"Thy kingdom come." - Matthew 6:10a
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink." – Romans 14:17a
What is the best thing that I can do to build the kingdom of God? Is it excellence in Christian education for my children? Is it rich tradition and pinpoint doctrinal accuracy? Is it warmly talking of our heritage in order to produce a love for this in others around us?
As much as I love all of these, I have seen this often mistaken for what is best, for what is necessary.
To build the kingdom of God, I must build the kingdom of God. I know that this sounds silly, but many Christians do the first three points but never do anything to build the kingdom of God.
- I can educate and refine my children until
they be slick, CEO type, motor-mouths capable of running any Christian
organization -- all vanity, unless they are humble and filled with the Holy Spirit.
- I can lovingly publish, talk, and embrace our rich traditions and doctrines for my children and others until they be rooted in the richest traditions of the most orthodox doctrines -- good. But they could also become formal and liturgically sound in their worship, thinking, and ways -- not good.
- I can gushingly tell of our heroes, saints, and ministers until our children love the same and follow them as they follow Christ. And this is good.
But unless I build the kingdom of God I am only building tradition and human machinations.
What does it mean to build the kingdom of God?
It first means to let this kingdom reign in my heart. This means a clear testimony to salvation from all sins and a cleansing from all inbred sin. This means forsaking all to follow Christ – forsaking self, lesser things that I love, comfort, rights, opinion, popularity, power, authority, and anything else that we humans try to manipulate to “build” our personal reputation, empire, or comfort zones rather than God’s kingdom. This means praying and interceding much until I know what God wants me to do and be for Him, even at the cost of never being known or noticed. It means to even then to continue to pray much and for others. It means forsaking all in order for yourself and for others to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
We often speak of the act of forsaking all necessary to know Christ. But so few after the initial forsaking, continue to forsake all in order to help as many as necessary know Christ. But this very thing is building the kingdom of God.
We often have not forsaken enough to spend much time in prayer or in seeking to know Him through His Word. Nor have we forsaken enough to bring as many as possible to Christ. Our lives are too cluttered and busy with other things we love.
We love our fine education and other ways of bettering ourselves, our doctrines and theology, our traditions and our heritage, our comforts and our high culture, our reputations and self promotion, our fellowshipping and our mingling, our organizations and our planning to promote such.
But in the end we have just that and no more. Where is God's glory and presence? Where am I? Am I dead to sin and the flesh and alive unto God? Where are the new souls won and discipled to Christian perfection and beyond? Where are the new churches -- not new church buildings -- but rather where are the new congregations? Where are the new mission fields, not hand-me-downs as precious and as needed as they be also?
I know that many play a hidden part in such highly visual works and this is good, for God does not call many to full time ministry. But we all must ascertain that all our passions are in building God’s kingdom and not in building pious but lesser interests. Nor am I speaking against local church loyalty, for I know that God has ordained His kingdom to be advanced from the framework of loyalty to the local church.
But our greatest longing and striving must be to love and glorify God, and then labor to bring souls to perfection in Him. This alone will build the kingdom of God.
- Phillip, July 19, 2010