I read a devotional a while ago that talked about our need to allow God to conform our lives to His blueprint. I sat back and pondered that for a minute, thinking about what God’s blueprints might look like.
Perhaps because I’m mildly fixated on the Middle Ages these days, it came into my mind that God’s blueprint for my life might be a castle.
A castle is a seat of authority.
The castle’s owner rules from there over his domain. The majestic walls, besides being practical, also declare the owner’s power.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
-Matthew 28:18 NKJV
Jesus is supposed to be the owner of our lives, yes? Our lives are supposed to be a seat of His authority. For everyone to see.
The best place to build a castle is on a hill.
It strengthens the defenses, and it also makes the castle visible. If a hill wasn’t readily available, castle builders would often build a hill before they built a castle.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
-Matthew 5:14 NKJV (emphasis mine)
Jesus’ light is supposed to shine brightly in our lives. Like a castle on a hill. Impossible to hide.
A castle is a place of safety.
It is built to withstand attack. It is guarded well. It has watchmen always vigilant. And it offers safety to those under its care.
[that you may be] strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
-Colossians 1:11 NKJV (emphasis mine)
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.
-2 Thessalonians 3:3 NKJV (emphasis mine)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
-1 Peter 5:8 NKJV (emphasis mind)
God delights to strengthen us according to His glorious power. He Himself guards us from our enemy. But He requires us to be the vigilant watchman who calls upon Him the moment we see the enemy approaching.
A castle lasts for generations to come.
Granted, they eventually fall into disrepair. But even among the ruins we see traces of their original power. And they don’t deteriorate in a single lifetime.
The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.
-Proverbs 20:7 NKJV
When one person’s life is wholly dedicated to Jesus, his or her children will reap benefits. God lets our righteousness carry forward into blessing for our children. If the generations eventually turn from Him, the blessing will cease. But the goodness carries further than we know.
A castle often stored riches.
The lord of the castle delighted to collect the best furnishings he could afford. He cared for them and passed them down to his children. Carved and inlaid furniture, dishes of precious metals, gorgeous tapestries, beautifully wrought weapons.
Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
-Matthew 13:52 NKJV (emphasis mine)
The treasures we fill our castles with are mined from the Word of God. We bring forth things new, such as the words of Jesus, and old, like the truths the prophets preached.
Our treasures are worth so much more than gold. They are the very words of life for the whole world. Truly. Our treasure can save the world if the world would only receive it.
So I went on pondering about the idea of my life as a castle, and I found it appealing. Why would I not want my life to represent God’s power and riches?
And then it hit me.
A castle is a target.
Every single part of a castle is designed for defense, to hold back enemies.
The fact it’s built completely of stone? That’s the toughest material available.
Those glorious towers? Height is a great advantage for hurling stones, melted lead, and flaming pitch on the attackers below you.
Those pretty scallops (called merlons) along the tops of the walls? Archers take refuge behind them, shooting between the merlons.
Those massive, awe-inspiring, twenty-foot-or-more thick walls? Gotta make it hard for a battering ram to puncture it or a team of diggers to undermine it.
And that iron portcullis? It’s needed to protect the gate—the castle’s weakest point.
The castle sits on a hill because it’s harder for attackers to reach it. But its position also announces, “Here is the seat of power. Control this, and you control the surrounding land.” If you’re out to conquer as much ground as you can, you start with the castles.
Also, it’s kinda hard to miss. It’s practically daring someone to take it on.
We Christians have an enemy who walks about as a roaring lion, seeking anyone to devour. A castle is a challenge he’s often very willing to take on.
Because most castles have at least one weakness. The devil is only too happy to find it.
A castle is not comfortable.
They’re beautiful and inspiring from a distance. But they’re not luxurious.
Those beautiful tapestries have a practical purpose. They provide some insulation. Stone is cold and drafty, and the lord of the castle can’t afford enough wood to keep the whole building warm. Winter’s rough.
Because a window is a potential breach-point, a castle can’t have many windows and the few they have are small. Not a lot of light and fresh air inside those stone walls.
Castles are centers of work. Hard work, either mentally or physically. Sure they hold feasts and balls at times—but that’s a lot of work in itself. It isn’t a playhouse for grownups.
And, of course, castles are hard to keep clean and tidy. Considering just the sheer space, and the people coming and going, and the work done in and around the building, and pets, and vermin, no wonder a castle could be a messy place.
Not to mention the structure is a challenge to maintain.
A lot of people think gunpowder brought about the end of the castle era. Actually, before gunpowder had been harnessed enough to blow down a castle, the nobles had started drifting away from the castle life. They preferred more luxurious manor houses with bigger windows and better heating and decadent furnishings. Castles were great for defense but too uncomfortable and too costly to maintain.
Maybe we Christians have that attitude about castles.
Oh, a vibrant Christian life is awesome to see, but it’s just not for me. It’s too much work. The enemy is constantly hounding you if you try to be a front-line, sold-out Christian. We don’t all need to be strong castles, right? It’s too costly. It’s messy. It’s cold. And it makes you stick out like a sore thumb—or like a castle in a suburb of vinyl-sided houses.
Yeah, we’ve got plenty of excuses. Instead, we’ll go for our manor homes. The luxurious mansions, the American dream lifestyle.
But the American dream lifestyle is about us. Our wants. Material things. Things that don’t last.
The castle-life is about Jesus. His will. His kingdom. Eternity.
Aye, it’s hard. Really hard. And it may not look pretty from the inside.
But in the grand scheme of things, don’t you think it’s worth it?