Back in September, I penned an article titled “Kingdom Outlook” where I shared five insights from Reggie MacNeal’s book, Kingdom Come. This month, I’d like to share five insights on a Kingdom Outlook from NT Wright, found in his book, Simply Good News. It’s been a few years since I read it, but the encouragement it offered still resonates with me, and I hope it encourages you as well.
- This perspective sheds light on the highs and lows of life on the frontlines of the Kingdom.
Your tireless efforts in renewing your church undoubtedly place you on the frontlines of the Kingdom. It’s not easy, and here’s why, but also why you should never give up.
5 Reasons to not give up while cultivating a kingdom outlook.
Reason 1: Jesus has launched His new creation in the middle of the old one.
- This means that genuine and lasting change is possible on personal, social, cultural, national, and global levels.
- Have you witnessed this transformation? I’ve seen it firsthand—a marriage being resurrected within my church. Looking back in history, we see the abolition of slavery, the Reformation, the Civil Rights movement, and many more examples.
Reason 2: Genuine and Lasting change comes at a cost.
- Victories often come through immense suffering, redemptive suffering. We may mistakenly expect the growth of the Kingdom to be smooth and powerful, but it’s often rough and painful.
- How do we humbly embrace redemptive suffering for the sake of our suffering Savior?
Reason 3: Genuine and lasting change is sporadic.
- It’s not a steady, linear progression. Great churches established by the early church in North Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, and Turkey have vanished, almost without a trace. This isn’t easy to accept.
- We desire to see change on our terms and get caught up in the myth of progress. There have been moments in my life where I felt stuck, unable to understand why things weren’t progressing as I thought they should.
- We need to trust that God has a different plan. We sing His praise even from our own metaphorical.
Reason 4: We must avoid falling into despair and negativity.
- Our aim isn’t to resist the idea of triumphant progress but to genuinely anticipate the Kingdom’s arrival.
- We never lose sight of the hope that the resurrection brings. If death is conquered, there is always hope!
Reason 5: It’s vital that we work tirelessly.
- Genuine and lasting change in individual lives, the church, the community, and the wider world comes when we work tirelessly.
- When we proclaim that Jesus is Lord, we’re not just making empty claims. Sometimes it may feel like we’re whistling in the dark, but we mustn’t forget the immense power behind the Kingdom. It’s the same power that created the world, led the God of the universe to a manger in Bethlehem, and rolled the stone away on Easter morning.
(Excerpts from Simply Good News by NT Wright, pages 118-119)
As you serve in the Kingdom of God, walk in the power of the resurrection!