And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven
suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and
he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
The above verses set forth a principle
that is one of the most powerful concepts in the world, both spiritually and naturally
speaking. Those who understand this principle and practice it will rise to the top of
their field - they will succeed in what they do, be it victory over sin, success in
ministry, or earthly prosperity. To grasp this concept is to rise above just dreaming of
great things, and to actually enter in to the realization of them.
Very simply put, it goes something like
this: you get what you go after.
That's right, you get what you go for.
If you desire something bad enough, you will go after it and get it. You will press on in
spite of failures and setbacks, and finally reach your goal--if you really want it. If
you're willing to work hard, sacrifice a few other things, and be obsessed with what you
want, you will get it.
This has been proved time and time again
just in the natural world around us. What makes the difference between the Olympic star
and the rest of the would-be athletes? Not natural talent and abilities, but the
willingness to really work, to be obsessed; to allow every other common pursuit of life to
be neglected while he or she "goes for the gold." Not so long ago, a world class
figure skater made it to the top with a good portion of her foot missing--even a severe
handicap makes no difference if you want something bad enough and go for it.
What about all the self-made
millionaires in our country? How about the politicians and sports-heroes and movie-stars?
Most of them are where they are because they worked for it, they sacrificed everything
else for it (perhaps family and friends), they were obsessed by their goals and they
reached forth and took them by force. They asked and sought and knocked until the door
finally opened. God has invested the human being with incredible potential. He was
genuinely alarmed at the Tower of Babel, saying, "Nothing will be restrained from
them (man) which they have imagined to do" (Gen. 11:6). Very few of us, however,
really push ourselves enough to struggle out of mediocrity.
What About Us?
If the world goes all out for the things that
they desire, how much more should the principle hold true for the Christian, who has so
many other Biblical promises to lay claim to, and whose cause is so much more important?
How much more should we be going after the kingdom of God? How much more should we be
taking it by force.. .yea, even beating the door down in our persistent knocking? How much
more obsessed should we be than an Olympic athlete who strives for a mere medal--we're
striving for eternal souls, including our own! How much more can we afford to make a few
sacrifices along the way, if an attractive young girl can sacrifice her social life in her
important teenage years just for a few moments of glory at the Olympics? Her
accomplishment will be soon forgotten; ours will be remembered for eternity.
Again and again the Lord endeavors to
bring this home in scripture. "Blessed are they which do hunger and
thirst"... "ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all
your heart." "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Paul said, "I labored more abundantly than they all," and encouraged
Timothy to "do the work of an evangelist." I could go on and on. It just
seems like the whole Bible is crying out to us... "GO FOR IT, GO FOR IT, GO FOR
IT!" (see Matt 5:6, Jer 29:13, Heb 11:6, 1Cor 15:10, 2 Tim 4:5)
Do you want victory over some besetting
sin in your life? Then go for it! The only reason you don't have complete victory is
because you don't want it bad enough. Sin has no power over you, God's Word affirms -- we
allow it to remain because of our apathy. We don't take this part of the kingdom by force.
Do you want to be a better soul-winner,
a more effective minister? Then go for it! Do you want to see genuine revival in your
church and community? Then work for it, sacrifice for it, be obsessed by it... go for
You preachers who want to have a greater
impact, who want to see your church grow, by all means pray and seek God... but then get
up and work! Lay it on the line a little, drive yourself a little. Don't blame God for not
moving when the real reason is your own laziness and lack of motivation. In my own
ministry, I've always been determined that, come what may, I would at least go down
fighting. I wanted people to say of me, "He sure is a worker, anyway.. .he sure came
down and took the bull by the horns." Well, I haven't been perfectly consistent in
this, but by the grace of God I'm still at it, and intend to fight all the harder in the
In the Flesh?
Some of God's people are worried that
they might get in the flesh if they just went out and did something for God. Too many
ministers have the same hang-up. They sit around being super-spiritual (pseudo-spiritual?)
waiting for a sovereign move of the Spirit. They don't want to promote something
themselves and perhaps find themselves out of God's perfect will. This sounds good on
paper, but it boils down to never doing anything for God.
