There is something deep in the human psyche that drives us to be King. This desire knows no limits except the practical limitations imposed upon us. If possible, each of us would subjugate others and claim all wealth, power, and privilege for our own. If not for the practical opposition we face we would relegate all others to slavery. This is what it means to be human.
The first arena where conflict takes place is within my heart and mind. I want to be in control of everything in my world. I want total freedom to Do, Say, Think, and Feel whatever I desire, with no repercussions or accountability. When I am king, I will have the last word.
Some of us use spiritual means to gain control of our circumstances by using dark spells and magic incantations . Others use prayer as a means of forcing God to carry out our will. We naturally need to conceal the underlying motivation within religious language, but the ultimate motivation is still the same.
Weak-minded people are frightened by the complexity of the world we live in and are easy prey to any "truthy" explanation of reality. These delusional conspiracies are forcefully sold as truth but are simply lies that lead victims down a destructive path. The lure of secret knowledge is really a reflection of our need for control. With this special knowledge we hope to gain advantage in our confusing world.
As would be king, my prayer is, "My will be done on earth as it is in heaven too." My expectation is that I have every right to comfort, security, wealth, power, health, education, entertainment, privilege, respect, and worship. Every challenge to these rights is seen as rebellion against my rightful rule.
As I age, I gain more power and this only increases the need to be in total control. I see myself as a benevolent ruler with a true desire to make the world better. I only resort to violence for those who would rebel against me, since they would seek to subvert my kind and gentle rule. Of course I try to hide this desire for domination since others are naturally repelled by it.
This battle is not limited to my mind alone. It is played out each day in my relation to the world around me. I cannot control the circumstances of my world, and this makes me angry. I often channel this anger into attempts to control and manipulate others. Of course, I am very clever about it so that others are unaware of my intensions.
Now I recognize that I can't control the weather, the stock market, and the government. This is one of the main reasons I pray. I believe that God loves me and wants me to be happy. Therefore I expect his assistance in organizing the world on my behalf. First, he must work on my behalf to give me the control I need, then I will help him achieve his goals in the world. This arrangement seems to be fraught with problems and I sometimes question it altogether.
This view of the world colors my thinking in every area. Perhaps it is most strongly visible in how I relate to others. I view others through a lens of how they can achieve my goals. People are resources, like wealth and power, to be used to get what I need.
I am naturally drawn to people that have the potential to help me in some way. I seek out those who are successful (possessing both wealth and power) because they can be used to help me become more successful.
I naturally reject those who are weak (without wealth and power) because they will be a net loss for me. This worldview holds no inherent value for humans beyond how I can benefit from them. People are pieces to be manipulated in my game. Nothing more.
I recognize that this paints a rather dire picture of my internal psyche. But I have felt the need to be brutally honest about my innate tendencies and attitudes. I have been surprised, shocked, and disappointed about how deep this runs in me. If you are honest, perhaps you recognize some of these same patterns.
Early in my life, I began to be aware of these things but it is only in recent years that I could articulate the depth of my brokenness. I now see the crux of my problem to be my insatiable desire for control. On my worst days I am driven to be king at all costs, with disastrous consequences. On my best days I see beyond my selfish desires to truly love others.
There is a tendency for self-awareness to be overwhelmed by self-justification. Attitudes that are clearly wrong can be easily justified as being righteous and insightful. As I draw into the last quarter, I realize that I am too old to entertain such delusions. I am now willing to accept the painful truths about me, in the hopes that I can still change.
As a teen I began a long journey toward wholeness. At 14 I was living in despair and rage and struggling to survive. I had no expectation of reaching the age of 20 or what life would be like after that. At that point I met some "Jesus Freaks" who painted a very different worldview than the one I was living at the time.
I made a simple calculation that my life was not worth anything and I should try this new Jesus thing. My turn toward God was completely selfish and based in a belief that he would improve my happiness. That began a cascade of events in my life that I am still living out today. Right away my outer life changed dramatically. What I did and how I related to others was visibly changed for all who knew me.
While the exterior cleaned up pretty well my interior life was far more problematic. My thoughts and feelings were deeply entrenched in my personal kingdom. It is quite easy to appear good on the outside and be seeking to control everything around. What I think and feel runs bone-deep and is not easily tamed.
After 47 years of following Christ, I find that many of my beliefs, values, and attitudes are still rooted in an allegiance to ME. The central message of Jesus was that he came to bring God's authority over the lives of all humans. This kingdom doesn't come forcefully with violence, but as an invitation to relinquish control.
When I started my journey so long ago, I had no idea of the gap between my kingdom and God's. But as the years have turned to decades I am appreciating how comprehensive the transformation is. God's work within me, while often painful, is the very reason I live. I could not imagine any other life.