Lord, What is "Practical"?

By Francis Frangipane

Ask Him. Go on, ask the Lord, in view of the times in which we live, what He considers practical. I venture you won't hear Him saying things like, "My son, invest in an IRA", or "Child, always get eight hours of sleep." No. As I know the Lord---and He is practical---He will say something like, "Both righteousness and wickedness are coming to full maturity upon the earth, and the world order, as you have known it, will soon be gone. Therefore, stop worrying about the things of this age. Prepare yourself to live continually in My Presence and abandon yourself to Me and My will and I will guide you through the days ahead."

You may say, well, is that practical? I mean, what if the Lord doesn't return for another fifty years? We ask this question often from a motive that is insincere. The problem with most Christians is that we don't want to do God's will; we want to do our will in Jesus' name. We don't seek God to discover what He's doing; we seek Him to bless what we're doing. If people knew that Jesus was not going to return for fifty years; if they could pin Him down to an exact date, the week before He returned, they would pray, love and make things right with those they've sinned against.

I believe that, at least in part, this was what moved the Pharisees to ask when Jesus thought the kingdom of God was coming. Yet, Jesus gave them an answer that we, too, need to grasp. He said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Lk 17:20-21KJ).

They wanted to know when the kingdom was coming; Jesus told them where it would first be revealed. People always want to know when Christ is returning, not because they long for His return, but so they can continue to live selfishly and then, during the week before His return, make things right with God and man. But, God doesn't reveal when He's returning because He wants us to be dressed in readiness, living each day with godly passion and vision.

Oh, how addictive, how deceiving and self-justifying our selfishness is! The Lord doesn't want just the last week of our lives; He seeks all we are every day! He is not looking for "summer help" or "weekend warriors." The Living God seeks a people in whom He can dwell, a people who will become His kingdom on earth! Listen to the writer of Hebrews as the Holy Spirit revealed the unfolding of God's works in the earth. He wrote, "And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.'" And this expression, 'Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:26-29).

Two things are unfolding at the same time. On the one hand, the world is being shaken by wars, rumors of wars, by famines, lawlessness, terrorism and threats of more terrorism. Worldwide, major companies are suffering scandals and bankruptcies; the economies of the nations are void of confidence as fear and indecision grip the heart of man. Yet, at the very same time that all this is happening in the world, God is restoring, upgrading and working in His kingdom!

Remember, the Pharisees wanted to know when the kingdom would come, but Jesus said the kingdom, in its initial phase, doesn't come with signs. In other words, we won't have a sign telling us we need to get up early and pray. There will be no omen warning us that we should turn off the television and seek God. The kingdom of heaven is emerging and incrementally unfolding within us as we obey God. Yes, and the most practical thing we can do is fully obey God in whatever He's called us to do!

You see, these are prophetic days, days when scriptures are being fulfilled before our eyes. The world as we know it is changing rapidly, and it will probably get worse and more helpless before Christ returns. In other words, when a house is on fire, one does not need a course on interior decorating. Likewise, when God is shaking all things that can be shaken, we must press into His kingdom and walk in the unshakeable fullness of His Presence.

These two realms, the shaking of the nations and the unfolding of God's kingdom, will be around us continually until the rapture. Indeed, listen to what else the Lord revealed, this time through Daniel. He is speaking of the last world order on earth and the introductory phase of God's kingdom. Daniel wrote, "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever" (Dan 2:44).

Get this thought: While the world is busy trying to fix its unfixable problems, the God of heaven is simultaneously setting up His kingdom! He is not setting up "church," but His kingdom. It's not coming outside of us, but within us---in our character, our love and faith. It is the gospel of this kingdom which shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness, "and then the end shall come" (Matt 24:12).

Get in the Ark!
Jesus said these last days would be like the days of Noah. You want to see practicality? Look at Noah. To the world, Noah looked very impractical. First, he was building a boat on a mountain top. Second, people were living normal lives, the financial picture was improving: people were buying and selling. Every weekend you could see people marrying and being given in marriage. There was no reason to believe that judgments were coming, certainly not a flood, especially since it had never rained before! But, building a boat on top of a mountain is a practical thing to do if the earth is going to be destroyed by water. God's will is practical. Yet, while the world considered Noah a very impractical person, in the end Noah proved that doing the will of God is, literally, the only way to live.

True, Noah was told to get pairs of animals and food for them, which is a way of saying we do need a little of everything to keep us going right. But, if Noah did not bring along a couple of skunks, it really would not have mattered near as much as if Noah did not get into the ark. You see, the priority was to build the ark and warn the people. God sent the animals to Noah. And when we seek for the Kingdom and determine to live in the Ark of God's Presence, God brings to us the extra things we need to make it through life.

The boat Noah built was called an "ark." The ark was not just a boat, it was a symbol of God's promise to Noah and Noah's obedience to God. This point is very important. For Jesus said, "Not everyone who says, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the Kingdom, but only those who DO the will of My Father." Jesus did not say, "try to do," He said "do." He went on to say, "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and DOES THEM is likened unto a wise man who built his house upon the rock..."

The first thing you must do, therefore, is to actually hear Christ's words in the depth of our spirits. But it is the application of His words that is practical. Obedience to God's will is for us, what getting in the ark was for Noah---it preserves us through the time of shaking that are coming upon the earth.

Truly, there are many good preachers and teachers that can teach better than I the basics of living in the natural world. There are Christian psychologists, Christian financiers, even Christian aerobics; all capable of helping you succeed in their respective skills. Whatever you need can be found in a "how to" book somewhere, which can help you. Get answers, but set your focus high on the will of God. Indeed, the most practical knowledge we need is the knowledge of the will of God. For He, Himself is our Ark of Safety in the days ahead.
 
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