His Kingdom first. People all over the world have a very familiar and similar reality. Each of us rise each day and face our individual circumstance, which, with little variation, is full of griefs and struggles and some comforts. How perfectly ordinary we are when we look for a path of peace, even if it means side stepping and avoiding the troubles of others. Even if it means being silent when our voice might make a difference for someone else. After all, is life not full enough of our own sorrows? Must we court trouble and seek entanglements that would only make it worse for us? It is precisely these truths that leave the world a place where justice is rare, compassion is thread bare and truth is merely a casualty of each new day. Yet for those who believe, this must not be so. When we trust Jesus, when we accept his sacrifice, we lay our live at the foot of the cross and we whisper in prayer ‘thy will be done’. The moment our concern shifts to his kingdom, the father of all compassion turns our attention away from ultimate glory to things more mundane: the aching souls around us. Yes, the neglect and ferocity of the human struggle we all share has left the world a hurting place where the masses cry out for relief. To know the kingdom is to be the kingdom We who believe must turn our hearts to the will of God alone and trust our struggle to him. JB Phillips was a terrific bible translator, one of the driving forces of the ‘Living Bible’ translation, he had a marvelous version of the epistle of James. James was the brother of Jesus, and he only began to follow Jesus as Lord after the resurrection, when Jesus went to him. Certainly James knew Jesus died as a criminal, and perhaps even stood off in the distance during the final moments of his brothers life. He must of walked away sad and disgusted. He probably thought ‘Jesus should have listened to my warnings’, or perhaps not. Yet, he certainly did not believe Jesus was God’s own son on the day that his brother died on that cross. Yet, after Jesus arose, after Jesus showed himself to the disciples and set his ministry in motion, Jesus turned his attention to his own family and he went to James. Can you imagine how radical that moment must have been in the life of James the brother of Jesus? Is it any wonder then that James, above all men had a distinctive view on facing human trials even as all of humanity stands on the threshold of eternity where Jesus will reign forever? Read the Phillips translation of James 1:2-3 with all of this in mind:
"When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God’s help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn."
Is it not plain? We must focus on the Kingdom.
To know the kingdom we must be the Kingdom. So today, when you pray that God’s will be done, let your heart be single minded, knowing God cares for each of us in our troubles and perhaps today your personal answer from God is for you to be the kingdom to someone who desperately needs the touch of God. Seek first the kingdom and be salt and light during the journey here below.