I believe all our conflicts in life arise from our relentless pursuit of these 3 things:
1. The drive to acquire (KINGDOM)
2. The desire to rule and control (POWER)
3. The drive to be in the spotlight (GLORY)
The energy that motivates us to pursue these things seems to spring from our inner deficits which were formed by a variety of reasons unique to each of us. The two main causes of these deficits seem to be:
- The environment we grew up in filled with people who hurt us or din not/could not give us what we desired emotionally.
- Our deep longing for the world to be what God originally intended it to be produces a longing for what we inherently know we were created to be.
Our needs are totally legit. However, our pursuit of getting them met is not. Deep inside, we know that our lives are what they are supposed to be. We were made to be acknowledged, loved, celebrated, and lavished with wonderful things. This was God's original intention for us until we chose to obey, and consequently serve, another god eons ago in the Garden. So now, we spend our energy in the pursuit of reshaping the world around us with the intent of providing for ourselves the fulfillment we were created for. Like emotional bandaids, we wrap our ourselves within one, or all of the above three pursuits of creating our own kingdom, power and glory (KP&G). We do this in an attempt to 'fill up' our feelings of emptiness, inadequacy, powerlessness, invisibility and poverty. We construct these as if they were ’gods’ who could answer the deep longings of our hearts. But after all our efforts, the deficits still remain and we end up hurting ourselves and others in the process of constructing them. We usually attempt to construct our gods around our fears. What do you fear? Do you fear losing the false identity you’ve spent your life manufacturing? Do you fear loosing power and control? Wealth? Beauty? How about the fear of being eclipsed by someone else in your spotlight or becoming out of touch and irrelevant? These are the things that motivate us to manufacture our own KP&G.
Our nature is perpetually self-referential. In other words, no matter how noble our pursuits are, we always seem to circle back to self-focus. We manufacture these fake identities, because of the the payoffs they occasionally provide, and hide within them. We reason "I have money and nice things. I am one of the good people in life". Or "I've worked hard to get where I'm at. I am worthy of respect and admiration”. "I am smart and good looking and therefore deserve a wonderful life". “I am ultra talented and worthy of worship”. The list is endless. When we find a niche for ourselves, we exploit it for all it's worth. And, when we actually attain some of our personal kingdom goals, we celebrate by thinking “Finally, I am getting what I deserve.” or “I am getting what my heart longs for.” or “I will finally live the life that will make me happy”. But our happiness is short-lived because our emptiness remains. So we press on with more attempts to fill our internal voids. The truth of the matter is that death is all around us. None of us get to stay here, but we live our lives as if we will. And we do this even though we have never seen or heard of any human being doing so. What utter madness. In substituting our own lordship for Gods Lordship, we become subject to the spirit of the age. Without realizing it, we become unwitting slaves to the one Jesus called “the ruler of this world“.
As believers, wrapping our identity in anything but Christ is a formula for disaster. For us, the core danger is in our misplaced allegiance and focus. When we focus on building our own KP&G, we become blind and self-focused. In attempting to rule ourselves, we forfeit the intimate relationship God wants to have with each of us. We trade our ability to see ourselves in truth for the illusions of the personas we manufacture. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that we have been "been bought with a price" and that "you are not your own". If I am not my own, then that means I don’t get to choose. If we identify with God's Kingdom, Jesus becomes our Lord and our identity is wrapped within Christ. We become connected with His Spirit who continually directs our attention to what the Father is doing and saying. We are no longer driven because we are not driving. We are resting and He is driving. And if He is not driving you where you want to go, it is for a good reason. He is trying to protect you from harm that may be done to you by yourself and others. But, over that, He is trying to steer you to the place where He is Lord of your life and where He has a role for you to play in His Kingdom and purposes.
Only God can give us what we long for. Only when we direct our focus toward Him will we find the answer to our inner cravings for value, peace and emptiness. When teaching us how to pray, Jesus starts and ends by redirecting our focus on the Father... His Kingdom, not ours. His power, not ours. His Glory, not ours. That is where we start. We look at Him. We subscribe to Him. We defer to Him in everything. We admit that our attempts to rule our own life only produces a train wrecks. Only then will we experience the peace, safety and true riches of His Lordship.