Life in God’s kingdom means ultimate happiness and fulfillment in God:
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:25-26
Often, we look for fulfillment elsewhere and then are surprised when we do not experience all the joy and fulfillment of God’s Kingdom lifestyle. Idols are anything that we seek to bring us that ultimate happiness in life other than God himself.
In his book, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin wrote that “our nature inclines toward idolatry” and that each person’s heart is like “a perpetual factory of idols.” (1.11.3; 1.11.7) It seems that he is, unfortunately, correct. This theme is played out in Jesus’ sermon referred to as: The Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7)
Think about Matthew 6 through this lens. We are so prone to making idols. We can make an idol out of just about anything:
- If we try to impress people with how eloquently we pray.
- If we don’t pray at all and rely on our own ability.
- If we forgive others in order to get something from them.
- If we don’t forgive others at all.
- If we brag about all the food we have to eat.
- If we brag about the fact that we are fasting.
- If we brag to ourselves about the fact that we fast and pray in secret.
- If we brag about the fact that we don’t fast and pray because it can be self-righteous.
- If we count our righteousness by how much money we give away.
- If we count our righteousness by how much we hoard.
- If we don’t concern ourselves with anything in the world.
- If we worry about everything as if it depends on us.
We make an idol out of something, and then we swing the pendulum so far in the other direction that we make another contradictory but equally destructive idol. We can do things to receive public acclaim, or we can do things in private and celebrate in our hearts how righteous we are. Think about it; we can make idols out of the things that we achieve on our own, and then if God blesses us with something, we can even make an idol out of that, too—worshiping the creation instead of the creator.
So, how do we live in this confusing world in a way that is honoring to God’s kingdom? Starting February 26, join us every Sunday for 6 weeks as we seek God’s wisdom to learn how to live a Kingdom Lifestyle.