We are all builders, and that’s not a bad thing. To build families, careers, and business is good and productive for humanity. But for Christians who follow Jesus, there’s a big question at stake – whose kingdom truly comes first? In this fourth message in a series through the book of Daniel, we’ll talk about why thriving in Babylon requires that I know the answer to this question.
Calls for civil disobedience can certainly sound alarmist and sensational, especially when we throw the word “persecution” around carelessly. But is there a time when Christians need to be ready to disobey the earthly powers that be in order to remain in proper step with God? Definitely. Listen in on why. And here are some chicken-scratch notes…
Where I grew up, there was a mall, and in that mall was a Castner Knott (long since acquired by Dillard’s), and in that Castner Knott store was the boys clothing department, and in the back of that department were the jeans for the “husky” kids.
The labels on some jeans said “husky” and the labels on the others… didn’t. And guess who was husky? Yeah. Me. And stores and clothing manufacturers still use this word! This makes me want to start a social media campaign with a hashtag like “#HuskyBoysAreHumanTooYouKnow” and to cry out “Please, for the love of kittens and in the name of all that is holy, stop dehumanizing boys with the word husky!!!”
Negative labels help no one, yet so much of how we live flows out of our identity, which is rooted in the labels we see stuck to ourselves. Some come from our culture, others from our parents, and still others from that bully on the back of the school bus in the third grade. Or the local department store… I digress.
This past Sunday, I introduced a new message series from the book of Daniel called Thriving in Babylon. And in the first message, I scratched the surface of the question, how can I live for Jesus while living in a world that feels more like ancient Babylon than the promised land? Watch above, and here’s a bit of a synopsis.
“At the end of twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’ While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you.'” -Daniel 4:29-30 (NKJV)
Whose kingdom are you building with your life? Without realizing it, many of us are building our own kingdoms. If we’re pursuing pleasure, possessions, or power for our own glory, then we’re building our own kingdoms. In fact, most people, without even realizing it, live life for themselves rather than for God. If our lives are not centered on Christ, then they are centered on self. To check this in your own life, ask yourself what your goals are? What is your purpose? Whom do you exist for? Whom do you ultimately work for?Jesus said it plainly, “
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” To build God’s kingdom we must live a God-centered life. Everything else about who I am needs to revolve around His glory. I am married, but my marriage was designed in the eternal wisdom of God to bring Him glory. I have a career (personally, it’s a ministry, but you get the point), but my work is supposed to bring Him glory. I am a parent and I am to raise my kids to glorify God.
Lord help us never to fall into the trap of Nebuchadnezzar, building our own kingdoms, living life by our own designs for our own goals. Instead, help us to be consumed with a zeal for Your glory!