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Having a Kingdom Mindset In Our Walk With God (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2023 2:00 am

Having a Kingdom Mindset In Our Walk With God (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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September 7, 2023 2:00 am

Dr. Tony Evans will challenge you to be disciplined in your daily walk and grow as a kingdom citizen to reach a lost culture with the ultimate hope. He’ll caution you about the world’s enticing traps of money, possessions, and cultural acceptance as he encourages a much better alternative - abiding in Christ. (Part 2 of 2)

 

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Hey parents, Parent here. I don't know about you, but most parenting advice I've found is a lot like my son's favorite foods, just beans and hot dogs. It's bland and way too juvenile for how old he actually is. But focus on the family's weekly age and stage emails have biblical stuff that helps me be intentional as a parent. It's great, like a chef salad of parenting tips. If you want biblical, practical, and personal tips to your inbox, here's how.

Go to MyKidsAge.com, put in your kid's age, and get weekly emails that make a difference. God wants eternity, Solomon says in the book of Ecclesiastes, written in our hearts. So He wants us to have an eternal perspective. In other words, the bigger heaven becomes, and the bigger eternity becomes, the more earth makes sense. The smaller eternity is, the more chaotic earth will be. Dr. Tony Evans joins us again on Focus on the Family with encouragement to live with eternity in mind, not just today.

And your host is Focus President and author, Jim Daly. John, there are so many distractions and things in this world that take us away from the things of God. And it could be money, possessions, importance, concerns, kids, whatever it might be, fill in the blank for you. But Jesus said, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things, all those important things will be provided.

And He'll take care of it. When we put God first, that's when we experience that true freedom in Him. And Dr. Tony Evans, man, he brought the wood last time, didn't he?

I felt like I was just in Sunday school the whole time. And I'm looking forward to today's conversation, where we're going to get back to what it means to be kingdom focused. Dr. Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and is the founder of The Urban Alternative, also in Dallas. And his book with Focus on the Family in Tyndale is part of the Kingdom series. It's called Kingdom Focus, Rethinking Today in Light of Eternity. And we have copies of that here.

You'll find details in the show notes. Tony, welcome back. This is so good to have you.

Thank you. It's so much fun. And I love your analogies. You just can connect dots like nobody else I know. And if people missed last time, get a hold of the download, get the app for the smartphone.

A lot of easy ways to do it. I would encourage you to listen to the program last time. As we look forward, and something you touched on as you were working with the Dallas Cowboys was keeping our eyes on the prize. In their case, obviously, it's a Super Bowl. But for Christians, it's eternity.

It's long term. It's doing God's work here on earth to draw people into the kingdom of God, right? And I think your analogies are so good. King Solomon comes to mind in the Old Testament as an example of learning from somebody. So what can we learn from his example? Well, you know, his example became a whole book in the Bible.

Ecclesiastes. And it is his struggle with life and the lessons he had to learn from his departure from God, the need for the centrality of God for life not to be vanity and emptiness. He tried it all and he could afford it, okay?

Because in today's dollars, he would have been a billionaire. He talks about the parties he had. He talks about the property he owned. He talks about, I mean, you couldn't get a better job. You king. So you don't work for anybody.

Everybody works for you. And he talks about all of these things and he keeps it, he says, and all of them were vanity. And in other words, it did not bring ultimate fulfillment, just temporal distraction. And then he says throughout the book of Ecclesiastes that the only thing that can bring meaning and fulfillment is when life is connected to God. He says, this is the purpose. This is the goal, to connect everything to God. It is okay to have a great career.

It is okay if you legitimately ethically and morally make money. It's okay. But the problem is when it gets disconnected from God. The verse you quoted, seek ye first the kingdom of God. There's some things God can't do. There's some things God can't do. For example, God can't lie. The Bible says for two immutable things, it's possible for God to lie. God can't compromise his nature. God can't retract his word. Certain things God can't do. There's another thing God can't do. He can't be second. The moment you make God second, you have now created an idol for whatever is in front of him.

