A Storm is ComingWith a storm on the way, it is more important than ever to find the center of God will. That place is the safest place. It is the place where chaos turns to adventure; where fear has no place; where our houses will stand as a refuge for others. This is the place we want to be; so how do we find it?

God’s eternal will is for the restoration of the three things that He lost in man’s rebellion: His reign over our hearts, His intimacy with us, and His habitation in us. I believe that our pursuit of His purpose in these three areas will supernaturally propel us into His will for this strategic season.

This article relates to the restoration of God reign over our hearts. The articles and assessments for the remainder of this series can be found at the following locations:

Our Preparation as His Habitation

Our Preparation for Intimacy with Him

Many in the body of Christ are recognizing the inevitability of the storm. That recognition has created urgency for preparation; and a desire to know how we are doing in that preparation.  Assessing our preparation under His reign is critically important.

Is there a biblical way to assess our preparedness, and receive wisdom and revelation in the ways God would have us strengthen our house? I believe so. In fact, we are encouraged and commanded to do exactly that:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.
Lamentations 3:40-41

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1Corinthians 11:28-32

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2Corinthians 13:5

For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For each one shall bear his own load. Galatians 6:3-5

These passages are clear on a few points: First, we are encouraged to seek God’s assessment; second, we are commanded to assess ourselves (both personally and in community); and third, this assessment is for our good and for the good of His kingdom.

The Gospel of His Reign

Many in the church have grown up with the philosophies of a “democratic republic”. Democracy has been a great political experiment. However, it has created a cultural mindset that makes it difficult to live in a healthy relationship with God.

In God’s kingdom, there is no “of the people, by the people, for the people”. The King has the only, final vote. He is the one that determines and executes mercy and justice. Our rights are what He determines them to be.

For the rebellious, this is an unacceptable situation. And that is exactly what got us into this mess. The first sin was more than disobedience; it was outright rebellion. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they decided that they should determine what was best for them. They decided that they would become the captains of their ship. They mutinied, and all was lost (for a time).

Thankfully, God has a plan to take back the throne of mankind’s heart. Re-establishing His reign is one of God’s greatest pursuits. The first step in the journey towards joyful, Spirit-filled ministry is our surrender to this, one of the three primary purposes of God.

Our surrender must be complete; for the Creator will not share His reign with the created. From His position on the throne of our hearts, God reveals the desires He has placed there. In our surrendered state, we are positioned to receive all that God has purposed for our lives.

Surrender is easier when we understand the gospel of the kingdom, its place in God’s story, and our place in it.

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15

What gospel are we to believe? The gospel of the kingdom. This is the full gospel. It is more than the good news of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Though it is of first importance, the good news that most have been taught is only a part of the good news; for the gospel of the kingdom is literally “the good news of God’s reign in the hearts of mankind”.

Consequently, when Jesus preached, “Repent”, He meant that we were to turn from self-rule to His kingdom rule. We are commanded to move from rebellion to surrender. This was the major theme of His preaching in all of Galilee and throughout Israel.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Matthew 4:23

Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Luke 4:42-43

Jesus was sent with a purpose: To preach the gospel of the kingdom everywhere He went. It was not just for private conversations with His disciples. It was good news for everyone. As you might expect, the gospel of the kingdom continued to be preached after Jesus ascended to sit at His Father’s right hand.

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Acts 8:12

So when they had appointed him [Paul] a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. Acts 28:23

For more references to the gospel of the kingdom, see Matthew 9:35; 10:7; 24:14; Luke 8:1; 9:2, 6, 11; 10:9; and Acts 1:3; 8:12; 19:8; 20:25.

Coming under His Reign

Jesus – our good King – came to inaugurate and establish the kingdom of His Father. As a good king, He made clear the requirements of our entry into that kingdom. In preparation for our assessment, we will look at His expectations from two perspectives, beginning with the Parable of the Talents. Please read Matthew 25:14-30 and consider the following:

  1. “Talents” are more than money. They are every good thing God has given us for life and godliness (2Peter 1:3).
  2. This parable does not include a servant that buried half of the talent given to him. Our obedience is an all-or-nothing condition with Jesus.
  3. Misunderstanding and self-deception are not acceptable excuses.
  4. The differences between reward and consequence are vast.

