Let’s talk about kingdom building.
Let’s begin by identifying two kingdoms. One is God’s. God’s kingdom is wherever the reign of God is. God is sovereign. He is King. He is the absolute Ruler. His kingdom is where he is invited and allowed to rule and reign supreme. That kingdom begins in the heart of individuals who surrender absolute authority to Him. It exists in lives that are sold out to His Lordship. Jesus said to someone asking about the whereabouts of the kingdom, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Matthew 17:21. From there it extends to include the church and the rule of God in the world.
The second kingdom is our own personal kingdom. It is that realm where we want to have control. It is that which people build for their own enjoyment. It is where the selfish desires of the heart are lord. It is where self, despite claims to the contrary, is the driving force. It built around pleasure, possessions, prestige, popularity, and even power.
Now, if I were to ask the average person which kingdom they would prefer to build some would say God’s Kingdom while others would be absolutely honest and say their own kingdom. I like honesty. I prefer people to call it what it is. I can respect a person who says they are selfish and don’t mind if you know. I don’t agree with them and think they are headed for disaster, but I can respect their honesty.
What concerns me more is those who believe and claim they are building God’s kingdom and are actually building their own. They are self-deceived. They are mistaken and misdirected. In reality, they are actually holding the Kingdom of God back more than building it.
How do you know when that is happening? How do you tell if a person is going down the wrong road and not aware that they are on it? Or how do you identify someone who would say they are building God’s kingdom and are actually constructing their own? Even more pressing, how do you know if you might be that person?
I think there are at least four clear indicators of exactly whose kingdom we are building. Before I mention them I need to clarify this point. Many people have a mistaken idea of what actually it is that builds the Kingdom of God. What we would sometimes think are Kingdom builders are actually personal interests and involvements. For examples, going to church, reading your Bible, praying, putting some money in the offering and hanging around good and godly people can all be thought of as Kingdom builders (and in some cases they are)when in most respects they are self development interests and involvements.
So, here are four indicators of just whose kingdom you are most concerned about and involved in building.
- Passion: what are you most passionate about? What gets you excited? What causes you to lay awake at night? What inspires your creative juices? What brings you to the point of sacrifice? What moves you to get out of bed in the morning? What brings forth plans in your head and on paper? Is it your own pursuits or is it the Kingdom of God. Are you more passionate about your kingdom or Gods?
- Service: what are you most likely to give up your limited time for? How much time do you devote to your pursuits verses the needs of others? What do you go out of your way to do? Who are you most willing to sacrifice for? Who are you most willing to get down and dirty for? When you get up in the morning and think of your day, what comes to mind first and most, what you want to accomplish that day or what you can do to serve others and the Kingdom? Are you more likely to serve your own needs or to serve God by serving others?
- Stuff: our stuff speaks volumes about whose kingdom we are really building. Look around yourself. Look at the Kingdom of God and then answer. Are you more interested in getting more stuff or seeing that the needs of the kingdom are met? When you get your pay check what is on your mind, getting something you want or providing something the Kingdom needs? Are you getting more and more stuff while the needs of the Kingdom continue to go unmet or under met? Does your stuff declare that you are more interested in building your kingdom or God’s
- Money: Money buys stuff, however, money is a kingdom indicator all by itself. No one said it better than Jesus when he put it on the line, “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) He didn’t say, you shouldn’t or you might not serve then both, he said you cannot. It is impossible. It is absolutely impossible to serve both. And here’s the truth, it is really simple to tell whether or not you are serving God or money. It is really easy to know who has first place when it comes to your money. Are you ready? Here it is. Are you giving to the Kingdom at least a tithe of your income? “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God in first place in your life.” (Deuteronomy 14:23) All that is necessary is to look at one’s check register to know if you are building your kingdom or God’s.
I would suggest that these kingdom building factors are far more than an interesting discussion for a blog post or a magazine article. It is of eternal significance. There is only one thing that will last forever, the kingdom of God. It will never end. The Psalmist wrote, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.” Ps 145:13,
This world and everything in it will one day be dissolved and disappear but the Kingdom of God will live on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. It will never end. I don’t have all the answers as to when and how that will happen but it will happen. It is going to happen whether or not I understand it. It will happen whether or not I believe.
Because of the certainty of the future I would suggest that you devote your entire life to building that which will last forever, His Kingdom and not yours. That doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy what God has blessed us with. But it does mean that our passion and service and stuff and money are invested in His Kingdom always before our own kingdom.
Time for a Kingdom check-up?