It is important to remember our role in the kingdom of God is that of a servant. Yes, we are full citizens, but God’s system of government is not a democracy. While we are free to choose our allegiance, and have been given a scope of authority to perform ministry, we are not in charge of the kingdom. Therefore our successes and victories ultimately belong to God.
This doesn’t mean our efforts to grow the church don’t matter. God inspires us to use the resources He provides in fresh and innovative ways. Yet, in every generation, what He desires most are workers with submissive hearts who are committed to His mission of transforming lives. This can take place in small, midsize and large churches. It occurs in storefronts, multi-campuses and parachurch ministries, as well as traditional, contemporary and multi-generational congregations. God can even use seriously flawed ministries as long as He can find someone who is willing to live by His Spirit and for His glory.
This is the nature of the kingdom of God. We are His ambassadors and He defines our steps. When we forget this important truth we become possessive, permissive and pompous, but when we serve with a kingdom mindset, God uses us to change the world.
The apostle Paul shared this perspective in His letter to the Philippians. While he was imprisoned in Rome some church leaders decided to stir up trouble in his ministry. They were filled with envy and selfish ambition, and saw the incarcerated apostle’s situation as an unexpected windfall. Yet, Paul was thankful. He knew for every jealous rival who was using his misfortune for personal gain, there was a pure-hearted brother who was emboldened to preach more courageously. Not only this, but Paul wasn’t losing any sleep over those who were trying to leverage his pain. He wrote, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice” (Philippians 1:18).
When we remember the kingdom of God is indeed God’s kingdom, we are more likely to do His will, give Him praise and adapt to trials over which we have no control. The Lord will guard our hearts against the footholds of pride and independence, and teach us to watch for His hand in everything.