If someone asked you the question, "What do I need to do to live a good life?", what would you say? One person may say don't do "bad" things. Another person may tell you to try your best to be a "good" person. Someone else may say always be "nice." All of those things are good, but how do you truly measure whether or not you are a "good" person who is always "nice" and doesn't do "bad" things? We can't confirm whether or not we are living a good life based on what our parents say, what our friends say, or what our employer says. For Believers, Jesus is the standard. (Ephesians 4:13) If we truly want to live a good life, we must follow the example of Jesus and utilize God's Word as the instruction manual of our lives. If our ultimate goal is to live for eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven, then we must do what's required to make it there, now, while we are on Earth. To put it plain, if we want to make it to the Kingdom, every now and then we need to have a Kingdom Check.
It's not enough to say we want to follow God's Word and strive to live like Jesus, we have to truly do so. As Believers, how do we do that?
- Allow the way that we process things - the way that we think - to be transformed. (Romans 12:2) We can't say that we believe what the Bible says, and our daily life looks like everyone else around us, including non-believers. We must live our lives in a way that truly reflects who we are (Believers) and who we represent (Jesus).
- Be intentional about turning away from sin, and running toward those things that are righteous. In Colossians, Paul tells us to put to death all the sinful and earthly things lurking within us, and to instead, put on our new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (Colossians 3:5-10) God knows that for us, learning His nature will be continuous; in fact, that is what He desires of us. He wants us to draw to nearer to Him to develop a true relationship with Him. He wants us to seek Him through prayer, and reveal ourselves to Him so that he can begin to renew our perspectives each day.
- Trust the Word of God above all else. The Word of God is full of examples of guidance, wisdom, prayers, and everything in between. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) We should look to the Bible for guidance on how to live our lives (things we should stay away from as well), for wisdom in making decisions (Proverbs 19:20), an example of how we should pray (Matthew 5:6-13), and for the steps that we should take when we don't know what to do. When we trust God above all else (especially ourselves), God will always show us the path that we should take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Let Jesus be your example. If there is anyone that we should motto Kingdom living after, it's Jesus. Jesus came and completely changed everything. Jesus wasn't addicted to the approval of people like we often are; instead He simply lived the way the Father wants us to live, thus setting an example for all those who would follow him. Instead of condemning people for their wrong doing, he taught us to look at be reflective of our own actions. (John 8:7-11) Instead of choosing temptation, we follow the road that God provides as our way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13) We are called to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgiveable, and overall care for the least of these. (Matthew 25:35-40) The World will know we represent Jesus by the love we show to one another. (John 13:35)
Conducting a Kingdom check may not be easy, but's its necessary. Think of it this way - Each year business professionals take the time to review their financial statements to make sure the plans that they make for the future of their business remain the best choice. Each year to make sure that our health is on target, we go to our doctor and have an annual check up. Our physician will often check our blood, our lungs, our weight, our cholesterol, our blood sugar levels, etc. The same sentiment should be applied to our lives as believers. Every so often we should have what I call a Kingdom Check. We should ask ourselves, "Am I giving all that I’m able to give? Am I serving in my church the way that I could serve? Am I serving in the community the way that I could? Are my daily actions reflective of those of a believer?" These are not questions that you should ask yourself because you feel pressured by another person. These are not questions that you should ask yourself because you hear your pastor mention them during a sermon. You should ask yourself these questions because Kingdom work is important. As believers there are generations of who Believers came before us who also did Kingdom work. I can say that for a fact because without them, we wouldn’t know who Jesus is. It is my prayer that once you conduct your own Kingdom Check, you will be able to determine if you are truly a follower of Jesus, or if you just say that you are. We are all a work in progress. We are all striving for the mark. (Philippians 3:14) Let each day that we live be an example of the faith we have in our Father, and our desire to follow Jesus with all of our hearts. As we continue to live a more holy life leaving sin behind, let us do so while letting our light shine because when we do, God will be glorified. (Matthew 5:16)
Tyndale House Foundation. (1996, 2004, 2015). Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Carol Stream, Illinois. All rights reserved.: Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.