A few years back, my buddy Justin and I embarked on the epic quest that is Kingdom Hearts. Many hours flew by as we battled enemy after enemy through the wonderful world of Disney, and many days were spent with no other agenda than to advance through the massive maps of the game. In short, Kingdom Hearts consumed our time in a major way for about a month.
Though Kingdom Hearts is a single player video game, Justin and I worked as a team to complete the quest. One of us would take the controller while the other person would read from the game guide. Somehow, I always ended up having to fight the boss battles while Justin screamed directions from the couch, and I could never convince him to swap places for those intense moments. But in spite of the difficulty (and the seemingly endless string of bosses at the end of the game), we eventually emerged victorious!
Somewhere along the lines, the thought occurred to us that the game’s title was a fairly accurate description of what our lives as Christians should be. Jesus called his followers to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” (Matthew 6:33), showing an emphasis on the kingdom in his heart. The more we thought about it, the more we realized that our hearts need to be for the kingdom of God, both for the sanctification of the church and for the advance of the kingdom into the hearts of the lost. We even wrote a song about that very pursuit.
Sadly, though, I don’t keep the kingdom on the forefront of my mind as I should. I catch myself expecting the church to satisfy my desires rather than looking for ways to serve the body. I find myself detaching from the lost world around me in order to hide away where life is comfortable rather than stepping out in faith and love into the difficult world of ministry. If my heart is indeed a “kingdom heart,” I fear I’m often after my own kingdom rather than the Lord’s. But that’s not what Christ has called me to pursue. Indeed, he told his disciples to deny themselves for the sake of the Father’s kingdom. If I would obey him, I must seek the advance of a greater kingdom than my own.
So the next time I think about Kingdom Hearts, I pray my mind remembers the Father’s kingdom. I pray that I start singing that song that so aptly reminds me to keep my eyes above. And I pray that my pursuit would ever be the advance of the kingdom of the one true King.