We are all servants of a kingdom. Each of us is either living to fulfill his own dreams and desires or living for something far greater. The question we must ask ourselves is, which kingdom do I live to serve? Or maybe you’re like me and wonder, how do I know which kingdom I live to serve? Is there a quiz I can take to find out? Paul David Tripp helps us find the answer to this question in his book, A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You.
How about you? What is the big vision that you’re working toward? What is the big dream you are investing in? What is your definition of the “good life”? When will you know that you have been successful? If you had it all, what would “all” look like? I am afraid there are many people of faith who attend church each week, give regularly to God’s work, know their Bible pretty well, and don’t live overtly evil lives; but they have settled for “below and less” when they were created for “above and more.”
The mistake that they have made is that they have shrunk their Christianity to the size of their own lives. They have taken God’s grace and wisdom as an invitation to a better marriage, a better relationship with their children, a better extended family life, better success at work, etc. And there is a way that God’s grace does invite me to all of those things. But here is the point of this little book: God invites you to so much more! God’s grace invites you to be part of something that is far greater than you boldest and most expansive dream. His grace cuts a hole in your self-built prison and invites you to step into something so huge, so significant that only one word in the Bible can adequately capture it. That word is glory.
Tripp goes on to explain that if our purpose is not tied to glory, then our lives do not transcend this world, they do not go beyond the average existence. We were created by God and for God. The only way our lives can transcend our own existence is to live connected to God for his glory. If we are not living for his glory, then, according to Tripp, we are not living out the fullness of what it means to be human, for God created us with a deep desire to be and do for more than just ourselves.
As I was reading, I wondered what in the world Tripp expected me to do. I have four children and my life is very ordinary. I am connected to God. I do seek ways to serve his kingdom. Yet my life looks like a very settled life. I certainly do not feel as though my life is transcending anything, yet I know I am doing what God wants me to do. Does he mean I should leave my family and head off to find “above and more?” NO, absolutely not. The key is to not be short-sighted. Tripp writes, “It is about a way of living where God has placed me that embraces the transcendent glories for which I was created. It is about living for a greater kingdom than the kingdom of my life, my family, and my job. And where do I live for this greater kingdom? In my life, in my family, and in my job! This book was not written to call you to stop doing everything you have been doing or to start doing a bunch of new things. Rather, it is a call to do what God has called you to do with a vision that is as broad and deep as the glory of God.”
He goes on to explain we can know if we’ve settled for less than we were created for by taking a good hard look at sin’s effects on my life and on the whole creation. I won’t lie to you, the chapters on fighting for “shadow glories” and “my own little kingdom” and living a “shrink-wrapped life” pinpointed and uncovered many areas of my life where I am living for me and the treasures of this world. Tripp’s questions pierced through whatever story or pretense I had concocted.
So what’s the solution? Unlike dozens of books encouraging people to go after their big dreams and goals, Tripp writes, “The little kingdom promises life, but brings you death; the big kingdom requires your death, but gives you life.” He explains that the many ways we confuse life and death can lead to spiritual suicide if we don’t learn the difference. Once he describes how to refocus and live with Christ in the center of our lives, Tripp goes on to share specific ways we show which kingdom we live for. What makes us groan? Who does our anger serve? For whom or what do I sacrifice, my kingdom or God’s? Where do I look for hope? Which loves compete with my love for Christ? Do I find joy in forgiving others? He uses music as a metaphor: Do I live a life in harmony with the music God is already playing, or do I attempt to play my own dissonant song?
A Quest for More is written for everyone. Purchase one for yourself and a high-school graduate. It is an easy and fast-paced book. Tripp does not make it complicated–he wants the power of Jesus to make a difference in all of our lives. He includes a key point at the beginning of each chapter, main points are highlighted throughout, and each chapter ends with a key question. The only thing not easy about it is how straight Tripp is with the truth. This is a powerful book. One that can be life-changing if put into practice. He’s not mean or cold, in fact he offers a reminder of God’s extension of grace with every convicting blow. I am so glad that I read it. I hope you will, too.
For more information, from Mr. Tripp himself, watch this short video of him explaining the book and his hopes for those who read it. It’s very good!
Purchase A Quest for More:
New Growth Press