My wife and I used to play a fair amount of tennis together, especially in the years previous to the arrival of our kids onto the scene! At the time, Piper’s folks owned a couple of lots in two prestigious coastal developments on either end of our ruggedly beautiful Sonoma County California coastline. In fact, we co-owned one with them for a few years on the hill near the private airport at the Sea Ranch community.
That family ownership gave us the rights and privileges to drive on the private streets without being stopped by security and free use of the facilities and amenities. One of our favorite things to do was to drive out to Bodega Bay in the morning and play tennis on the courts that were built on the edge of a cliff with commanding sights of the Pacific Ocean. It was a big thing for us as young adults in our mid-twenties to be able to enjoy the pleasures and benefits that came with membership in the development’s owners associations.
As I read from Colossians 1:13 this morning I also began to think about the benefits and pleasures that the family membership in the kingdom of God affords us who believe. This verse informs us that: “God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves.” That verse is like the identification cards we carried in our wallets or the decal on the front window of our Datsun 280Z that identified us as members of the private coastal communities. That decal on the window afforded us a friendly, gentle wave from the security patrols in their white Volvo patrol cars at The Sea Ranch, instead of a yellow light flashing in our mirror!
Likewise, Colossians 1:13 gives us the green light of opportunity to walk in obedience to God’s ways and thereby enjoy the benefits attributed to family membership in the kingdom of God, free from the adverse convictions and sentences of the law of sin and death. (See: Romans 8:2)
California State Route One is a major north-south highway that runs along most of the coastline of the state. Its winding, twisting paths traverse through both of the developments I mentioned above. It is a fun route to drive and has beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. I can still hear Piper’s gentle voice urging me to slow down on the especially twisty turns above the small coastal community of Jenner, California as her stomach was beginning to get a bit queasy from “Parnelli Jim’s” sports car driving as I accelerated around the sharp corners!
It was always a regular event for us to pull over and park in the narrow turnoffs along the way to Sea Ranch so that I could capture the outrageous scenes of the waves, fishing boats and blue as far as the eye could see with my camera. Piper had become quite accustomed to the knowledge that I would usually somehow catch her lovely form in many of the pictures as well!
But as wonderful as those scenes were from the road, they were not nearly as gorgeous and breath-taking as the close up pictures you could get from the various meadows, hills and beaches on the private communities that only members had access to. The same could be said for our membership in the kingdom of God. The perspective of life from outside of the family of God is NOTHING compared to the personal experiences of His love through “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:19 ESV)
As members of the family of God we have the privileges of the kingdom life that among the other many benefits, allows us to have the “Kingdom Perspective” in our lives on this earth. That perspective causes us to see things differently. It allows us the freedom to respond differently to both the good and bad situations that we might face each day. It empowers us to rise up above the hurt, confusion, sickness, lack and troublesome circumstances around us and walk in the love, peace and joy of the Kingdom of God. It allows us the possibility of being the strength in someone’s life in times of need.
I was up a few times last night tending to my wife’s needs as she awoke congested on a number of occasions. When I lay back down after the last incident, I sat in quiet retrospect for a moment and then asked the Lord to show me what His kingdom perspective was on what was happening with Piper at that moment. The reply was almost immediate as I began to picture the prayers I had prayed and the scriptures I had spoken over her before originally tucking her in around 11:00 PM.
Then I understood that I had already set the “immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe…” and all I needed to do was to re-activate my believing for those actions and thank Him for His working peace and wholeness into Piper’s life! And you know… once I did that I fell into a deep sleep… along with Piper… and we didn’t wake up until about four hours later.
So, what is your perspective going to be this weekend? Are you going to tap into the benefits that come from your membership in the kingdom of God? Will you enjoy God’s kingdom perspective with every experience on Saturday, Sunday and beyond? Just think about it… It didn’t really cost you a thing as Jesus paid the price of your membership with His blood. So why not take advantage of the multitude of benefits that He has already provided for you? Have a terrific weekend. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s membership benefits am I expecting to activate and enjoy today?”