We humans spend so much time and energy building our own little empires, don’t we? And yet Jesus calls us to turn that whole self-interest thing completely on its head:
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” – Matthew 16:24 (NRSV)
That’s easy for Him to say; it’s a lot harder for you and me to do! So how do we lay down our personal plans for a little empire, and build His mighty, everlasting Kingdom instead?
Well, my friend, that’s exactly the question that we’ll explore together through this plan.
In Luke chapter 6, Jesus told His followers that good trees bear good fruit, and the same is true of the human heart. So, if we really want to become Kingdom-builders, we don’t need a change of behavior. We need a change of heart.
To see how this plays out, we need to go to a man who had the right heart: King David.
He was the greatest king of Israel, ever. If anybody could have been an empire-builder, it would have been him! And yet he was far more interested in building God’s Kingdom.
Here’s why. The Apostle Luke writes:
“When [God] had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’” – Acts 13:22 (NRSV)
Do you see? The heart comes first, then the actions. David was a man after God’s heart and, as a result, he would carry out God’s wishes—not his own.
The good news is that King David was a sinner just like you and me. And the point of God calling him a man after His own heart is that God knows that we’re not perfect, just as David wasn’t.
God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He wants our hearts to beat as one with His.
Friend, you and I can’t produce good actions out of a bad heart. When there’s arrogance, selfishness, or pride dwelling in our hearts, we can’t have the Kingdom impact we desire.
Willful rebellion in our hearts will rob us of our rightful role as builders of God’s Kingdom, so step one is to get rid of rebellion—and get your heart right with Him.