In Haggai 1:4, God says, “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?” While we should certainly feel some conviction of this taken at face value, I think there is also a deeper application. Looking at the state of the typical Christian life today, we could paraphrase this into “Why are you building such a luxurious kingdom for yourself while neglecting My Kingdom?”
There is no escape from the fact almost every one of us devotes far more time building our own “house” than we do building the Kingdom of God. This attitude permeates how we spend our time and our money. The culture in which we live demands we prioritize self before others and certainly before God.
The truth is we will always be frustrated and unfulfilled in life if our focus is on building our kingdom instead of building God’s Kingdom. We were created to glorify Him and to declare His honor and praise throughout the world. We were designed to build the Kingdom of God on earth. Just like Adam and Eve, we have allowed Satan to distort the truth and to see ourselves as more important than God. I think few would ever consciously say we think we are more important than God, but the way we live tells a different story. Until we begin living the life we were created to live, any sense of fulfillment will be fleeting and hollow.
Idolatry runs rampant in our lives. Whatever we put before God is an idol. Every time we seek to build our kingdom instead of God’s we are worshipping an idol. Now there are many things in life on which we will have to spend our time. We have to provide for our families. We need to pay bills, buy groceries, and make repairs to the places in which we live. My intention is not to imply every second of our lives should be spent in prayer or Bible study. Even angels don’t live this way. They deliver messages and fight battles. Their lives are full of adventure and I believe Christ instilled a yearning for adventure in each of us as well.
The key then is to live out the grand adventure of life keeping our central focus on building God’s Kingdom. Everything we do should be with His Kingdom in mind. The first of all the time and money we spend should be focused on building God’s Kingdom. There will be time enough for us later. Where we get this is wrong is we begin with the focus on ourselves and think about God further down the line. When we get a big raise, the first thing we should consider, indeed what should excite us most, is to contemplate how much we can give away for building God’s Kingdom. When we are blessed with some time off either with our self or with friends and family, we should first consider how we could spend the time helping others and spreading the love of Jesus.
If you find yourself living in any sort of luxury while neglecting the things you know God has given you to do, it’s time to repent. We’ve got to be about building God’s Kingdom and forgetting about our own. His Kingdom is the only one that will endure. His glory is the only thing worth living for, the only thing that matters. Before you get carried away by the busyness of the day, ask yourself, “Whose kingdom am I building today?”