And you know what I found talking with people that don't know the Lord? It's that chase. You know, for the business guys, it's one more deal.

They've already made, you know, $700 million and their kids are out of control. But, you know, it's just one more deal. I got to keep working. And even within the LGBTQ community, I've met with some of them, and marriage is going to give us this dignity. And it's not meeting that need. There's still that hole because it's not, you know, the culture's affirmation is not really what it's about.

And the hole is still there in so many of the people I've talked to. Absolutely, because it is a faulty priority. And when that priority gets lost, Psalm 128 lines out a kingdom layout for life. In verse 1 and 2, it says it starts with taking God seriously.

He calls it fearing God. That means to take God seriously, not casually. He then goes to the family in verse 3. Your wife shall be a fruitful vine, your children like olive plants around your table.

So you use the table not just for eating, but for leading and family harmony and unity and direction and guidance. In verse 5, he goes to Zion. Zion was the temple.

So you went to gather with other people who shared the like faith. Then he goes to the city, the prosperity of the city. And then he goes to the peace of Jerusalem, the prosperity of the country. And he closes with, and you'll see your children's children. That's a lineage and legacy. So individual, family, church, community, when you flow that way, you're flowing as a kingdom representative and you're flowing. And each one of those tells you the benefit that God will bring when you're flowing in this process of kingdom order.

Yeah, that is so good again. You have an illustration in the book about the monkey in the jar. I think some of us know that story where they're trying to get the fruit and researchers put the fruit in there. But if the monkey grabs it, it's too big to get his hand out. And he's got to release the fruit or figure out another way to get the fruit out.

Yeah. So when the monkey is in there, if he's going to hold on to that, he's going to be stuck. But he can't let go.

I mean, it's so bizarre. Yeah, because he is so passionate about getting that that he loses his freedom, his purpose. He loses the ability to do what he was created to do because he's after something that is holding him hostage.

And too many people and too many Christians are being held hostage by that which is illegitimate because it feels good or it tastes good or we think it's good or it's good for the moment and it does not have eternity attached to it. God wants eternity, Solomon says in the book of Ecclesiastes, written in our hearts. So he wants us to have an eternal perspective. In other words, the bigger heaven becomes and the bigger eternity becomes, the more earth makes sense.

The smaller eternity is, the more chaotic earth will be. It's powerful. I want to ask you about this, you know, this human desire to be liked. I mean, we want to be seen as, you know, good people, positive, whatever. And I think I've got like high school age young people in mind.

My two boys are 22 and 20, that 20 something young person as well. We tend in the culture because of the, I think because of the saturation of marketing and everything else, we develop this desire to be liked. Oh my goodness, look at social media. That's all about getting likes. They even call it getting liked. So in that context, the Lord says you're not going to be liked by the world if you're standing with me.

People will hate you because of me. And I guess the two-part question I would have is, what would you say to the young people that are so saturated with the culture and the desire to be liked? How do they, as followers of Christ, mature into the right perspective on that? And then let's just put us older people in there too, because we've got the same trap. We as parents, grandparents, we want to be liked. How do we avoid that pitfall?

Well, first of all, it's okay to want to be liked to a point as long as you don't want to be liked to a fault. In other words, you have, in a football game, you have boundaries. Those boundaries make the game possible. The moment you step on the sideline, you're out of bounds, and therefore chaos sets in. You can't go any further because you left the boundary. What we have today is people wanting to be liked without boundaries.

So they will step on the line, try to run the football out into the parking lot. Well, that's chaos now. So what you have to have are the boundaries in which being liked is acceptable and the boundaries in which being liked are unacceptable. Once you establish your boundary, anything within those boundaries, enjoy to the max if they're God-honoring boundaries. But once you or your liking friends step out of that boundary, you know you're not being liked by God right now. So the question is who you want to be liked by the most. And the reason why that's important is who's going to help you when your friends disappear?

Who's going to be there? That's right. So you can have a friend today. I mean, people will like you if you make them happy, if you give them money, if you're doing their thing. But what happens when they disappear on you because something goes wrong in your life and your world is turned upside down?

