An Upside-Down Kingdom

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” Matthew 16:24

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Matthew 20:25-28

In 2013, Time Magazine renamed the millennial generation “The Me Me Me Generation,” calling this group narcissistic, entitled, lazy, and self-focused. And they’re not entirely wrong. It’s shocking to realize this article is now outdated considering how much more focused we’ve all become with our own status and self-image thanks to Instagram and TikTok. And while it’s so easy to get sucked into this self-focus that our culture encourages, as followers of God, we are called to something else, an entirely different way of living.

As Christians, we live in an upside-down kingdom:

  • Our world says my needs before yours; God’s kingdom says your needs before mine.
  • Our world says “My way or the highway”; God’s kingdom says “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
  • Our world says “I’ve got to take care of myself first”; God’s kingdom says “I will give the first of what I have to God (tithe) and give when I see a need because I can trust God will provide for me, too.”
  • Our world says “I have to take matters into my own hands”; God’s way says “I know I’m not in control. God is and He takes care of me.”

God’s kingdom is one of sacrifice, one of you before me. Jesus himself gave the ultimate sacrifice for us, to die for our sins, having never sinned himself. And while it can feel overwhelming to follow the call of Jesus to be a servant, to commit to putting others ahead of ourselves, the beautiful thing is that Jesus does not ask us to do this alone. He’s given us his Helper, the Holy Spirit, who leads, guides, and corrects us, whose job it is to form us to become more like Christ.

We get to spend our lives saying “It’s about You, Jesus” rather than “It’s all about me.” And that is a beautiful thing.

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