Reading: Making All Things New Chapter II: “His Kingdom First”
It has been an incredible journey together so far! In our first week we got honest about the current state of our hearts, expressing worry, fear, depression, loneliness etc. Last week we took some time to consciously create an opportunity for our heart to speak to the heart of Jesus – to be honest with Him, and to open our hearts to receiving the great love He has for us.
This week Henri invites us to make a shift in our focus. When we are caught in our worries or fears, it is often because we are focusing on all the negative possibilities or outcomes. Henri reminds us to put our focus on the Kingdom of God. Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth, and he did so through listening intently to the Father, and acting only in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our lives are similarly meant to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth, and we do so in the same way.
1) It is very important that we start off by establishing that “the radical transformation of our lives is the work of the Holy Spirit” (p53). When we live the spiritual life “successfully” in our own strength then we get the glory. When we let the Holy Spirit do the transformational work, He gets the glory. What is required of us is the full “yes.”
INVITATION: Set aside 7 quiet minutes to listen to the song “I Belong to You” and give the Holy Spirit your “yes.” Click on the words “I Belong to You” and the song will open in YouTube.
2) Henri reminds us that our “yes” involves actively shifting our focus to the Kingdom of God. Again, transformation comes through the power of the Holy Spirit (and often is a journey), but we have a role in giving Him the opportunity to do His work in us, in part by choosing where we put our focus.
INVITATION: Consider a difficult/worrisome situation that is on your heart, you have the opportunity to focus on one or more of the following …
a) How might the Kingdom of God be furthered through this experience/situation?
b) What opportunity for good, or what possibility does it/could it/did it create?
c) I am totally and completely loved by my Father in Heaven (see scripture verses from last week), how can I respond to this situation out of that unshakeable love?
d) Why is my heart worried about this? What is it really hoping for / asking me for? Is that desire in line with seeking first the Kingdom of God?
3) As a form of encouragement to others, and to make these reflections real and understandable, please share an example of someone who lived a very difficult circumstance in life, but kept their focus on “His Kingdom First” and thereby allow God to use the circumstance for profound good (you could think of a historical figure, someone you heard about or someone you know (including yourself!).
As always, feel free to share what came up for you in the reading this week. There is a lot to reflect on, and I look forward to hearing from each of you.