"... [N]ormal desires for love [are] mutated into something very different. This happened because we made the world about us and our desires. We want to be admired, respected, and important. We want fame, as long as it doesn't interfere with our comfort. We want... glory, glory for ourselves.
What we really need is a changed heart.
There it is again: Whose kingdom? Where is our treasure? Our treasure is the admiration of others; our kingdoms are our own. The way out begins with what Scripture calls repentance. In shorthand form, this means that we confess we made it all about us. We were building our own kingdoms, and now we recognize and state before God that we were wrong." (Running Scared by Ed Welch, p. 188)
Welch is right, and I see it in myself. My insecurity and fear are built around me trying to build a kingdom for myself. The bricks are human appreciation, approval, and affection. The beams and supports are my greatness compared to others. How do we build it? What is the work we do to build it? For me, I tend to live around my performance. I live around being great at things I do and being everything others, certain people in particular, like. And if I can't? If I fail? If for some reason my efforts turn out to be for naught because their approval is lost or threatened? I panic. This gives other people tremendous power over me, for they stand as the gateways to what I desperately need to build my kingdom.
He is also right that the beginning of making our pilgrimage out of this land of bondage comes through repentance -admitting that I've been all about me and my kingdom. We've been working very hard, yes, but not to build God's kingdom. We've been working to build our own. Even good things, good actions, become tinged with the desire to get that something back. Good actions have been captured as slave-workers for our little kingdom.
We find this quickly when we set out to "love other more than we need from others" but then are confronted with how difficult it is to do that. We often quicky find that we have just employed the idea as one new strategy of many practical strategies to gain that approval and appreciation. We come face to face with how much we need Jesus, and it is only through looking to Jesus and looking upon Him that we begin to be captured with the beauty of being lop-sided: loving others relentlessly for the sake of God's kingdom even when they don't give us back what we want.
Are you building a kingdom for yourself? What is it made of? What are the bricks and beams made out of? How do you try to build it? How do you react when you sense it is being threatened? When it is obliterated?