Posted by: Meditate in thy Precepts | January 15, 2016

Some Thoughts on Seeking First the Kingdom of God

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

This verse is one which we all know, and which is commonly quoted under the rubric of seeing God’s will done in our lives. However, many times, I think these verse is used incorrectly. I hear it applied to mean that, if we just get busy about getting out there and working for the Lord, then He’ll provide for all the things we need. Don’t worry about what we need, just focus on service, and He’ll provide. And while I think this might be one small aspect of what this verse is saying, I do not believe that’s the primary intended meaning.

Let us begin by asking, “What is the kingdom of God?” Heaven? Well yes, that’s a part of it. But, we also know that the kingdom of God has an earthly aspect,

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

The literal meaning of what Jesus said is that it was “among” them, not that the Pharisees were in the kingdom, but rather that it was present here on earth all around them, as the believers who were already putting their trust in Christ even during His earthly ministry.

So, again, what is the kingdom of heaven? Well, to answer the question, remember that a kingdom needs a king, one who is the sovereign authority OVER the kingdom. The kingdom is made up of the body of people who are submitted to that king, to his authority. The kingdom of heaven, both in time and eternity, is the body of people who are submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ, who have put their trust in Him to save them, and who are now living for Him.

So when the Bible tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, it is not telling us to just get out there are do some stuff for our churches. It is telling us that our whole attitude, our whole way of thinking, our whole being needs to be submitted in obedience to the authority of Christ over our lives. After all, a lot of people do work in a local church who aren’t necessarily living for the Lord. Service will follow true submission to the Lord, but service is not the seeking of the kingdom of God. Instead, we are being commanded to seek for our lives to be lived in obedience as ones who are saved by Christ and made His servants. Seeking the kingdom is as much an attitude as it is an act.

We are also told to seek, along with the kingdom of God, His righteousness. This is concomitant to the first, as seeking His righteousness entails obedience and faithfulness to the specific commands of Scripture, obedience to His holy law. We are told to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16), and this means striving to keep His Word in our lives, hiding it in our hearts so that the TAKING HEED thereof (not just merely knowing about it) will cleanse our ways (cf. Psalm 119:9,11).

It is when we are doing these that we can rightly expect the Lord’s provision of all the things we need in life. When we have followed Him in the steps of obedience He asks of us, when we are diligently seeking to live our lives in the light of His Word, that is when will be guided and provided for,

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14)

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)

Now, this surely does not mean that we shall never have trials in our lives – indeed, just the opposite, for part of the Lord’s provision for us is that we will grow in grace and knowledge – which most often happens in the midst of trial. But, in the midst of those trials, as we turn to the Lord in greater and greater faith, and overcome and win the victories through faithful obedience to Him, we will see Him provide for us in ways we never thought possible in the months and years gone by.

So, in the context of the passage surrounding this verse, Christ is telling us that our first and foremost concern in life is to seek to be in ever greater submission to God and His Word. We shouldn’t worry and fret ourselves about the things of life that we need. This doesn’t mean we should ignore them, of course, but all the same, they should not consume our thoughts (i.e. “take thought”, per v. 34). Instead, place them in the Lord’s hands. Christ said that He came to give us peace (John 14:27), and what could more settle our troubled hearts than to really know that we have God backing us up for everything we really need?

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