves bacon, cowboy boots, rainbow hair, sharing her mess with the world, hispanic culture, INDIA!, spontaneous adventuring sans plans, pickles, travel, religious studies, trying to figure out this whole mama thing, making fun of herself, fighting for people, and being really, reeeally blunt.