Seek First the Kingdom

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Matthew 6:33-34
33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

In E. Stanley Jones’ book The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person, he details to the reader how Jesus is God’s ultimate answer for man’s ultimate need. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s Kingdom. So, in seeking first the Kingdom, we are also seeking first Jesus. When we do this, all of our worries are taken care of. Jesus has spent the second half of chapter six explaining to His audience that by worrying about possessions or even necessities like food and clothing, we are only wasting time and energy. By seeking first God’s Kingdom, we not only will be taken care of, but we never have to worry! We don’t need food or clothing, we need Jesus!

The word zeteo in Greek is what Matthew used to signify “seek” in this verse. It means more than just to look for something like your lost remote control in the couch. It is a persistent striving or craving for something. Imagine a hungry dog running through the woods on the hunt. We could liken it to a heat-seeking missile that jets through the air, dodging obstacles to find its locked target. The thing we seek isn’t something we give up on, but strive for until we attain it. This is what Jesus means by seeking first the Kingdom. In chapter 7 Jesus is going to go into more detail about seeking His Kingdom, but let us look at an example of what Jesus means by seeking the Kingdom in Luke 11:

5 Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

This persistent seeking, or better yet demanding, is how bad Jesus wants us to want the Kingdom in our lives. He’s not going to give it to someone who knocks once and then walks away. This isn’t passion or desire, this is half-hearted searching. That’s when you give up looking for the remote after you don’t see it on the coffee table and just change the channel at the TV. No, Jesus wants us to pull apart the cushions, open all the drawers, pull out the furniture, and check the laundry basket for it! It isn’t because He loves us that Jesus gives us the Kingdom; it is because of our persistence: we have to want it. How bad do you want the Kingdom of God?

If we eagerly seek God’s Kingdom, we won’t have to worry about tomorrow because we know tomorrow will care for itself. What if tomorrow never comes? What if we spend all day today worrying about tomorrow and lose our time we had to seek God’s Kingdom today? This repetitive cycle is a waste of time. But we know if we seek God’s Kingdom and subsequently find it, that we will be blessed with the peace and comfort of God and there will be nothing left to worry about. This is why one of the beatitudes says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” We hunger and thirst for many things in this world, but only one will bring us satisfaction: the Kingdom of God.

There is another point to recognize here: worry doesn’t exist in the Kingdom of God. If you are worrying about something, then you will know you are not operating in God’s Kingdom. We read a little bit ago that worry is a result of fear and fear is the opposite of faith. Worry and fear are not elements of living in the presence of God. God’s presence (i.e. the Kingdom) gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding. This means that it doesn’t make sense, in human thinking, that we wouldn’t be worried about certain things but in God’s presence, there is nothing to fear or worry about. Let us read Philippians 4, the very popular verse about worry:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Notice that if we seek truth, honor, purity, love, and praise, the God of peace will be with us. This is directly related to Matthew 6:33! We need to make it our daily goal to seek first His Kingdom and we will be pleasantly surprised in God’s faithfulness to these words. People will begin to ask us how we can remain calm in chaotic situations. They will question how it is possible to smile and be joyful when our lives seem to be falling apart. We will experience a supernatural peace that we cannot explain other than to say that God is with us. Are you seeking God’s Kingdom today?

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