But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~ Matthew 6:33
It’s hard to live for the Kingdom of God when we’re so busy living for our own kingdom!
We’re beginning a discussion series on “Living for the Kingdom” answering and addressing the question, “What does it look like to seek the Kingdom of God first?” This week at Theology on Tap we’ll be discussing the difficulty of living for God’s agenda instead of our own; living for His kingdom (the true kingdom), rather than ours (the little kingdom).
Here are some quotes from Paul David Tripp's, A Quest For More: Living For Something Bigger Than You to guide our discussion…
“These three things– lack of excitement with the gospel, disappointment with God and with Christianity, and taking on the traits of my treasure rather than the character of Christ– can rip the mask off of the costume kingdom in your life.
Could it be that you have shrunk the kingdom of God down to the size of your little kingdom treasures? Could it be that your excitement with the things of the Lord is not really about the Lord at all?
Could it be that the transcendent glory of God and His kingdom has become for you more of a means to an end rather than the end itself?
The scary thing about the kingdom of self is that it is a costume kingdom. It very quickly takes on the shape and appearance of the kingdom of God.
It is very easy to think that we are living for God, while our personal agenda still rules our hearts and shapes our decisions, words, and actions.
It is very easy to think that we are living for the transcendent joys of intimate communion with God, fueled by a personal enthusiasm for His glory, when in fact we have placed our hope in the shadow glories of this created world.
It is very easy to think that we have exited the narrow confines of our little cubicle kingdoms to breathe the spiritually invigorating air of the kingdom of God, when really we are more entrapped in our cubicles than ever before.
It is very easy for our earth-bound treasures and anxiety-bound needs to masquerade as love for Christ and enthusiasm for His work on earth.
It is very easy to shrink the size of your life to the size of your life and not know it, because the little kingdom of self has been a costume kingdom since the time the fatal deception in the garden…
You are not alone in this battle to unmask and dismantle the little kingdom in your life. Be excited! Your Messiah gives you just what you need for this battle.
The little kingdom leaves you poor, so He offers you the good news of the eternal riches of His grace.
The little kingdom enslaves you, so He endured the cross to set you free. The little kingdom leaves you blind, so He places hands of grace on you to restore your sight.
The little kingdom has left you oppressed, so He purchased your release. In your Lord you find all the resources you need to live with insight and liberty while you breathe the big sky air of His glorious kingdom.”
~ Paul David Tripp, A Quest For More: Living For Something Bigger Than You, pg. 81-82.
Here’s our some questions to get you thinking about which kingdom you are living for:
- Are you doing the concrete things in your life regularly because you are living for something bigger than your own personal definition of happiness?
- Do you live aware of the deceptive nature of the kingdom of self (remember, it really is a costume kingdom), regularly examining your motives and how you are investing your time and energy?
- Are you dissatisfied with the broken world that you live and work in every day? And do you work for its restoration to wholeness in any way you can?
- Have you allowed yourself to be so busy with work on earth that you do not have time to long for heaven? Or is everything you do done with one eye on the present and one eye on eternity? Are you able to deal with the pain and disappointment of today because you really have embraced the promise of a day when this world and everything in it will be made completely new?
- Do you hold loosely to your plans, your schedule, your agenda, your expectations? Are you always looking for way to be part of what God is doing wherever you are, no matter how mundane the moment is?
- Do you live with a deep appreciation for the Lord Jesus Christ and the gift of grace that has fundamentally changed you and the course of your life? Do you work to keep your love and worship of him fresh and new? Do you live with a sense of humble privilege that not only have you been chosen to be a citizen of his kingdom, but his ambassador as well?
“We were never made or remade to live for ourselves. We were created for transcendence. The borders of our lives were always meant to be way bigger than the borders of our lives. When we live this way, by his grace, we not only become part of the most important work in the universe, but we are given back to our humanity.” ~ Paul David Tripp, A Quest For More: Living For Something Bigger Than You, pg. 208-209
Here’s our discussion questions for Theology on Tap (06.22.11):
#1 What is most of your time, energy, and resources spent on? How does your answer reveal which kingdom (yours or God’s) you are living for?
#2 What are some practical things we can do to resist our propensity to live for own little kingdom instead of God’s (true) kingdom?
Join the discussion at Theology on Tap!
On tap next week – “What is God’s Kingdom?”