You better have something else working for you that wasn't just there for the sunshiny days, but the cloudy days as well. You know what's interesting too? Scripture, there's so much wisdom there, because you're really describing the prodigal son, the one who went away with his inheritance, and then he ran out of cash and all his friends left him. And there he was in a pigsty having to eat what the pigs were eating, and he thought, why am I doing this? I'm going to go back to my dad's ranch. At least there I can work as a hired hand and earn enough money to eat. Well, then the good news of the story is dad is still waiting.

Yeah, looking for him, right? I mean, that's the amazing thing. And let me ask you a personal application, because your kids, they turned out really strong. I would say, I don't know this, but probably not perfect.

None of us are perfect. But as a parent, you're trying to give the faith to your children. They've got to grab it. They've got to say yes to the Lord. We can't do that for them. So when you're talking about even this little thing about being liked and that, how do you communicate to a 15-year-old in this culture that's saturated with screen time and is not maybe as into going to church with his parents or her parents as the parents would like, and a little distant, dealing with stuff at school maybe, might be getting bullied online, who knows.

But I'm painting a picture there. How do you as the parents say, okay, here's how it really works. This is what you got to do. Well, first of all, make sure that we don't just demand that they enter our world without us entering their world. Because many times as parents, we'll tell them, rightly so, what they should do, why they should do it. And we're calling them to where we are or want them to be without joining them where they are, without compromise, but being concerned with what they're interested in. One of the things we were able to do, not perfectly, but we were able to do was engage in our children's worlds. So we enjoyed what they enjoyed that was legitimate to enjoy. And so they felt, and we never told our kids, we want you to be involved in ministry as a life occupation. But they naturally gravitated to it because we shared worlds. And that's important because I think today a lot of parenting and our spiritual expression of our parenting can actually have the adverse effect of pushing the kids away. It can, because rules without relationship will always lead to rebellion.

So you want to establish relationship without compromising legitimate rules. And the biggest thing we did, which is, again, Psalm 128 verse 3, was we used the table. Three or four days a week, we were around that table and we didn't just eat. We laughed, we had devotions, we blessed, we corrected, we dealt with who your friends are, we dealt with what was happening in the culture. So we would spend an hour and a half at that table. And the rule was you had to be at that table. But at the table, we shared life and not just shared meal.

That's so good. Hey, let's shift to love of money, which you cover in the book as well. I think you said one out of every ten verses in the New Testament is about possessions. So it's a big deal to God.

And how do we manage it? Well, first of all, we have to remember money is a kingdom tool. You know, God says in Deuteronomy chapter 8 verse 18, he says, I give you power to make wealth, and then he says, to fulfill my covenant. Money is a tool to accomplish kingdom business. And once you detach money from kingdom business, then money becomes an end in itself, and therefore it becomes destructive. God tells the people in 1 Timothy 6 who have extra, he says, make sure that with your extra, he says it's okay to enjoy it, but make sure your good works for the kingdom is commensurate with your blessing from the king.

So don't make this an end in itself, but a tool to advance the kingdom purpose for God giving you the power to do it. You know, I've met some of the donors to Focus that have that attitude. They're fun to be with. You know, they're writing big checks or something, putting smiley faces on them, saying, hey, put this to work for the kingdom. But you can feel the positivity of it. You know, it's not begrudging. It's like, let's go together.

Let's go get it. Yeah, and when you know that you're part of something bigger, that something, and that will have eternal value to it. And the reality is, you know, in football, back to football. Hey, you're talking to a football guy. Okay, in football, okay, the NFL games are on Sunday, but some would always say he was always nervous about Monday because on Monday is when the coach took you through the tape. And they showed you what you did and what you did not do. And it could be a good day or a bad day, depending on that tape.

It doesn't matter what you say about what happened on Sunday. They're going to say, let's check the tape. When you stand before God and I stand before God at the Judgment Seat of Christ, he's going to pull down the screen and tell me what you think about your Christian life while you were on earth. Well, I think this, that, and the other. God's going to say, well, let's check the tape.