If I believe in something, if I believe
God has spoken to me, I'm going to tell people about it. If they don't listen at first,
I'm going to speak louder. If I think more people need to hear about it, I'm going to go
on the radio and try to reach more people; I'm going to write a tract and get it into as
many hands as I can; I'm going to go through every open door, and perhaps force a few, in
order to share the burden God has laid on my heart. If I really believe in something, how
can I do less? How can I sit in my prayer closet and say, "If God is in it, He'll
promote it, with or without me?"
What if I started a church, but didn't
announce when the services met-- if I sat on my duff and trusted God to bring the right
people in at the right time, lest I should be guilty of promoting the work after the
flesh? This would be ridiculous, and I'd never get anything accomplished for the Lord.
Actually, I'd do everything I could to get the word out. I'd put a big sign out front, I'd
hand out flyers and talk to people, I'd announce special services in hopes of attracting a
few new people. I wouldn't use dishonest means, and I wouldn't compromise my biblical
convictions; I wouldn't overdo it and waste a lot of money on some kind of massive hype,
but I wouldn't let any over-idealistic ninny make me feel guilty about using a few means
to advance the kingdom of God, either.
We should fast and pray and trust that
God will move in a mighty way in our midst, but we can't just stop there if we want to see
results. The Bible says in Mark 16:20, "And they went forth, and preached
everywhere, the Lord working with them..." We can't pray for revival, and not get
up and witness to someone. It'll never work. When we go forth and preach--when we really
go for it--then God will work with us and make it effective. He'll put exactly as much
effort in it as we do. He doesn't do anything by Himself. There is no such thing as a
completely "spiritual" work--there is always some willing flesh involved!
Again, in my own experience, everything
I've ever seen accomplished for the kingdom happened when I went after something, when I
got good and motivated (sometimes even mad) and decided that one way or another we were
going to do a certain thing. And it always bore just as much fruit as the sweat and toil
poured into it. On the other hand, when I've laid back and tried not to get in the flesh,
I haven't gotten into the Spirit, either! I've ended up stagnating for a season and not
seeing any results.
Go For the Heart!
Brother preachers, this even works in
the pulpit. Go for it in the pulpit! Go for the heart! Do you want results? Then pour it
on--bring that point home as powerfully as you can. Press it in there. Sometimes it's best
to just lay aside your notes and preach from the heart... and to the heart.
Quit overcomplicating the simple,
straightforward things of God and just perform the doing of it! When we get to
over-analyzing spiritual things, we soon lose the fiery spontaneity that makes them
effective. Put away all your books and formulas and start being a doer of the work. Quit
judging the people who are doing something for the Lord, and get out there and join them!
(Why is it that the lesser always criticizes the greater; that the ones who have
accomplished little always find fault with the ones who have done more?) Let's be doers of
the Law, not judges of it (James 4:11).
What is it that you are dreaming of,
that you really want? Are you looking to see the salvation of the rest of your family? Are
you looking to be personally revived, to have a closer walk with Jesus? Do you want to see
the salvation of sinners? Do you want to enter the ministry, the mission field? Are you
looking for a husband or a wife (even this is subject to the laws of going for it!)? Do
you need a job--or a better one?
Whatever it is--and may I suggest you
seek first the kingdom--you can have it if you go for it. Go ahead and work at it! If
you're looking to see people saved, then share the Gospel with them--and go for the heart!
If you're looking to enter missions, then talk to a missionary, learn a language, be a
faithful missionary where you're at now. If you want to be closer to God, then show it by
spending more time with Him in prayer, and by dealing with the things He's speaking to you
about. If you want to bear more fruit, then put more effort into it.
Let's start realizing some of the
potential God has given us. Let's start asking for more, and seeking more, and knocking a
little louder and harder on the doors in this life. Let's go out and take the kingdom of
Heaven by force. Let's diligently, even violently, press in to the things that God has
laid on our hearts, brothers and sisters. Let's go for it!
Copyright © 1998 Kim
Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries. All rights reserved.