In addition to this and other parables (e.g., the Wise and Foolish Virgins, the Wedding Feast), Jesus spoke directly about the requirements of entry into His Father’s kingdom. He called it “being His disciples”; a commitment that He encourages us to consider carefully.

Luke 14:25-33 speaks to our “counting the cost” and describes, in stark detail, a few of those costs:

  1. Our love for Jesus must make every other love a distant second. To make the point, He uses a very strong word to describe (in hyperbole) just how distant the second loves must be. Jesus is jealous for His Bride.
  2. For each of us, to become a disciple of Christ requires our following Him in an absolutely sacrificial walk; including the complete denial of self (Luke 9:23) and the forsaking of all that we have.
  3. By the grace He supplies, we must refuse – even refuse to desire (Luke 9:24) – our inalienable rights as humans. We must make ourselves “of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:5-7).

These are but a few of the many requirements Jesus has graciously and pragmatically laid out for the assessment of our condition in this area of His reign. We will cover a few others in the assessment tool.

Assessing Our Preparation

During my time in the corporate world, I received a performance review at least one time each year. Invariably, my review was precluded and supplemented by a self-assessment. Every once in a while, it included a peer review. This process was a great tool for both me and the company.

It has occurred to me that my reviews were not only about my performance – a view into the past. They were also about opportunity; for me, the opportunity for monetary reward, advancement, continuing education, etc.; for the company, the opportunity to advance their vision, purposes and plans.

Similarly, our good King only wants the best for us. He wants us to prosper in His Father’s kingdom. His requirements are more about opportunity than correction As we examine ourselves, it is important to keep this notion of opportunity in the forefront of our minds.

So, consider for a moment that you are one of a company of believers, all attempting to follow the Boss – the Lord, Jesus Christ – as He works diligently to bring all things under His reign. How would you know you are making progress in your alignment with His purpose and objectives? How would you self-assess and peer-assess your progress?

Recognizing that our motivation for improvement is for the pleasure of our Lord, consider the following review statements. Some are based on passages discussed above; others on related Scripture passages. All are referenced to help in your assessment.

NOTE: Don’t spend a lot of time on each question. Instead, spend the bulk of your time in preparatory prayer – inviting God to examine your heart. If a question does not make sense in your context, go on to the next one.  Rate each statement on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being no evidence of attainment and 5 being a level you feel is pleasing to the Lord.

Matthew 25:14-30

  1. Investing, into God’s kingdom, the resources He has entrusted to you.

Luke 14:25-33

  1. Putting your love for Jesus Christ far above your love for others.
  2. Following in Jesus’ sacrificial footsteps.
  3. Saying goodbye to all that you have.

Luke 9:23-24

  1. Denying yourself; losing your life for His sake.

John 8:31

  1. Abiding in His word.

John 13:35 and 15:12-14

  1. Loving the brethren as Jesus loves them (i.e., laying down our lives).

As you can see, there is much we can discover about ourselves through a healthy Spirit-led assessment. Our submission to God’s reign can be measured by every one of Jesus’ commandments. The Spirit may bring others to mind. Give them your attention.

Maturing as the People of His Reign

Now that you have a better assessment of your maturity in this principle area of God’s reign, there are three simple but powerful steps to take to begin growing in the body of Christ. First, and with the Spirit’s leading, select two or three areas for improvement.

Second, develop a plan with some immediate next steps. Only a few steps are needed to get you headed in the right direction.

Third, convert your plan into a written covenant with God. Don’t skip this step. Our God is a covenant keeping God. He will keep His promise to give you the desires of your heart; and He will lead you into the center of His will for this strategic season.


So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:12

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. Matthew 25:19

The Parable of the Talents is a most sobering passage. From it, we discover that there will come a day when we must give an account of what we have done with the “talents” of our stewardship. We do not know when that day will come, but we do know that when it comes the time of preparation will be over. It is a grace of God that we know these things are true; and that they are for our good.

Our King is a good king. He desires to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I believe He has made Himself available – right now – to help us assess our level of preparedness. I believe He is looking to show Himself strong on behalf of those that are loyal to Him and His Father. I believe it will be good thing to receive His gracious correction and His wise counsel regarding our preparation for the coming storm.

Humbly yours and forever His,