The question is, when he shows your tape, will there be enough on that tape to say you were Kingdom-oriented or will it all hit the cutting room floor? Tony, let's spend a little time about how we stay on course. You have, again, the book is full of great analogies, metaphors, and you're so perceptive in putting everyday things into play to understand spiritual truth. This one that you mentioned in the book on staying on course is how pilots use Doppler radar to avoid wind shear and other potentially tragic situations.

So make that analogy for us. Well, you know, when a pilot is flying, he's often having to navigate through things he can't see. Right. And I'm on that plane. You're hoping he's good at it.

That's right. So he needs something that can see what he can't see so that he can fly safely and land him and me safely, okay? And so Doppler radar helps him to do that, the wind shears and all that. It helps him to get a reading on what he can't see himself. What the Holy Spirit does is give us a reading from the spiritual so we know how to navigate the physical. When we are disconnected from God and God's satellite system, his Doppler radar, is not guiding us, we're living blind and we're subject to accidents, crashes, or even winding up in the wrong location.

So it is critical. You know, in 1 Chronicles 14, David is in conflict with the Philistines. And he goes to God and he says, now how should I handle this?

Should I attack? And God gives him the go-ahead to do that. But a little bit later, in the same chapter, after he wins one battle, the Philistines come another way. He goes back to God and say, okay, should I do what I did last time? God says, no, uh-uh, we're changing our strategy this time.

Even though it's the same problem, the same people, it was a different strategy. So because he was in tune with God, he could get guidance for the same problem but a new strategy that God wanted to use in this attack. God's radar system, his Holy Spirit, is not designed to be some ethereal, Casper the friendly ghost. It's designed to be a guidance system to shift our movements in the decisions of life because we're spiritually connected to move in concert with God's will and his kingdom purpose.

In fact, you've written about abiding in Christ and it requires, according to your comments, revelation, illumination, confirmation, and application. Describe those. Well, let's use a teabag, okay?

Okay. Let's say a teabag. Two ways people drink tea. A lot of people are dippers. So they take the teabag and they dip up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down. If you're a dipper now, that means you put the teabag on the spoon, you wrap the string around the spoon. I'm a dipper.

You push your finger on the bag to get more of the tea out. So you're doing a lot of work if you're a dipper. You have studied this.

Okay, right. But I'm not a dipper. I'm an abider. And an abider drops the teabag in the water and just leaves it alone because if the teabag hangs out in the water long enough and the water hangs out in the teabag long enough, that's going to be a transformation that occurs naturally. But what a lot of Christians do is they dip in on Sunday and dip back out. They dip in on Bible study and dip back out. God wants to hang out with us. That's why Paul can say, pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5. He says, pray without ceasing. In other words, this is not a form of devotion. This is bringing me in on everything. And you can do that verbally, but you can also do that mentally.

When you invite God into a circumstance, into a meeting, into a situation, to speak into that and to give you guidance, because now you and the Lord are walking together. You're not just visiting. Well, what I'm getting from that as a dipper is impatience. That's actually what that is. Yeah. And it's true. Yeah, you're trying to rush it. We've got to get it going. Come on. Wrap it up.

Squeeze it out. Now it's the right color. I can drink it. And that's fascinating. So drink your tea differently now.

Yeah, I'll be in a biter. That's good. Hey, God knows our hearts, but what are some indicators? Again, it's almost like that.

I'm coming back to that a couple of times, that self-assessment ability, because you're dropping so many great thoughts on us last time and today. And what are some of those indicators that a Christian's heart is, well, let me say my heart is not right with the Lord. There's some things I, as the believer, should be noticing in my own journey, my own walk, that are the red flashes on the dashboard saying, watch out, overheating, stop dipping. Well, first love, Revelation 2, they had all these commendations, but then you have this one condemnation, says you've left your first love. You didn't leave your love, you left your first love. First love always has something that always goes with it, passion.

