I spoke recently to High School and Uni Students on the topic of Kingdom Culture. Christians live “in the world” but are not “of the world”. Yet they are impacted by and pressured into the culture of the world. That is why care needs to be taken to understand and to live by the culture of God’s Kingdom – Kingdom Culture.
Seek the Kingdom
Jesus Christ told us directly that we are to seek God’s Kingdom and not to be distracted by the things that the people in the world are distracted by.
“Take no thought, saying, What will we eat? or, What will we drink? or, How will we be clothed? (For these are the things the Heathen seek) for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33 (Jesus Christ)
God is King
While the idea of the “kingdom of God” sounds somewhat old fashioned it simply means that God is King. You Seek the Kingdom of God when you make God your King. In the Kingdom of God, God is King and God’s Will Wins.
To seek the Kingdom of God we seek to have God rule over our own lives, including our lifestyle, values, attitudes, thoughts, decisions, disciplines, and so on. Once God’s rule is clear in our own lives we can then be led by Him to establish His kingship in other areas where we have influence or impact.
The Culture of God’s Kingdom involves three areas to look at. They are the cultural values that reflect God, such as Love, Faith, Holiness, Selflessness, Joy, Humility, Peace, Forgiveness and such like.
It also involves Living by God’s Standards as revealed in God’s Word (the Bible) and Christ’s Teachings.
And it also involves the need to be Unpolluted by Compromise, so we remain Separate from the World and Sin.
Character and Values
Kingdom Culture can be described in terms of your “character” and your “values”. These two things are separate and yet related.
Character looks at HOW you Live your Life, or, in other words, What you are Living BY.
Values look at WHY you Live your Life, or, What you are Living FOR.
Godly Culture involves you living the right way, living by the right things, but also living for the right reasons and objectives.
Looking more closely at Character, remember that it is all about HOW you Live and What you live BY.
The way you live your life could reflect such things as: Greed, Selfishness, Opportunism, Discipline, Sensuality, Pride, Jealousy, Spite, Love, Humility, Faithfulness, Impatience, Anger, Violence, Patience, Self-Control, Laziness, Insecurity, Fear, Self-Determination, Self-Importance or many other character qualities.
Character describes How you travel through life, the mood you are in, the way you respond to challenges, and the tone of your lifestyle.
Looking more closely at Values, remember that it is all about WHY you Live and What you live FOR.
What you are living for could be centred on such things as: Money, Fame, Pleasure, Revenge, Impressing Others, Serving Others, Holiness, Glorifying God, Career, Self-Fulfilment, Leisure, Getting Ahead of Others, Doing your Best, Being Respected, Getting Your Own Way or one or more of many other things.
Values describe Why you travel through life, what motivates you, what satisfies you, and what keeps you going.
Right Character and Right Values
It is possible to have good character, knowing how to do things the right way, but having wrong values. You could be very disciplined, respectful, sacrificial, wise and faithful, but use those good character qualities to serve your lust for success, fame, importance, revenge, or other wrong motivation.
In that case you would have good character but bad values.
Alternatively, it is possible to be sold out to serving God, blessing others, building God’s Kingdom and showing respect to your leaders, but to have such poor personal discipline that you are totally unreliable and unable to effect the things you want to do. You could be too lazy and undisciplined in mind to read God’s word, pray for any length of time, remember your commitments, and so on.
In that case you would have good values but poor character.
That case is reflected in Jesus’ disappointment with the disciples on the night Jesus was betrayed. Jesus saw that their spirit was willing (the right values and motives) but their flesh was weak (poor character to follow through on their good intentions).
Serving the King
A good servant of the King needs to have good character and good values.
You cannot be lazy or selfish, and you cannot be a thief or a liar. You need to be trained to be hard working, faithful, diligent, attentive, denying yourself and so on, and to use those disciplines of character for the right reasons.
How do you stand in terms of Character and Values?
Maybe you need to allow God to invade your life and to train you in godly character and godly values. Maybe you need to ask Him to do that, so you can be a good soldier of the Cross.