Friday, March 7, 2014

Kingdom Building

Hanging on my bulletin board, directly above my desk so it is staring me in the face, I have this sheet of paper tacked up:

It is the chord sheet for Rend Collective Experiment's song "Build Your Kingdom Here." This song is getting a lot of airplay on our local Christian radio station, and I have to confess, I love it. I printed out the chords so I could work on learning it myself.

If you haven't heard the song yourself, you should give it a listen.

Go on, I'll wait.

Honestly, I don't love the video, but I do love the song. Okay, here we have a Christian band playing in the indie-folk-rock style that is so popular right now (Mumford & Sons? The Lumineers? The Civil Wars? Iron & Wine?) A cynic might say that they are just trying to baptize a popular musical genre of the day. Maybe that's true too, but I'm not that cynical.

Either way, I still love the song. Yes, musically. But especially lyrically. The lyrics of the song capture how I hope I am living my life, how I am striving to put my faith into action.

The second verse:

We seek your kingdom first,
We hunger and we thirst, 
Refuse to waste our lives,
For You're our joy and prize.
To see the captive hearts released,
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace;
We lay down our lives for heaven's cause,
We are your church,
We pray: 'revive this earth!'

That is a powerful statement.

And a scary thought comes into my mind...

What if we really meant it?

What would it look like if believers took this kind of living out our faith this seriously? How uncomfortable and counter-cultural would we have to be?

I've been playing and singing this song a lot lately, and this is the thought very strongly on my heart: is this truly my prayer?

Because if we say "build Your kingdom here," Lord, that has real implications for our lives. How willing are we to ask for God to set His rule and reign over our hearts?

I think that so much of the time we are (okay...I am) much more concerned with building our own kingdom than to really seek Christ's Kingdom first. How often do I let ambition, or selfish egocentrism, or my own agenda, or fear of what others think get in the way of seeking redemption and renewal of all things? How often do I try to justify my personal kingdom building? What idols do I hold close--so close that I might think they are part of building Christ's kingdom--that may actually be exactly what needs to go to make space for His rule and reign?

As I continue to grow in my faith walk, I'm learning more and more to bend my will to the will of Christ. This is not easy. I am stubborn. There are times when my words don't match my actions. There are times where the songs on my lips don't match the desires in my heart. There are times I struggle with the gap between what I say I believe and what I actually do.

And so, I've pinned these lyrics over my desk. Throughout the day, I glance up at them seven, ten, a dozen times.

And I continue to pray, as I see these words before me: "Lord, change my heart. Let me mean it when I say it. Lord, build Your kingdom here."


  1. You know it's kinda crazy that I feel that God has put this same message on my heart. Sure I do most of the things that God calls us to do, but there are certainly somethings on that list I usually think don't apply to me. Being a Christian is not easy, but they truth is that when I am following God is the same time when I feel truly purposeful and have such inner joy.
    Thank you for sharing these thoughts as well as a wonderful song

    1. I'm right with you, Amber! Our pastor is preaching through the Lord's Prayer this Lent, and the sermon yesterday was "Your Kingdom Come." And then we sang this song. Such joy! Almost overwhelming for me when I have the same message hit me in several different ways in the same week...almost like the Lord is telling me something! (Which He is!) :-)