Passion is always tied to first love. When you see the fire going out, the excitement going out, I don't want to be with him, you know, you become formal in your relationship, like what happens in a marriage, because they stop dating, there's no passion, that's the greatest warning sign, when the fire for the Lord is diminishing rather than expanding. Jesus would say, the zeal for my Father's house has consumed me.

Paul would say, woe is me if I don't preach to God. And I'm going, that's fire. Our fire should be burning hotter, not cooling off. So when you see it cooling off, that means you need more embers in there. You need to relight it or have influences that help you relight it, you know, to stir it up. What are those actions to take that give you those embers? Well, a number of things. First of all, sometimes it's just based on a decision to re-engage, because you see that you have not engaged. Other times it's, you know, if you put a single log into a fireplace, it's not going to stay hot for long.

It's got to be rubbing up against other logs. So if you are not hot, get around some hot people so that their fire can rub off on you. And that's one of the things the body of Christ should give to one another. Boy, that's so good. We're right at the end.

Tony, this has been so helpful. I wish we could just keep on going, and maybe someday we can. I'm sure you'll come up with another book idea. Yeah, there we go.

We've got to try. But there's so much stress and chaos in this culture, in this world broadly. I mean, wars and rumors of wars, man, we're starting to hear this, you know. Is World War III around the corner? What's going to happen to oil prices?

What's going on with groceries? I mean, it's like bad news on every front, and you can kind of get overwhelmed with that. What's your message to the stressed-out, fearful Christian right now, and how do we need to change that fear into trust for God, regardless of our circumstances?

I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon me. How you feel is generally driven by what you think and what you're focusing on. And what the news cycle does is give us a focus of fear, because it's all day.

It's every day. It's non-stop, and that becomes our focus, which controls our fear. So what we've got to do is limit—we still need to know what's going on—but limit that and expand our spiritual kingdom focus. And when we expand our spiritual focus and our kingdom perspective, then our faith overrides our fear, rather than our fear overriding our faith.

Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication make all your requests known to God, and the God of peace will guard your heart. So God has a sentry of angels, because every believer, according to Hebrews 1.14, has been assigned an angel, and that angel is supposed to be hanging out with you as you hang out with the Lord. So don't put him in another room while you go do your thing, because then he can't do his job. Okay? So let's hang out.

That's an amazing word picture. You need to think of that, that you're assigned an angel. You are. Every believer has one. Man.

Some of us have two or three, because we overwork one. Tony, this has been so good. I don't think there needs to be a wrap on this, John.

I mean, it is self-evident that Tony has poured his heart into this great resource, kingdom focus. It feels like the meat that we need to be at right now. I mean, that's the diet we need. And I hope you can get a copy of this book. We'll make it easy. Just get in touch with us. If you can support the ministry to be part of it, do that monthly or a one-time gift, and we'll send it to you as our way of saying thank you.

Hey, we're Christian ministry. If you can't afford it, get in touch with us. We're going to get it into your hands, and trust that others will cover the cost of that.

That'll be a faith step on our part. But let's get you in a place where you are thriving in Christ, and hopefully your family will benefit from that. I know your family will benefit from that as well.

Yeah, take the next step by calling us, 800, the letter A in the word family. We're stopped by the show notes for details about this book, Kingdom Focus, Rethinking Today in Light of Eternity. You can also see ways to donate to the ministry there as well. Tony, again, so good to be with you. Thank you for traveling up here to Colorado, and God bless you.

Thank you. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for how you've helped, supported me and what we're doing through the Urban Alternative, and God bless you. Thank you for joining us today for Focus on the Family. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I'm John Fuller, inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Your marriage can be redeemed, even if the fights seem constant, even if there's been an affair, even if you haven't felt close in years. No matter how deep the wounds are, you can take a step toward healing them with a hope restored marriage intensive. More biblically based counseling will help you find the root of your problems and face challenges together. We'll talk with you, pray with you, and help you find out which program will work best. Call us at 1-866-875-2915.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-07 05:17:16 / 2023-09-07 05:28:36 / 11

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