A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity to co-lead and watch over 5 girls at Elevate Summer Camp through The Summit Church. It was life changing. Here’s why.
Of course I could go into how the week was challenging and physically exhausting, but that isn’t the point I want to stress here. The reason why camp was so life changing for me was that it reinstated my purpose, my call in life.
And that call is to pursue the Kingdom of God with all that I am.
More than any previous year of my life, 2017 stands out as the year where my God has pursued me and transformed me by the Gospel. Even though I accepted Jesus and begun a relationship with him in 2012, I have never experienced the radical faithfulness of God in my life as much as I have the past 7 months.
Going into camp, I knew that God was going to convict and call His children to Himself. I had been praying for months and months faithfully that God would show up BIG TIME and radically change hearts. Which He did. Obviously.
But, one thing I didn’t think about as much going into camp was how God was going to further affirm my identity in Christ and convict my heart to pursue His Kingdom as my number one priority in my life.
While pursuing the Kingdom of God changes the trajectory of your life plans and goals, it also radically alters your day-to-day actions, responses, and mindset.
[Specifically, it changes the way you see your identity, how you worship, how you commune with God daily, and the way you prioritize evangelism and Gospel intentionality]
In a culture where we typically find our identity in pursuing praise, worldly pleasures, or success, pursuing the Kingdom of God grants us a new identity… that is worth surpassingly more. Since fully embracing Christ’s identity for me, I have experienced the sweetest freedom in surrender. He sees me as His beloved daughter, and that changes every thought I think about myself and my own worth.
“Worship is our intentional response to who God is, and what He has done.”
I learned this definition of worship at camp, and it has come to shape my view of worship, my mindset as I approach God in worship, and how I structure my actions and words throughout the day as instruments by which I can worship God. In deciding to pursue the Kingdom, worship is more than just a time I sing songs to God on Sunday morning, or in my car on the way to the gym during the week. A quote I have come back to (on multiple occasions the past few weeks) regarding worship was spoken by Graham Kendrick:
“Worship has been misunderstood as something that arises from a feeling which ‘comes upon you’, but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted in a conscious act of the will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We were born into sinful humanity, separated from God and the ability to commune with Him. When Jesus died in our place, He bridged the gap between man and God and made a way for us to know God personally, through taking our sin as His own on the cross. This is the good news!
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand or accept the magnitude of this act and have not been transformed by what Christ has done and promised for them. That, or they don’t choose to dwell on this good gift, and allow Satan to blind their eyes to the Gospel and distract them by the desires of the flesh. People CHOOSE to be separated from God still, when the free gift is right in front of their face.
Jesus has captured my heart and mind in a way that I would have never been able to do on my own. I would have never chosen Him and His goodness freely, unless He gave me the ability and desire to choose Him. This is the greatest gift I have ever been given. Because of this, my greatest desire is to be with Him every day.
If we proclaim with our lips that Jesus Christ is Lord, He calls us to a greater purpose and way of life… living daily in relationship with Him– through prayer and reading His word.
Delving into scripture may be a daunting task, but God has given us the Bible to teach us about His own nature and character that completely shapes our view of God and the way we go about our lives. It’s a gift!
God has chosen for us to pursue His Kingdom and righteousness this way… through convening DAILY with Jesus. He is the ONLY way, truth, and the life. Relationship with Him allows us to run after His Kingdom and towards righteousness.
This is the part where I (and other Christians alike) tend to get a little uncomfortable. If you have grown up in church, I am sure you heard that Jesus calls and commands us to GO and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. This is an especially hot topic at The Summit Church at least.
I was totally brought to my knees in repentance and conviction when my pastor posed this question on the last night of camp: “Do your actions match up with what you say you believe about the Gospel?”
I scrambled to write the phrase down as he spoke it, and then it hit me. If my life doesn’t act as a testimony to what I believe, and if I am not daily convicted of sin and the necessity to let others know what is true, is my relationship with Jesus authentic? Am I too going to stand before the throne on judgement day and God is going to send me away, saying He never knew me?
This isn’t the first time I’ve been convicted of the necessity to share the Gospel with others. But this time, it was different. The past couple months, I have been radically praying for God to use me for His good purposes, whatever they may be. I have had big ideas. But, how much have I been praying for God to transform my life in the mundane, that my life will be a testimony to who God is? How often have I prayed for God to use me in the margin, in the small moments, not just in huge, spotlight moments?
Oh how my prayers have been directed towards my own praise without even knowing or being able to repent of it.
This is just my own personal experience and thoughts regarding evangelism though. There is much more to it than that.
We are told in Ephesians to live a life worthy of the manner by which we have been called. Meaning, our daily lives and attitudes, AS WELL AS our grand feats and desires, should be soaked in Gospel intentionality.
Yet, because of God’s grace and provision for us, this call doesn’t have to be scary. The Holy Spirit empowers and speaks through us, and convicts us in times when we need to look like Jesus. We will not suddenly gain bravery to share the Gospel alone, but through the power of the Spirit and boldness of prayer.
Evangelism is hard. But we are called. And we must go. Wherever and whenever, to whomever He calls.
These are just a few ways in which we pursue the Kingdom of God with our whole lives. I’m sure I have missed stuff, but for me, it’s a start. We will never achieve perfect pursuit of God until the new heavens and earth are created and we get to live with Him for eternity.
[[If I was reminded of nothing else at camp, it was how worthy God and His Kingdom are worth pursuing. And, as a part of this, I am called to boldly declare the Gospel and God’s unmatchable goodness. I am so encouraged by this gift I have and cannot wait to pursue God’s Kingdom as long as I live, and into eternity.]]
I want to close with a question directed at you, who’s reading this. Okay… maybe a few questions. If you haven’t figured it out by now this far down into my post, I have a lot to say. Always.
Have you ever accepted Jesus’ free gift of grace? If you have, are you actively pursuing His Kingdom each day? Are you delving into intimate relationship with Him? Is the Kingdom of God and the spread of Jesus’ name your purpose?
Jesus is my Savior, Lord, and King. I will never stop proclaiming His name or pursuing the call He has on my life: to be in relationship with Him, and to tell people who He is and what He’s done.
I pray eagerly that you will, too.