By Carey Nieuwhof
How would feel if all of your dreams came true? I don’t know what your dreams are. Maybe they’re dreams for your church. Or your family. Or for success. Whatever are your dreams, imagine they came true. How do you think you would feel?
When I look back at all God has done in my life, leadership, and ministry, I’m always grateful. But I’m not always full. Why is that?
The Problem of Emptiness
One of my favorite books in Scripture is Ecclesiastes. By human accounts, Solomon had it all. And yet, what does he write? It’s all meaningless!
So, what do you do when all your dreams come true and it still leaves you feeling empty?
Over the years, I’ve learned about the cycle of accumulation. The first stop is more. We want more of what we currently have. The second stop is better. We want better versions of what we have. And the third stop is different. We want things that are different and unique. Things that set us apart from others.
Two Kingdoms at Work
What I’ve learned in my life, and maybe you have as well, is that there are two kingdoms at work. The first is the kingdom of God. These are the things that are right in the world. But the second kingdom at work is the kingdom of me. This kingdom says, “I want!” “Me!” and “Mine!”
I find that my life is often a tale of two kingdoms. If I get it right, the kingdom of God wins and I feel satisfied. But if the kingdom of me is winning, I find I’m never satisfied.
Jesus taught us the way to overcome the kingdom of me: die to self. The only thing more terrifying than dying to yourself is living for yourself. There is no end to the sad discontentment of making you the mission of your life.
Here’s how I combat emptiness in my own life. When I realize the kingdom of self is winning out, I must purify my motives and elevate the mission of the kingdom of God. Confess and repent. Die to yourself. Then God is going to do great things through your life.
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