Have you ever been excited to realize that you’re living something out in real life that you saw modeled in scripture?
My friend, Senior Pastor and business partner, Kirk Gilchrist, texted me this article early this morning:
After reading the headline alone, something stirred in my spirit. I got really excited, and I immediately thought of this scripture:
When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. @Proverbs 11:10
It’s Biblical that cities flourish. God instilled this dynamic as a holy charge when he first released Adam and Eve into the earth. And Jesus continued the pattern by commanding us to “occupy” until he returns.
It’s not enough for the Christian to simply roll over and suffer through dark periods. Built into our spiritual DNA from Christ is a divine drive to better that which we’re placed around. We have a Kingdom-call to promote prosperity, not from a “prosperity Gospel,” but a Gospel which causes things to prosper.
This is one reason I find so little time for entertaining Christians who constantly speak ill of the place they live, of the government above them, or the job they’ve been given. Because I have no time for it in myself. It’s carnal, reflecting my inferior human nature, not God’s divine nature.
At New Life, we’ve gone to great lengths to change how we speak about our region and one another. Our staff was addressed years ago about sarcasm and its dangers. From that poignant meeting, we all decided to stop talking about the weather; it’s pointless. We also decided to encourage one another constantly, and curb the careless barbs that point to physical attributes, behavior’s or past mistakes in jest. We’re still a lot of fun, we’re just not ugly anymore. And I would argue we’re more fun now since we’re more safe than we’ve ever been.
I still remember the day Kirk came back to the office and told me he responded to the Lord by pulling his car over and walking into a corn field.
“I started prophesying over the corn field,” he said.
“You did?” I asked, smiling. “What’d you prophesy?”
“I just started declaring life over the corn field. That I saw fruitful businesses there. That I saw lots of new jobs and housing and resources for our the people of our county.”
Today, that corn field is the Target Plaza of Watertown, which includes Target, Panera Bread, Old Navy, PetCo, Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as a brand new multi-story apartment complex.
Granted, we’re very clear in our church that “naming and claiming it” is a very first-world, Americanized view of declarative theology. But it does not dismiss the fact that God causes us to use our words carefully and speak life over situations and contexts currently in dysfunction.
I think the very next line in Proverbs sums it up elegantly:
Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. @Proverbs 11:11
Decide with your mouth which side you’ll be on today; people will thank you for it. (Yeah, there’s a scripture for that too).