Putting God and His Kingdom First

1/24/2003

Hello. My name is Jared, and I have become good friends with some in my city who know you all. I am very, very encouraged. I need your advice on a matter, though, which is heartbreaking. I have been involved in Sunday attendance-meetings for ten years now and am an ex-catholic. God has really opened my eyes to the truth of His heart and His highest about what HE desires for His Bride. Anyhow, this has caused some real conflict between my wife and I. She feels I am putting fellowshipping with Believers before her. She says that the correct order should be God…..Her….our four children……then fellowship with other believers. Can you help me out here? God is drawing me to a closer walk with Him and more daily fellowship with His Family and it sure would be nice if my wife was with me………

Hello Jared…Your wife may be right, if you are truly neglecting her. But, there is another side that is seldom considered, due to the watered-down Laodicean internationally-ubiquitous religious world these days, which governs popularity and the media. Here is a Truth seldom spoken: ACTUALLY, the BEST thing you can ever do for your wife, and for your children—is to make sure that they SEE that GOD AND HIS KINGDOM come first in your life. Many people “talk” a good game (“family devo’s” and youth groups and “attendance” and cell groups and “the works” for years) and then lose their spouses to the world and their children to the corruption of the world. They wonder “what happened?!”

What DID happen? Part of the issue is the “leaven in the batch” which is forbidden by God, but guaranteed in an “attendance” or “meeting-based” religious organization. God ONLY has sanctioned and birthed “Church” to be…Daily Together-Life (1Cor.12, Heb.3:12-14, Acts 2:42-47, Luke 9:57-62). Beyond poor “building” (1Cor.3:10-15) in the church world, there is also the likelihood of poor “building” in the home life. Most frequently we’ve seen, in traveling the world, that biological families only see in the men the hypocrisy of TALKING about Jesus and His Kingdom. Few men are ever seen SPENDING themselves for it, every day and every night, and even WEEKENDS. YOU need to lay down your life for Jesus’ Purposes inside AND outside the home, DAILY, as the Scriptures clearly say. And in so doing, your children will see that you are not just hot air and mr. sermonette, but that you MEAN it! And, likewise, living OUT 1Cor.12, Eph.4, and the “Picture” of Life in Jesus and with Jesus that is in the Bible, your children will not be LIMITED by your Gifts and relationship with Jesus. When we build JESUS’ WAY, with “a HUNDRED mothers, brothers, and sisters,” they will be daily exposed to and influenced by ALL the Gifts (parts of Jesus!) in the Body of Christ, not just lil’ ole YOU! Why is THAT to be feared?! : )

Now of COURSE we must never be “worse than infidels” by not caring for our biological families. And, that is just the point! PART of TRULY caring for them is to make sure they always see an EXAMPLE in you that GOD and His Kingdom come FIRST in your life, PERIOD. It is not just your “mere words”—but your passion and your heart and your daily LIFE! Yes, you’ll be fabulously sacrificial and kind as a husband and father. Yes, you’ll be there for them. But, YES you WILL be about the Father’s Business, even as Jesus did! Remember He was “away from his biological family” EVEN AT AGE TWELVE! And that was NOT SIN, obviously, since He did not sin. He went on to Teach in His 33 years much of His Way and Truth regarding physical family and the Twice-Born Family, and what our perspective must therefore be.

Now, for YOU! “Anyone who claims to be in Him must WALK as Jesus WALKED” according to the Scriptures. We’re not to just “Believe what Jesus said” or “Sing about Jesus twice a week.” We must “WALK AS JESUS WALKED.” That includes sacrifices being made—not the cultural practices of “FOCUS ON THE FAMILY” concepts, the way they are pushed by verse plucking, and intentionally ignoring what the Master Himself had to say on the topic. I like Jimmy D, but the concept of “FOCUS” part is NOT Biblical, and emphasis of “biological family before the Kingdom of God” is NOT what Jesus taught or practiced. Look up everything Jesus said on the topic of biological family. Really—do it! You will find MANY places where Jesus addresses how HE views and commands US to view biological family. Let JESUS HIMSELF tell you what HE thinks! You’ll find that much of what we are told today in the religious world is an ACCOMMODATION of cultural practices—NOT in the New Testament practice or Teachings of Jesus. Does that matter to you? I hope so.

So, should you be a GREAT husband and dad? YES! But, HOW? “Seek first the family and their emotional demands”—NO WAY. “Seek first the KINGDOM and His Righteousness, and all the other things will be added to you.” I have tremendous proof within my four walls, as well as all around me in the Church here, that Jesus’ Ways are FAR better than “God first, bio-family second, church third” as is purported to be in the Bible, but is not. If it is an “attendance-based religious world” where few even CARE, and leaven fills the batch, then that little Baptist cultural religious maxim of “God first, family second, attendance and potlucks third”—yea, then that “sage saying” works fine. But if it is REAL CHURCH, rather than “attend something”—then any honest person would have to admit the fallacy of “family second, church third” by reading even EVERYTHING JESUS SAID ABOUT BIOLOGICAL FAMILY. Again, HOW did Jesus act when His parents found Him in the temple at age 12? THREE DAYS, without a word to announce His leaving, or apology for having done anything wrong. Is THAT okay with YOU? Read Luke 9:57-62, Mark 3:32-35, etc.

No one would want to be “worse than an infidel” by IGNORING or HURTING biological family. It is forbidden by God that one would be an irresponsible religious zealot, and use this “corban” as an excuse for not loving and caring for their physical family. BUT, the best thing you can do for your physical family (and I can prove it in my own home, as WELL as the exact Words of Jesus Himself!) is to “SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM” and demonstrate your love and life of risk for Jesus’ KINGDOM every day and every night. “The Kingdom of God consists not of mere words!” said the Apostle Paul. And it must not. Anyone can “preach the pretty sermons”—but Jesus’ Kingdom is not about passing on pretty words, or even “convicting” words. Unlike “the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees”—if it is from JESUS truly (rather than just facts of what He said to be inspired by), it will CHANGE us, and what we do, and how we see things, “no longer conforming to the patterns of this world” and “seeing no man after the flesh.”

“His Teaching has authority.” “HE has the words of Life.”

Need to run for now. Grace and Peace to you in Jesus, m

PS: You can INCLUDE her in (and create for her!) certain opportunities too—if her heart is inclined at all towards Jesus. Maybe she will at least CONSIDER “loving the Light” that she might be Saved? Please! She may not understand—and you do need to take the time to make sure she’s had a fair chance in “the Valley of Decision.” “Without Revelation, the people cast off restraint.” Help her to SEE. If her heart is bad (loving the world, or even religion—but unwilling to love Him enough to “Obey”), you can’t change that. But don’t ASSUME it to be. Perhaps she is just hardened to some extent by all the hypocrisy she’s seen, and is afraid. Or your historical character is very unlike Jesus, so she is skeptical for now. Help her to have a fair chance to walk past that, so that it is her HEART, not misunderstandings and fears, that separate her from Jesus’ Best. But, none of that means compromise to please men. “Judge for yourselves.” Just make sure you have the time. Impatient or arrogant roughshod is not His Way, either. Firmness, perhaps. Steadfastness, regardless of human threat? Definitely. Walk it out, and watch the AROMA of Christ win souls (even when they had opposed and threatened and cursed your steadfastness)—when “mere words” and “attendance” never will. Shalom.

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