Comfort and control.
I crave them.
In an attempt to satisfy my appetite, I work to build a tiny kingdom of my very own. A place
where satisfaction and stability are the norms, and there is little-to-no stirring up of my plans. A
life where good intentions coupled with my best efforts lead to favorable outcomes.
I desire a domain of consistency, but my kingdom shakes every time I experience unexpected
change in my circumstances. I long for met expectations, but there’s quaking when situations
run their course and standards fall short. I work toward the fruition of my dreams, but I become
unsettled when my life takes a turn and those dreams go unfulfilled. I yearn for a clearly visible
upward trajectory, but physical, emotional and spiritual backtracking disturb my little kingdom.
Too often, I place my hope in this kingdom, this domain that I am building with my own two
hands. I remember that I am called to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), but the
reality of whether or not those words have taken root in my spirit is tested when my tiny empire
is shaken and cracks appear. Then my frustrated and anxious spirit reveal how prone I am to
rely on that faulty foundation.
Whether we encounter the tremors of rough financial seasons, toddler meltdowns, and
sleepless nights, or the earth-shattering jolt of a diagnosis, death or natural disaster, one thing
is sure – all earthly kingdoms will be agitated, disturbed, and rattled. That is true of the present,
as we walk through life in a fallen world, but it is also a future reality. There will come a day
when the voice of God Almighty will shake the universe in judgment, sending this earthly realm
crashing down, leaving His kingdom, alone, to stand in victory for all of eternity.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us
offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29, ESV)
Rather than placing our hope in the creation of an earthly home, filled with our own comfort and
control, we must live with a hope that is rightly oriented. Hope in God, who has granted us
citizenship through Christ into a kingdom that cannot be shaken. God calls us to set our sights
on the only kingdom with a sure and lasting foundation – the one built by His mighty, gracious,
and loving hand. When we seek to live directed toward the Kingdom of God, God will shift our
spirits from pride to humility, striving to resting, and dishonor to worship.
From pride to humility
While pride is the root of attempting to build our own unshakable kingdom, humility is necessary
to receive the kingdom of God that cannot be shaken.
Through pride, we believe the lie that our good planning and hard work are the means to
achieving support and security. However, the truth is that the unshakable kingdom of God is a
kingdom received. Therefore, in order to live anchored in the hope of God’s domain, we must
be moved from a stance of pride to a posture of humility.
Humility requires that we say, “Try as I may, I cannot build the kingdom I desire, nor do I enter
the kingdom of God on my own accord.” God’s kingdom is not accessed by human effort; it is
only received through the saving work of the cross of Jesus.
Humility reminds us that our future is not dependent on our works or earthly circumstances.
Thus, we can encounter disruptions that throw our earthly plans off-kilter, and not become
discouraged. Only in this posture of humility can we remember our hope in a greater kingdom,
one that is ours by the merit of Christ alone.
From striving to resting
Our propensity toward personal kingdom-building reveals, at the core of our being, a desire that
this broken world cannot satisfy: a home of eternal peace, a place of complete security and
fullness of joy. Much like Abraham, we long for a perfect city of which only God could be
designer and builder (Hebrews 11:9-10).
When our lives are marked by striving, we live as though this world is our permanent home. We
rely on our own efforts, trying to force an eternal-shaped longing through a temporal-shaped
opening. It only leads to exhaustion and defeat. Through the life, death, and resurrection of
Christ, we are citizens and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19-22). Our forever
home is a kingdom not made by human hands but bought with the blood of Christ. That truth
takes us from a place of striving and brings us to a place of resting because the ultimate work
was completed on the cross when Christ proclaimed that it was finished (John 19:30).
Resting, then, is leaning into that eternal longing. When we find ourselves striving, we must
rest in God’s grace, and only then can we can take a step back and allow for the right
perspective to take precedent. This means that you may need to put down the list of chores to
sit alone and sing a song of praise. You might have to say “no” to previous commitments to
allow time to simply enjoy God’s presence.
From dishonor to worship
The pride and striving in our lives as earthy kingdom builders indicates the absence of
acknowledging God. When we do not acknowledge Him, even for a moment, we dishonor Him.
When we lean on our own understanding, it reveals that we can know Christ as Savior but fail
to recognize His presence and lordship in all aspects of life (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The only remedy is to draw near to the throne of grace in remembrance of our salvation. That
acknowledgment of God shifts our spirits from dishonor to worship. Through Jesus, we have
received the kingdom of God, which grows in us the desire to worship Him with awe and
We must rely on the Holy Spirit to prompt us to worship when we are prone to disregard the
God’s presence and power in our lives. We must grow in humility, asking for God’s light to shine
on the areas where we walk in our own understanding and for willing hearts to lay those areas
on the altar before Him as an act of worship.
What we truly crave
“Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, on the throne of
David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with
righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7, ESV)
When we come to the table of the Lord to feast on His Word, we see that what we’ve been
craving all along is not comfort and control alone. Rather, our hunger for a forever home upheld
by peace, justice, safety, security, and fullness of joy are only satisfied in the person and work
of Jesus. In light of that reality, we can experience freedom from the burden of creating an
Christ will move our hearts from pride to humility, from striving to resting, and from dishonor to
worship. We can now be satisfied with a better hope, free to rest and to worship God, and to
thank Him for our place in His everlasting kingdom – a kingdom that will never be shaken.