Friday, January 30, 2009

The Kingdom of Self vs. the Kingdom of God

From Paul Tripp's chapter, "War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God’s Sake," in the forthcoming book, The Power of Words and the Wonder of God:
I would ask you again to be humbly honest with yourself as you are reading. If I sat with you and I listened to recording of the last month of your words, whose kingdom, what kingdom, would I conclude those words are spoken to serve? Would it be the kingdom of self with its self-focused demandingness, expectancy, and entitlement? Would I hear a person who is quick to criticize, quick to judge, quick to slam, and quick to condemn, because people are always violating the laws of your kingdom? Is the greatest moral offense in your life an offense that someone makes against the laws of your kingdom? When this happens do you use words as a punishment or as a weapon? Do you use words to rein this person back into loyal service of the purposes of your kingdom of one?

Or would I hear you using words of love, honestly, encouragement, and service because your heart is taken up with the big-sky purposes of the kingdom of God. The entire law is summarized by a single command. If you had written that, what would you have written next? I probably would have written, “Love God above all else.” But that is clearly not what Paul writes. He writes, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Why is that an adequate summary of all that God calls me to? Oh, it is important to get this truth. It is only when I love God above all else that I will ever love my neighbor as myself. It’s only when God is in the rightful place in my life that I will treat you with the love that I have received from him. Brothers and sisters, hear this. You don’t fix language problems, you don’t fix communication problems, and you don’t fix word problems horizontally first; you first fix them vertically.
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