Sunday night as I was praying for Nathan and tucking him into bed, it struck me that there is an unresolvable tension between living for this world and living for the Kingdom. My realization may have been triggered by Pastor O'Dowd's sermon Sunday morning, which focused, in part, on living out Kingdom values.
My nightly prayer for my kids always involves asking God to use them to build His Kingdom. Whenever I pray this, there is always a nagging thought in the back of my mind: What if God wants to "use" them in a way that is...well...dangerous?
And that brings the issue to the fore. Am I living more for my comfort, pleasure and peace in this world, or am I living as a disciple of One whose end was the cross?
It is so easy, so natural to get caught up in our daily to-do lists that we simply lose a heavenly perspective. I believe that unless we consciously battle this tendency, our focus will become fixed upon what we will make for dinner, how we will earn the next promotion, what kind of car we will buy, which sports our children will play, what we will wear to the next social engagement, where we will go for our next vacation, and on and on. This stuff becomes our life, and God's Kingdom remains a very nice, yet abstract idea that enjoys our full mental assent but commands none of our actual energy or time.
If we really believe what we say we believe, wouldn't a life lived out to the end in this way be something of a failure?
The sheer verbalization of this thought frightens me. I do want a peaceful, comfortable life. But I pray that it will be my desire to be an arrow that is not simply carried about safely in a quiver, but is shot into the battle by a worthy and loving Master.
Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.
When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.