Arguably, when we gave our lives to Christ, our minds did not change. As we continue to walk in the Holy Spirit, He begins to influence our souls and this in turn influences our bodies. After our bodies have been influenced and they begin to act and react according to God’s will, we then begin to influence our worlds—people we often have contact with. Sometimes it begins from our families—our children, spouses and other relations. Contrary to popular opinions, we must also expand the Kingdom of God to our enemies; especially peace. So, rather than pray for your enemy to die, show them God’s kind of life.
The Kingdom of God brings joy. We must introduce our God within to our world. The Bible is replete with stories of people who expanded God’s Kingdom to their areas of influence. Arguably, when we bring God’s righteousness to our workplaces, the atmosphere will change. Sometimes it could be positive or negative. A case study is Joseph who introduced his God by his conduct to his workplace (Potiphar’s household). When his righteousness was tempted, he stood his ground. When he was sent to prison, he continued to expand his righteousness, peace and joy. Another example is Daniel who expanded God’s Kingdom in the heathen land of Babylon. Again, Job expanded his righteousness, peace and joy to his situation.
Why this Time?
Expanding the Kingdom of God becomes more pertinent today because Jesus is coming quickly (Revelation 22:20). God didn’t lie when He said that He has given man authority to subdue the earth, and Jesus has told us to occupy or subdue till He comes (Genesis 1:28, Luke 19:13). Jesus has given us power to occupy till He comes. God designed us for a purpose and He doesn’t see any inadequacies in us. Sometimes we grieve over our humble background and/or inadequacies. However, like Moses, who complained that he was a stutterer, God sees us as perfect people who are capable of subduing the earth for the return of His Son.
How Can this be Done?
In Romans 12: 3 – 8, the Scriptures confirm that God has given us the abilities to expand His Kingdom and that God has given every person a measure of faith to accomplish that. Every gift of God comes with an anointing and anointing is power, boldness and determination. You need to go out and dare the Devil to express it. There are God’s aspects in every person that needs expression. This is what many Bible scholars refer to as the latent power of God.
How to Identify Your Gifts or Abilities
Remember that the key to expanding the Kingdom of God lies in identifying your gifts which are aspects of God given to every person to accomplish God’s purpose in their lives. These aspects of God’s personality have been given to every person in parts because no one person can carry all of God’s personality lest they’ll burst. For this reason, I’ve highlighted below a few hints on how to identify your gifts so that you can grow in them to expand the Kingdom of God. In other words, the key to identifying your gifts is to always check your urge.
- There are people whose concern is what is the Lord saying? This can be developed into the gift of prophecy. The more you use it, the more you grow in it. Arguably, people grow in their gift but not into their gifts. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that you’ll one day grow into your gifts without using them.
- Apart from the urge to prophesy, some believers have the urge to act against injustice. Again, this is a gift that can be developed into fighting injustices in the society. You don’t have to be a lawyer to use this gift.
- Some believers have the urge to pray for the sick and this can grow into gift of healing when constantly used.
- Some believers always have the urge to see something done in order. This is very true of God because God is God of order.
- Some people always have the urge to help the helpless. God puts His urge for compassion in them so that He can help the helpless through them.
- Some believers have the urge to always teach. This is an indication that you can be a great teacher of the Word.
- Some believers always have the urge to encourage people. If they would always open their mouths to say a word of encouragement to someone, even their presence alone can bring some relief to someone.
- Some believers have been given the urge for excellence. Like yours sincerely, these are people who believe that what is worth doing is worth doing well. Call them perfectionists you may be right. They are always meticulous.
- Some believers hate poverty and always have the urge to meet financial needs of other people. Such people are always compassionate.
When the Lord says, ‘Occupy’, He means every place we tread upon. Our workplace is one of such places. Many believers always make a mistake of thinking that they must be in the ministry to be able to identify and develop their gifts. This is not true. However, I must caution here that though we spend most of our productive energy on our work, we must not live to work but work to live. Contrary to what many people think, God ordained work. In other words, work did not come as a result of sin. When man sinned he was cursed – hence he began to live to work becoming slave work.Our work must be converted to a ministry. Our work should be our ministry. If not, it means that we’re toiling. Adam laboured so much but with very little reward. Jesus came to give a hundred fold returns. So, for your work to be profitable, you must be in Christ. Work should be a means to fulfilling your purpose. When a man labours outside his purpose, he is toiling.
Let God be glorified in your work. An example is Joseph who brought God into the house of Potiphar. Learn to develop a personal walk with God. When you do this, God will work for you. When God works for you, excellence will be the result. I want you to ponder on these two points: (1) When you step away from your purpose you are stepping into toiling and struggle. (2) When your priority for life changes or when God ceases to be the reasons for your life or work, toiling begins.
God should be first in everything we do. In the time of prophet Haggai, the Israelites put their interest above God and God was angry (Haggai 1:2–end). We must not do the same today. We must restore the order—God first. When we restore the order we restore the presence of God. At this point, I must also say that we must not only show God in what we do or say in our workplaces, we must also show the presence of God by the way we dress. I’m not one of those who condemn people based on what they wear but I’m convinced that no true child of God will deliberately dress indecently.
The Authority and Weapon to Occupy
Arguably, we can’t subdue or occupy the earth without a weapon or authority. We’re not waiting for Jesus as vanquished folks but as victors. In other words, Jesus is coming to take a triumphant church not a defeated church. The authority Christ has given us is a mandate of dominion (Gen.1:26). Jesus gave back what man lost in the Garden. This is power of the Gospel given to all believers in Mk16:15. This authority was also given to Saul (Paul) after his conversion (Acts 26:12 -18). This authority is in the name of Jesus and can only be in operation when we work in it. Unfortunately, many believers can’t bail men out of the power of Satan because they themselves are captives to sin. Therefore, your holiness is important to walking in authority.
Prophetic Word: “You will continue to be a victim in life until you occupy and subdue your world.”
*This article is based on the message on Occupying Series preached by Pastor Toni Ogobegwu between January 22-February 19, 2006.