Instead of God’s Kingdom (3)

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Recognition/Attention

The creation of social media has placed a major focus on self. Peoples focus has turned inward which creates an environment eaten up with pride and unjust anger. It also creates an environment of jealously as people hurry to present the best side of themselves and deceive those around them. People thrive on the attention of others. Some people fall victim to thriving on the attention gained by doing acts that are similar to those of Jesus. The problem lies when they do amazing acts of service and kindness but flaunt their goodness for the recognition of man. The recognition should be by God and for His glory. There is a heavenly reward for our service and faithfulness. That reward is under-minded by those who have become hypocritical and lost their focus on God. (Matthew 6:2) “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

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As a follower of Jesus there is a decision to be made. Do we seek earthly rewards and pleasure or the abundance that awaits in heaven? This question pertains to many things: 1) possessions, 2) status, 3) recognition, 4) affection, 5) acceptance, 6) control and 7) longevity. This list is limited but should suffice in awakening the senses to the other ways people seek this world over eternity in paradise.

Instead of God’s Kingdom (2)

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Status/Position

Humans were created by God to function in a hierarchy. The problem lies where people focus on achieving position and forget that the hierarchy places God at the top. Being a follower of Christ involves leading by serving. This concept is difficult to grasp by worldly standards so Jesus became our example. Although He held the power of God as we do in the Holy Spirit, He exhibited gentleness and kindness by serving those around Him. Confidence in His power created humility that only showed His power to those who understand. (Mark 10:31) But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Mark 10:43b-44) But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all

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Instead of God’s Kingdom (Intro/1)

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Mark 10:21-23

21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

 

                As a follower of Jesus there is a decision to be made. Do we seek earthly rewards and pleasure or the abundance that awaits in heaven? This question pertains to many things: 1) possessions, 2) status, 3) recognition, 4) affection, 5) acceptance, 6) control and 7) longevity. This list is limited but should suffice in awakening the senses to the other ways people seek this world over eternity in paradise.

Possessions/Wealth

In order to build up great wealth it must become a focus in your life. When so much attention is being paid to earthly possessions there is little left for the heavenly wealth you are meant to build up in the service of God. When you’ve set your eyes on the creation of man you cannot focus on the one who created everything. Following in the steps of Christ requires believers to become selfless and to take care of the less fortunate with the blessings God has given. We are meant to share the blessings of God with others so that they can see the provision of God, especially those that go beyond monetary gain. Giving back is a form of worship. Praise God for His blessings to you by helping those lost in the dark. (Ecclesiastes 5:10) He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

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Love and Temptation (4)

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Love over Lust

When lust enters your heart, love is absent. Lust is defiling and degrading. Lust is a worldly pursuit that ignores love and the intent of God. Lust defies the authority of God and His plan to make us whole in partnership with love as the center-piece. Lust hurts both people involved by leaving them at best, empty and at worst, scared. Our love for a person should keep us from putting them in a position to be hurt. They can protected from that hurt with love that will not allow lust to destroy the better design of God.

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(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love and Temptation (3)

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Love over Jealousy

If you are jealous, you are lacking in love; for love does not envy. Love causes us to want more for those we care about. We should want them to grow and prosper even if it costs us a great deal. We should be willing to sacrifice our comfort to help others grow in their journey toward reconciliation with God. God has provided for people what He intends for them to have for their individual journey. He has done the same for you but in a different way because no two journeys are the same. Do not be jealous of their provision, love them and what God has given them for their walk. Love that God had provided for them appropriately according to His will. Love that God will provide all that you need for your journey as well.

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(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love and Temptation (2)

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Love over Greed

Love cannot coexist with greed, it doesn’t insist on its own way. Love is selfless. Truly loving people means putting their well-being before your own. There is freedom in making your concern for other outshine the focus we put on ourselves. We must share in the unlimited wealth and provision of God. If God provides abundantly to you, it is because He has chosen you as a steward to share that with people He has put in your life. Keeping and stockpiling that provision causes you to ignore the plan God has for you. You will miss the abundant life God has for you and find yourself miserable among all of your possessions.

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(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love and Temptation (1)

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Love over Pride

Love is not prideful, or as stated above, arrogant. True love requires that we empty ourselves of pride and find humility as Jesus did. It is in this humble state that people can come close enough to us to be warmed by our love, and God willing be changed and grow from it. Pride builds walls that love cannot penetrate. These walls isolate people and leave them to the corruption of solitude. Allow love to permeate your life so that pride cannot exist.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

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