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10 Signs You Are Living in Your Own Kingdom (and Not the Kingdom of God)

kingdom of God

When I don’t get my way, I freak. When someone takes something that is mine, I freak. When someone doesn’t agree with me, I freak. As adults we tend to freak out about being left out, not getting what is fair, or not getting our way. It’s easy to view others as idiots when they don’t do what you want them to do. The problem is the people who are idiots in our lives are the very people Jesus wants us to love.

I’m not immune to calling someone an idiot. I can get so fiery passionate about my point that I quickly think, “If you disagree with me you are a card-carrying idiot.”

Our way of thinking is a part of the kingdom we’ve built. And when someone disagrees it’s easy for me to pull out the idiot card. You see, it’s not a matter of if we are building our kingdom. It’s a matter of if we realize in what ways we are building a kingdom of “me.”

So how do you know if you are building your kingdom and asking God to be a part of it? It’s not an easy thing to see. I believe there are a few questions we need to ask to see whose kingdom we are building.

Signs That Point to Whose Kingdom You Are Building…

1. Are you easily offended by those who disagree with you? If you take disagreements personally, it’s a sign you view your opinions as a part of who you are. It’s your world and everyone else just lives in it.

2. Do you have any friends who do not think/look just like you? People who do not look like you can make you feel uncomfortable. Your kingdom is about what makes you feel comfortable. It’s about what is easy. It’s about who will serve you. If people who disagree with you don’t have a seat at your table, then all signs point to building a kingdom about you.

3. Do you hold grudges? It’s impossible to overcome a grudge when all you are thinking about is yourself. When we think about ourselves, offenses become magnified and the thought of forgiving seems like an impossible task. When building Jesus’ kingdom, forgiveness is a way of life. That doesn’t mean you don’t get hurt or that it’s easy. It’s just easier.

4. Do you have relationships with others who do not benefit you directly? When it is your kingdom, people are to be used. If someone doesn’t benefit you then you do not have time for them. Think about that friend/family member/church member who has wandered from God. When someone leaves the faith, it should break our hearts. Jesus, the great Shepherd, leaves the 99 to go after the one. When it’s about your kingdom, the offense is paid if anyone leaves. It’s a personal rejection instead of a heartbreak.

5. Is it easy to become prideful when you succeed? As humans it’s easy to magnify our successes and minimize our failures. In God’s kingdom we understand that success and failure look different. If I fail, it’s simply a lesson to learn and not the end of the world. If I succeed, it is because of the grace of God. I play a part in the story, but I am not the story.

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Rob Shepherd is the founding and lead pastor of Next Level Church in Yorktown, VA. His first book, Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You was read by a New York Times best selling author. Pound for pound, Rob is the best white pastor who raps. Rob and his wife, Monica, have twins—known as the Spoofers).