Today I want to talk to you about Kingdom Mindset at times like this, a time of Covid-19 and post Covid-19 lockdown, a time of all manners of challenges.
The virus appears to be retreating and the rates of infections and deaths are dropping, but those of us in the US are also grappling with an old, familiar foe that resurfaced: racial injustice.
This means that we are facing two active traumas: rising civil unrest in the country driven by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the coronavirus pandemic. But I am aware that in Nigeria there are a lot of other challenges.
So, at this very confusing and uncomfortable moment, when some of us have lost our jobs, our sources of income, our peace, when there is anxiety and we are unsettled, despite all these things, will you remain on the Lord’s side? Will you keep on seeking to know Christ and the power of his resurrection as Paul admonished in Philippians 3:10? Do you know that even at these times God can move you into limelight from obscurity if do maintain a kingdom mindset? There are 3 things I want to share with you this morning:
#1. Aspire to be better, not bitter. Let me illustrate this with the story of Naaman, the Syrian general in 2 Kings 5. Naaman needed God’s touch to rid himself of leprosy, a debilitating disease. I’ll read the 1st 3 verses:
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.[a]2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
The characters in this unfolding story were Naaman, the superstar general, his wife, and a Jewish maid. The little maid was the minor biblical character who took on a major role and changed the course of history. Even if you see yourself as a minor character in the scheme of things in this post-Covid-19 lockdown situation, God can use you to make a difference.
• Naaman was sick with leprosy and this captive girl had a decision to make: to hold back or release the information that would lead to healing for her master? Even at this time, is there some information you can release to someone, some information that would make a difference in their life? Or just a word of encouragement?•
The little maid decided to help. She said master, there is a prophet in Israel who is able to set you free. In other words, are you willing to go into the country you just invaded and conquered to deal with people you have been killing? Thank God that you have not killed all of them. She was in a way asking her master: how bad do you want your healing?
Bad enough to leave the comfort of Syria, the opulence of your regal surroundings, recognition of your peers? Are you willing to leave where you are loved and go to where you are hated? Would you go to Israel to get well? Are you humble enough to go with the advice of a little maid, by going down to a country that is beneath you, cross enemy lines for your healing? Members of Journalists for Christ, I am asking you an analogous question today: are you ready to wear the garment of humility at this moment and retain a Kingdom mindset?
Listen Carefully Did you notice that the little maid had every right to be bitter? She was snatched from her family, her culture, her friends, and demoted to a slave. She had every right to let Naaman rot• She could have said: My master led the team who captured me, they destroyed my dreams; I am now alone in a strange land, surrounded by strange people, miles away from my loving family• She could have rejoiced in his suffering, wishing him to die as a leper•
But instead she took the high road of forgiveness and pointed her master towards his desperately needed healing• Is it possible that God is seeking to use you in the midst of your less than pleasant situation at this time when coronavirus is raging? Is there a Naaman in your life? Maybe the person who abused you when you were little? Somebody who was horrible to you? People whom you have supported but repaid your kindness with wickedness? Will you forgive them today before the end of this meeting?
#2. Have the good Samaritan mindsetLet me start this point with a challenge: How applicable to your current situation is the story of the good Samaritan who stopped to give aid to a traveller who was stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead as recorded in Luke 10.
First, a priest and then a Levite came by, but both avoided the man. Finally, a Samaritan happened upon the traveller. Samaritans and Jews despised each other, but the Samaritan helped the injured man. Jesus was said to have told the parable in response to the question from a lawyer, “And who is my neighbor?” The parable’s conclusion was that the neighbor figure in the parable was the man who showed mercy to the injured man, i.e. the Samaritan.
The Bible says in Jeremiah 17: 9 that our heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. I want to encourage you today to ask God to give you the kind of heart the good Samaritan had, a heart that prioritizes mercy and help above anything else. Ask God like David did, to create in you a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within you. That’s a good way of maintaining a Kingdom mindset.
#3. God’s Plan Includes Both Timing and PurposeDifficult times do not change God’s timing and purpose. God creates difficulties to develop our character, he will not allow a difficulty to come near you unless it has a divine purpose, don’t fight against everything you don’t like. Have the attitude that says. God, I may not like it but you won’t have me here in this situation unless you want me here in this situation.
What I am telling you is that you can’t pray away every uncomfortable situation. While Joseph was in prison, he maintained his spiritual equilibrium. That prison is not working against you but for you, you are in that position because God has an amazing future for you. Your future is so big, God has to prepare you, don’t fight it.
Even in prison, God was working in Joseph’s favor. Are you single? You’ve got to say this is where God has me, I am happy, the right person is on the way, not God I am sick and tired, but God I trust you, I know that at the right time, you will take me to the next level. You’ve got to say: God it is taking longer than I thought, but I trust you, it is all a part of your divine plan. Are you unemployed, do you have a horrible boss at work, do you have one ailment or the other, help is on the way, maintain a Kingdom mindset.
God knows what he is doing, stop fighting what doesn’t go your way…One day you’ll thank God for closed doors, his ways are higher than ours…He is the one who opens and closes doors. Many times, we thank God for the open, not closed doors, but if God closes one door, he has something better on the horizon! Give him glory somebody.
Recall that Pharaoh had a dream in the palace; the one who would interpret was in the prison. After 2 years in prison, the doors of iron swung open and he was set free.
Watch this: Imagine if Joseph had been released from prison a day earlier? He would probably have been returned to his old master Potiphar and faced Potiphar’s wife. My God! Again? Or sold to another master? Or just umped somewhere as an inconsequential person. But God kept Joseph exactly where he wanted him, for how long he wanted him so that God’s plan would go accordingly. I don’t know where you are at the moment, but God is keeping you there for a purpose, just maintain a Kingdom mindset.
I’ll leave you with a few questions.
• Are you willing to show somebody some compassion?• Are you confident enough to speak up and lead someone to where he or she can get help?•
Is your attitude good enough for you to earn the trust of the people around you?
• Are you willing to forgive people, just like your father in heaven forgave you?
• Finally, despite all the uncertainty around us, remember to keep on fixing your gaze on the author, finisher, perfecter and forerunner of our faith, by so doing, you will remain stable, even in an unstable world.
May God continue to shine his light upon you, may he keep you in good health, may he continue to be your shield and your buckler in Jesus name.