“Once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens. The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken will remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Keep on loving each other as brothers.” (Hebrews 12:26-13:1)
It could be argued that the world is undergoing a shaking unparalleled in scope to any other period of human history. Governments, economies, social orders, religious systems and nature itself is in a state of upheaval that grows more intense year by year. Yet God’s rule and reign remains unchallenged and his kingdom will be established on earth according to his eternal plan and purpose.
But many, even among those of us who profess Christ, have based our identity in the very world systems that are headed for destruction. If so, we are becoming fearful and angry in response to the feeling that “our world” is coming undone. Financial security and social status has figured strongly into our sense of wellbeing. Perhaps we’ve connected “who we are” with a political party, American citizenship, religious denomination or church affiliation. Others of us have allowed ministry position or notoriety to define our sense of self worth. These and other areas non-essential to a believer’s standing in Christ have served to fracture the true identity of many Christians today.
Yet if our confidence rests in the knowledge that we are the treasured sons and daughters of the One who’s shaking, we’ll remain as secure and confident as a baby resting in her mother’s arms. Well, almost, allowing for a whimper now and then. With our hope anchored in Christ alone we will be convinced that God is in absolute control. We will be content if our needs are supplied while our wants may not be. We will rejoice to see his unshakeable kingdom come in and around us as we yield to his will.
But what should be our objective response to the confusion, fear and turmoil surrounding us? A person’s identity is attached to that which he loves. John the apostle reminds us that if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. But with our identity based completely in the Object of our love and devotion, our response to the exhortation above comes naturally: keep on loving one another. According to John that means laying down our life for one another, sharing our possessions as the need arises. He writes that “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” The kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of love and those who are losing what can be shaken will see that those who are rooted and grounded in love have a firm foundation. It will become evident that the foundation is Christ, for as John goes on to say of those in whom love has been made complete, “..as he is , so are we in this world.”
One can participate in tea parties, protests and petitions and miss his/her greatest potential to make a difference. The sphere of influence beginning with our household and extending to portions of our neighborhood, school, workplace, etc. is assigned to each one of us as a kingdom in which we have the privilege of extending God’s rule. It is our land to possess in partnership with the Landowner. Those who are no longer attached to world systems by false identification have the freedom to move within those systems in the life transforming power of love. They are threatened neither by the systems or the shaking and their Father can trust them with authority that is able to bring peace in the midst of chaos.
God is preparing weak and scarred human vessels for his purposes in the coming days. He’s calling out those who’ve tried on Saul’s armor and discovered it is no more effective against the enemy than a religious t-shirt. He’s moving in men and women who’ve tried in their own strength and failed again and again until they’ve finally given up to God. Those who’ve found there’s nothing left to hang onto but his hand will be instruments through which Father will reveal his glory in the midst of fear, hate, turmoil and disaster. Their lives will be expressions of worship and places of refuge and their love will reveal the Source of all that is good, life giving and eternal.