The Kingdom — Always, Only, Ever Increasing
By Elizabeth Enlow
Excerpt from "God in Every Season"
Available on Amazon November 11, 2017
One of my absolute favorite truths I’ve discovered (thank you, Holy Spirit!) has to do with the kingdom of God. The kingdom of the King (who is good and only good) is always, only, ever increasing. We are already a part of something that cannot fail and can only get better, forever! That alone gives me courage to stay the course and gives my heart permission to enjoy every season. Because every season, no matter how much it may feel like a repeat of previous cycles, is actually moving me forward.
It’s kind of like this…think of a clock or a watch. It has the face that you can see with hands that spin to tell us the hour and minute, but underneath and unseen there are wheels that turn wheels, which turn other wheels, that turn the hands on the face. The kingdom, like time on a clock, is advancing. Time is so relentless that we can take for granted how amazing and precious it is. The kingdom is also relentlessly advancing, regardless of our perception of it or our keeping track of it. Similar to the hidden and seemingly disconnected wheels that turn other wheels, our individual and collective seasons of our souls are inextricably connected to the ever advancing kingdom. The seasons aren’t the kingdom any more than the face or the wheels of the watch are time, but rather the seasons of your soul are where you participate in the Kingdom that was, is, and is to come. And in the same way that there are wheels within wheels, we all have seasons of our soul within seasons of our life. How that applies to you individually, for instance, is that you can be in winter in one area of life and in fall in another simultaneously, but there’s usually an overarching distinct season of your soul. Just to make things even more interesting, there are seasons of heaven’s purposes for the earth, nations, regions, cities, the church/bride, generations, couples, individuals in life, as well as in each area of our personal lives. Now only the God who created time itself can keep track of all that and keep you moving forward…always, only, ever increasing!
I grew up attending a private Christian school throughout grade school and highschool. We went to Bible class every day and memorized a ton of scripture. I’m grateful for that, although I wish I had made more of an effort to memorize the scripture references too. I hated the Bible sword drills where we would all stand at attention, Bibles in hand, to see who could find the book, chapter, and verse first. I never could find them fast enough and I couldn't stand the pressure. But you’re also listening to someone who was scared of playing kick-ball or popping a balloon. Fortunately I’m married to a walking concordance who knows where everything is in the Bible. Anyway, I remember a paper I had to write one time for my Bible class about all the different parables where Jesus explained, “The kingdom is like…” For some reason, the topic really interested me and became something I’ve meditated on for many years since. What I’ll share is certainly not an exhaustive coverage of the kingdom, but some thoughts I have that are meant to fill you with greater hope for your future and the future of our world.
The kingdom of God isn’t just some ethereal spiritual concept. It’s part of who God is, or maybe better said, it’s an expression of who He is. The kingdom is the King’s domain — the King’s way of ruling or doing things. It would be like walking into His house, seeing the way He has decorated it, the way He runs it, the culture and structure of it, and how you feel when you’re there — contrasted with Satan’s house, or kingdom of darkness. How different it would look and feel in comparison.
Back in the day, when kingdoms actually existed, citizens of a kingdom could tell what the heart of their king was like even if they never saw or met the king themselves. They could tell if he truly cared about them based on the culture of the kingdom they lived in and experienced every day. If they experienced him as a powerful king — if they felt safe, provided for, treated justly, and given equal opportunity to succeed — then they knew their king was kind and good, had good intentions towards them, and could be trusted. Those citizens, fallen like us, were wired to perceive good or evil intent through their circumstances and project that onto the nature and character of their king. That wiring is faulty at best because no one person can tell another person’s (nor God’s) intent of heart based on what they alone experience. We cannot possibly understand or correctly filter through all of the other imposing factors, even if we knew what they all were.
