Taking Territory: Think Global
It has been God's intent from the beginning of time that the influence of His Kingdom would grow. He said to Adam and Eve before they sinned: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it" in Genesis 1:28 NIV. It is God's desire that people would be obedient to Him and not obedient to sin.
God wants the earth to be inhabited by people who are in a right relationship with Him, in order to bring about change. But the first thing He does to achieve this is to challenge the way we think. We must first recognise that God has always had a plan to reach the entire world.
When God created this earth, it was perfect, but then in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve sinned, and this destroyed the relationship they had with God. But God had always had a plan to bring people back to Himself, and we see very early in Genesis that Jesus was central to this plan. When we continue to read through the Old Testament, we see over and over, the prophecies that Jesus would come to redeem (buy back) fallen humanity to God. Christmas is all about God's plan to reach the entire earth.
Jesus came to fulfil this plan by dying to save the entire world. The Bible teaches that our sins separated us from God, as is explained in Romans 5:10 NIV that "... we were God's enemies ... ". And yet Jesus died for us and offers us life. This free gift of life is a demonstration of His unconditional love for us.
God had the plan, and He provided the way, but He does not execute the vision on His own; He looks to us to do it on His behalf. He wants to use ordinary people, empowered by His Spirit, to proclaim this truth to a dying world. Therefore, in order to expand His Kingdom, we must start thinking global; we must shift our thinking.
a From self-centredness to
From birth, for most of us, it has always been about our needs, but as Christians, God challenges that. Yes, He can use our dreams for His glory, but we are not the centre; He is. God cares for this world. He sees all that is to be done, but He chooses to work through His people. He is waiting for His people to arise and be involved. As we shift our minds from ourselves to God, He begins to work in our hearts to love people and He does incredible things through us. Isaiah 6:8 TLB states: "Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go?' And I said, 'Lord, I'll go! Send me'."
b From temporal to eternal
When we are looking at the world and its people, we have to look at them in light of eternity. As people called by the name of Jesus, it is our duty and responsibility to preach the gospel to as many as we can, so they have the choice to come into a relationship with God and not end up in hell. Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about Heaven - it is a place where those who: "... do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 ... will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord ... ." 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 NIV. A correct view of eternity will cause us to put God first in our lives and encourage others to do the same.
c From security to service
As the priorities of God become your priorities, God starts to teach us that it is He who is really our provider. Jesus said: "If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life." Mark 8:35 NLT. Jesus is saying that when we live selfishly, our lives are shallow and unrewarding. But when we make the shift to serving others in the Name of the Lord, something happens to us - hope, joy and peace springs up in our hearts.
d From comfort to
When Jesus was on the cross, He was not considering His comfort, He was considering the sacrifice He would make to set us free from sin. When God calls us to take territory, that call is one of sacrifice for the sake of His Kingdom. The truth is that sacrifice becomes a measuring stick for our commitment to God. And it's usually the sacrifice of two resources that we possess - time and money. Jesus said, "Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be." Luke 12:34 TLB. Jesus is encouraging His listeners to apply their treasure - their time and money - to the expansion of the Kingdom, and in doing so, they will secure even greater treasure in heaven.
God wants to use us to take territory in His Name. He wants us to reach the lost, heal the hurt and strengthen the weak. Christmas is the ultimate demonstration of this. God sent His only Son for you and me. This Christmas, God would ask you, "Will you sign on with Me for the task ahead?"