Every so often in the course of history there are individuals born who defy common reason and statistical explanation. These are the great ones, who break the tether of their generation’s expectations and rise to the high call that seems to echo from somewhere beyond the grave.
The prophets of old peered into the future and spoke of these violent ones who would force their way into the Kingdom, take hold of Heaven and pull it down to earth. These reigning saints refuse to have their exploits be a mere reflection of the past, but instead break the gravitational barriers of naysayers and doubters, and journey far beyond the boundaries of reason into places where no one has ever gone before. Ultimately they capture the prize of the upward call of God that lies in Christ Jesus. These are God’s history makers, the Lord’s chosen people, His mighty men, His holy nation.
Many of us can feel the vacuum of this vortex drawing our hearts into this divine destiny. We find our inner man longing, stirring, and burning for the great adventure. Live or die, we must press through the walls of mediocrity and find the Promised Land of our souls. We live with a passion to be numbered among those who have gained fame in the halls of Heaven and are feared among the prison guards of hell. If we are going to walk as God’s ruling royalty, we have to:
Pray unceasingly. Give sacrificially. Dream unreasonably. Serve wholeheartedly. Love unashamedly. Walk innocently. Believe undoubtingly. Live powerfully.
These are the qualities of the Bride of Christ in all of her glory. She is called to be the most creative force on the face of the earth. Therefore, we must not allow ourselves to become known for our boxes, that is, famous for what we don’t do because of our “righteous” constrictions. Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin had certain moral values that restrained their behavior, but they were famous for what they did, not for what they didn’t do! It would be tragic if the most creative people on the face of the earth allowed themselves to be reduced to rent-a-cops guarding a box (The Ark of the Covenant) that God vacated 2,000 years ago.
The truth is that if we don’t take our rightful place in the earth, we will relegate sinners, void of the mind of Christ, barred from the wisdom of the ages, and wandering in utter darkness, to being the most brilliant minds of our time! If the brightest light in this world belonged to those locked in darkness, how great would the darkness be in our world? Something is fundamentally wrong with this picture, but this is our brain on religion. Religion is like kryptonite to Superman. Religion can conform the most righteous, reigning saints into mindless zombies, puppets repeating someone else’s convictions they don’t even understand themselves.
Attack Of The Clones
I am convinced that religion is the father of genetic cloning. Religion invented cloning long before the world ever thought of it. Religion has a way of sucking the most powerful people on the planet into a spiritual look-a-like contest, calling it discipleship. True discipleship is meant to empower people to be transformed into the image of their Creator, but religion redefines the terms, conforming people into replicas of their leaders. Religion takes God’s mighty men and makes them artifacts in a museum.
Religious people, like the Pharisees of old, have the hardest time reaching out to folks who think “outside of the box” and don’t behave inside their hopeless shackles. Part of the struggle comes from what they have done to the Savior of the world. They have sterilized the gospel. Jesus took water and turned it to wine, but 2,000 years later, today’s Pharisees have diluted it to grape juice. Religion has reduced the supernatural power of God to a history lesson about serving the dead body of a helpless Christ who, still nailed to the Cross, is incapable of rocking their sacred boat. They emphasize the drowning of baptism, arguing over how people should get wet and what should be said over them during their dipping. Religious people have lost touch with the fact that the bold print of baptism is not on the descent but on the ascension. The death of Christ paid for our sins, but it was His resurrection that gave life to our mortal bodies. Religion embraces death sadistically and moves the risen Christ out of the garden and back to the tomb. Religious people pray things like “God, kill me,” not realizing that even the One who came to give His life as a ransom for us all prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup (of death) from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus did not want to die; He wanted to do His Father’s will. If religion had its way, it would rewrite Mary’s proclamation to read, “He is in the tomb just where we laid Him!” We have lost sight of the fact that the Cross was for the old man not the new man, and that the true Christian life is not about dying for Christ, but living in the life He purchased for us to establish His Kingdom on earth! The Church must shake off the shackles of religion and embrace our supernatural destiny.
The world is crying out in distress, and we must not miss this kairos moment, the opportunity of the ages. In the late sixties, the Beatles took America by storm. In a few short years, four boys from Liverpool altered the course of our nation’s history. Soon after, the world was swept into the wake of their anointing—all while they were singing “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” But it wasn’t long before the Fab Four started to experience a crisis in their own souls. They began to cry out in desperation, singing:
Help, I need somebody Help, not just anybody Help, you know I need someone, help When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way. But now those days are gone, I’m not so self-assured Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors Help me if you can, I’m feeling down And I do appreciate you being ‘round Help me get my feet back on the ground. Won’t you please, please help me Help me, help me, ooh.
Help! lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
But their cry for help fell on deaf ears in the sanctuary of hope, and soon they were calling Hare Krishna their “sweet lord.” The Church can’t afford to fall asleep in the harvest today as we have done so many times in the past. We are not supposed to reflect our culture; we are commissioned to transform it.
We are called to disciple all the nations of the world. Discipling nations means submerging them in God–not religion–and “teaching them all I commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Teaching nations how to think is the transformational catalyst to changing cultures. But as long as Christians aren’t valued in society, they will have no influence in the world. (You only have as much influence in people’s lives as they have value for you. Anytime you try to have more influence than someone has value for you, you will manipulate them.) It is imperative that we become kings who understand the ways royal people influence authority. Otherwise, we will reduce ourselves to social begging, hoping that the BIG, powerful people feel compassion for us and help our cause. This poisonous poverty mindset reduces the Christian message to a cry for help instead of a call for leadership. We don’t need nations to change for our sake. We have a living, abiding, unshakable Kingdom that dwells within us and prospers under all circumstances. We need the nations to change for the sake of those still lost in darkness. They need the culture around them to create a safe environment for them until they get the Kingdom within them.
This cultural begging has relegated the Kingdom of God to a subculture. God never intended Christianity to be a subculture. Subcultures are those cultures that are subservient to a more powerful culture. The world’s commentary on the first century Church reflects the true influence we are meant to have in society. They proclaimed, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6 NKJV). We are called to turn the world around and set it back on its feet again. We are to be counter-culture until the mindset of the nations begins to take on the attitude of the Kingdom. Christians are not subservient to the world because God has assigned us the highest level of authority that exists on this planet. When Christians lose their desire and courage to confront the evils of our day honorably, we begin to be influenced by the lying principalities that are also commissioned to disciple the nations, but with an antichrist agenda. These demonic forces work to dethrone the Prince of Peace, who is the rightful prince of the principles that make societies prosper, and instead enthrone the prince of darkness. Consequently, the enabling principles of a culture become demonically inspired instead of Kingdom in-Spirited. This dark prince works to establish evil thinking that leads to destructive behaviors. But when Jesus rules, He enables the principles of the King to transform the culture through the mind of Christ. In other words, people in a nation governed by the Kingdom begin to think like God!
However, it is important that we learn how to carry His power and authority. If we believers become combative instead of honorably confronting, we will reduce our influence to the small pond of the church and render ourselves powerless in the ocean of humanity. We are to carry God’s authority into the lives of people and nations through invitation, not through intrusion or invasion. Although we are called to be combative to the powers of darkness, we are to be honorably confronting to people, demonstrating the benefits and rewards of a superior Kingdom.