Now, using the same analogy (oh how I love them!) suppose a son or daughter of that king tainted another citizen’s perspective of the king by miss-representing Him, setting into motion systems that ran off the incorrect assumption that His ways don’t work or He doesn't care enough to get involved. Pretty soon, citizens of a good King start trying to run the kingdom themselves, undermining their own access to correctly perceive Him because they no longer get to experience His better ways of doing everything, since they’re too busy doing it their way and reaping those consequences. His correct reputation as a good king would no longer be easily seen or perceived. Sound familiar?
But there’s good news! In fact, the gospel of the kingdom means the good news of the king’s domain or way of ruling — the good news that a good king is in charge and has solutions to every problem and better ways of doing everything. From scripture (Matthew 4:23, 6:10, 9:35, 12:28, 24:14, Luke 10:9, 11:2, 17:21, John 18:36 NKJV), we know some specific and sure things about this kingdom that we are a part of:
1. Since the gospel of the kingdom is by its very definition, good news, the kingdom is never bad news.
2. The kingdom is forever. Therefore, anything that is bad news is not part of the kingdom and will fade away. It can only get better!
3. The kingdom was Jesus’ mission, which He in turn commissioned us into as well. This mission included Him dying on a cross (which means we don’t have to) and each of us daily picking up our own cross. I dare say that our cross is found in the midst of embracing each season of our soul. The mission also included showing the world the correct reputation of God and His true heart towards mankind. That too is an aspect of our mission.
4. Whenever Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom with words, He also accompanied it with action — supernatural power which superseded the natural realm, displaying the Father’s love. He left us the Holy Spirit so that we too could accompany our words with supernatural expressions of the Father’s love.
5. The end of time as we know it will not come until the gospel of the kingdom is preached in all the world. This isn’t over until, as Habakuk 2:14 says, “The earth (is) filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord…” At some point, enough of us will be fully convinced of His glory (what makes Him so good) that we will speak it and live it so completely, that everyone on Earth will have had access to the truth of who He really is, how good He is, and His heart full of love for them.
6. The kingdom is already here, but it is also coming. This excites me because it means, if we learn to see correctly, evidence of the kingdom is already in the Earth. We’re farther along than meets the eye. My husband, Johnny, has a great chapter on those evidences in his book, The Seven Mountain Renaissance, which is an important book for all believers who want to be a part of bringing reformation to every area of culture.
7. This kingdom is not an earthly, political kingdom. Jesus told Pilate that, if it were, His servants would have fought. It’s necessary for us to understand what that means for us today. We quickly draw our social media swords of opinion on every hot topic and run to false battle fronts, taking brutal stabs at people. But people are never the enemy, whether or not they’re doing things true to your version of Christianity.. Jesus made it clear that the kingdom doesn’t ever advance through fighting. We simply must stop the fighting, between ourselves, and especially with those who don’t yet believe.
8. Jesus declared, “Our Father…let Your kingdom come…” He aligned His words with the desire of God’s heart and instructed us to do the same. What does His kingdom look like today, right in the midst of this season of your soul? In Chapter Four I’ll talk more about the power of your words and using truth statements you can declare over yourself that will align your heart and words with the season God wants to meet you in. I have included specific truth statements that are helpful to each unique season at the end of each chapter about the four seasons.
9. The kingdom of God is always, only, ever increasing. Isaiah prophesied of Jesus before His birth, that of the increase of His government there will be no end. Jesus’ kingdom, God’s rule, will increase infinitely. We will never stop seeing new and awesome ways He cares for us and governs the universe. Incredibly enough, the universe itself evidences that truth. Science has shown that the known universe, full of galaxies within galaxies, is continuously increasing. Wow. Just wow.
10. Jesus told us the kingdom was within us. He set this same increase and forward motion in us. In Him there is always, only, ever increase, which means whatever is connected to the King and His kingdom will do the same.
Include Him in all you think, do, and aspire to and you are sure to always, only, ever increase. What He is involved in (you guessed it) always, only, ever increases. Ok, one more kingdom word-picture…like a spring or a slinky-toy when it’s stretched out. It looks like a circle, but in reality it’s a pattern of cycles that are advancing. That’s you and me— a slinky in the hand of God!