“And you could have it all , my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt.” Johnny Cash
In years gone by, I would wile away the hours among toy bricks, inventing from my imagination buildings, cities and civilisations to preside over. Days could pass as I worked on my own little towns, designing each detail just how I wanted, legislating as the ruler and president over my own fictitious reality. This was my childhood joy, to build for myself civilisation, but more than that; civilisation over which I had total control. Scenarios that I played out from my mind in those toy villages were scenarios that I had supreme command over; toy soldiers predestined to run at my will.
Lego always was the perfect medium from which to play deity.
Isn’t this a condition common to us all?
For we are young, and in our young years we have many victories ahead of us, and we are free. We want our own slice of heaven, and we want it on our own terms. We work, we play, and one day, maybe, we’ll take a bite out of this salvation we’ve been pressing on for. Paradise, to our modern minds, is our own vision of happiness, of pleasure, of goodness.
We want our own slice of heaven, and we want it on our own terms.
And we look to the sky and laugh at God, or the Deity, or the Being, or whatever else our forefathers believed, in the face. For what good did the laws of old do for them? Any laws that a Judge above gives are surely put there as a stumbling block. They won’t help us on our journey to our heaven. They will simply hold us back. So you turn your back on God, take matters into your own hands. Building out of the Lego bricks the empire of your paradise.
In years time, your goals will finally have manifested themselves as fruit. The work will have paid off, and you’ll be eating out of your slice of heaven. The perfect family, a perfect wife and two beautiful kids in the medium-sized home of your dreams. A nice little carving of the stock market. Friends with people at the top.
And the beautiful thing? You made that empire, and you didn’t need to follow anyone else’s rules to get there.
And you could have it all , my empire of dirt.
But to what purpose? You’ve reached heaven, you’ve built the empire, perhaps somewhere in your middle-age. You have it all. But empires decay, hard fought victories always lose their sweetness. Bullies will always vandalise your Lego houses. Being god over your little paradise always comes with a high price. For gods made in Earth’s time are forgotten in eternity.
Tragic, is it not? That that slice of heaven, which you control, will always fall stale. My empire of dirt.
Playing god will always let you down, it will always make you hurt. I truly believe man was not made to be god, for to be god places so much power in a flesh that withers so quickly. The fruits of paradise look like squalor when the price paid is so high.
This isn’t a game, that if you play right, you’ll get the goods. Whatever law you follow, whatever rules in the game you obey, it isn’t going to give to you paradise in its entirety. Whether one plays the game of pleasure or one legalistically obeys all the moral laws, their slice of heaven will never satisfy. So what? Surely this life cannot be gratuitous?
Grace. I believe man was not made to depend on himself as god, but on another. Another who dwells in the eternal. The prize of eternity founded on grace, freely given. Those who obey the moral laws as an end won’t inherit it, because that puts salvation in their hands. Eternity, for those who want it, is dependant on another.
Grace is the unattractive option, because the emphasis of our salvation, of our paradise, of Heaven, is no longer in our hands. We cannot be gods and hope to get eternity. For the fading glories of the world’s prizes are the counterfeit reward for playing god. Eternity is so unattractive for the modern mind because freely given grace is not in our hands, and we can’t be god. It takes humility.
But isn’t it so much better? When you make yourself god, all you get is an empire of dirt, and it will leave you hurt. We try to make it so complicated, that we somehow need to build and work and strive to get paradise. Humility, for me, takes that out of our hands.
Man was not made to be god. Man was made for grace, a beautiful exchange with a Saviour. A Saviour who loves infinitely, desires not our works, but simply His people.
Humility, then, will never let you down, and will never leave you hurt. It will leave you in the Arms of Grace, for all who will accept Him.