June 26, 2022
Key Scriptures: Genesis 1:1 NKJV; Genesis 1:28 NKJV; Matthew 11:12 NIV,NLT; Matthew 16:19 TPT; Luke 17:21 TPT; Mark 4:1-20 NKJV; Luke 18:9-14 TPT; Genesis 16:1-4 NKJV; 2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV; Psalm 139:23-24 TPT; Proverbs 12:15 TPT; James 3:17 NKJV; Proverbs 19:20-21 TPT; Psalm 1:1 NKJV; Proverbs 28:26 TPT; Romans 8:14-17 TPT; Acts 13:2 NKJV; Acts 16:6 TPT; Romans 8:16-17 TPT; Daniel 3:28-29 NKJV
Key Word: Rationalizing– an attempt to explain or justify one’s behavior or attitude with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate.
- In the beginning, Heaven and Earth were united in a place called Eden.
- Mankind’s original commission was to be fruitful, multiply, have dominion, subdue, and fill the Earth.
- Mankind rebelled and caused a division between Heaven and Earth.
- The commission for mankind has never changed, God still honors His original plan.
- Mankind has created a hell on Earth by rejecting God’s Kingdom and building their own.
- Jesus preached the gospel message of the Kingdom and that His Kingdom was invading Earth once again.
- The Kingdom of God/Heaven is His rule and reign.
- Humanity’s struggle is the internal battle to do what is best for me and to redefine good and evil for my own convenience, comfort, and benefit at the expense of the people around me.
- Our fight isn’t against Satan and all the evil out there, it’s against ourselves. Will we allow God to truly rule and reign in our hearts and lives?
- Will I build my own kingdom or let God build His Kingdom in me?
Let’s Talk: One of my favorite movies is Lord of the Rings. If you haven’t watched it, take 12 hours of your day to watch all three parts! I know… who has that kind of time?! So, let me give you the short version. Basically, there were many rings of power that were forged and given to the elves, dwarfs, and men, but one ring was created in secret that would have power over them all. To make a (very) long story short, man ends up with that ring, the ring of power, and even those who desired to do good with that ring of power that would twist their minds and make them do evil. The entire story is the epic journey of a hobbit (a very little person) on his way to a giant volcano to destroy the ring. That ring was a power mankind was never meant to have, just like the right we took from God to choose what is good and evil for ourselves. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they placed a terrible burden on all mankind, and no matter how hard we try to do what is good and not what is evil, we mess it up every time. The only way for us to release that burden is to release that right back to God. Just like that little Hobbit who ends us destroying the ring, we need to cast our right to choose what is good and evil for ourselves into the molten lava, and allow God to gain that right in our lives once again. When God guides us in what is truly good and evil, we can trust that He will never mess it up. He will always help us choose what is right and good.
- What things in your life have you declared good or evil but have never allowed God to make that decision for you?
- What are the dangers of each person redefining good and evil for themselves?
- Have you ever disagreed with God about something He calls good or evil? If yes, how did you handle it?
- How can choosing for yourself what is good and evil make you comfortable, be convenient for you, and be for your own benefit at the expense of the people around you?
Let’s Think: When mankind took up the right to choose for themselves what was good and evil, they stopped building God’s Kingdom and started building their own. In doing so, they have released hell on earth! Does Hitler ring a bell? How about Joseph Stalin, King Herod, Genghis Kan, Nero, and Saddam Hussein? This is just a small sample of people who seized power for themselves, had millions of people murdered, and caused a living hell for those under their rule. I wonder how many of these rulers thought they were doing these things for the “greater good,” but in reality, they had chosen what was good and evil for themselves for their own comfort, convenience, and benefit at the expense of the people around them. We may not create such chaos as these rulers did, but we too can cause massive hurt and pain in those around us when we reject God’s kingdom and build our own. We see things like abuse, divorce, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, drug abuse, sex trafficking, pornography, hate, violence, and on and on I could go. These are just a few symptoms of building our own kingdom that can cause people to go through a living hell.
- Have you ever suffered because of the decisions of others? How did that make you feel?
- Have you ever caused hurt and pain to others because of your decisions?
- Have you ever felt like you are in a living hell?
- How can surrendering your life to God help bring your life into balance?
- Who is someone you know who is going through a living hell, that you can help by bringing God’s Kingdom to them?
Going Deeper: So what’s the answer? Surrender. Surrender to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Every day we are faced with the choice to do what is best for me at the expense of others, or lay down our own comfort and convenience to bring the Kingdom of God to others. So what does surrender look like? It’s simply you opening your heart to God and allowing Him to plant the seed of His Kingdom in you. As you allow His Kingdom to grow in you, it will begin to take over your life! Goodness and kindness will start to flow naturally from you. Forgiveness and mercy will be the norm. You will no longer live at the expense of others, but others will begin to see God in you! You will become a place where Heaven invades Earth, and His rule and reign are evident. You will be a place where people can come and receive shade from the scorching sun, and find refreshment from the living water that flows from you. Let’s stop building our own kingdoms and allow God to build His Kingdom in us! It’s what the world around you desperately needs.
- What are some of the daily struggles you will face when living a life of surrender?
- What are some of the knock-on effects when you surrender to God?
- What are some areas of your life that you have not completely surrendered to God? What is preventing you from it?
- How can living a live of surrender to God cause others to want to know Him?
Walk it out:
One of the ways that we can overcome our struggle to redefine good and evil for our own comfort, convenience and benefit at the expense of others is to examine ourselves. It’s a good practice to examine your thoughts and motives, to make sure you are on the right path. In Psalm 139, the author asks God to examine his heart, and to reveal to him if there is any wickedness in him. Sometimes we start a bad habit, and have no idea that it’s there. Self-examination and reflection with God can help reveal this things so you can remove them. Spend some time this week in self-examination. Ask God to reveal to you if there is anything in you that needs to be changed. Below is a tool you can use to help with this process.
- Open Area – Information about your attitudes, behavior, emotions, feelings, skills, and views are known to yourself and are clearly evident to others around you.
- Blind Spot – Information and interpretations about yourself that are known to others but you are unaware, or have a skewed opinion of .
- The Hidden Area – Information that is known to you but that you keep from sharing with others.
- The Unknown Area – Information which you are unaware of and others don’t know. This includes information, feelings, capabilities, talents etc. This can be due to traumatic past experiences or events which can be unknown for a lifetime.
The open area is generally an area of health and peace.
To best navigate the hidden area you will need to be transparent with those you trust.
The blind spot is best navigated with humility.
In the unknown space, seek revelation through conversations with the Holy Spirit and meditating on the Word.