“But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:33).
Most of us are familiar with this important verse uttered by our Lord, and we as Christians will certainly agree with the sentiments expressed. Have we ever stopped to think, however, of the force of Jesus’ statement, and why we must seek His kingdom first? Why must we seek His kingdom first in our lives?
Seeking the Kingdom as a child of God. Why do we, as Christians, need to seek the Kingdom first? The Kingdom must be first because its ruler is the source of all blessings that we have received (Hosea 2:8, Ephesians 1:3). God created this world in which we inhabit, and made all of the plants and animals upon it (Genesis 1-2). God has given us life and all opportunity for happiness and contentment in this life (Genesis 1:26-27, Matthew 6:30-32). Of the greatest spiritual consequence, nevertheless, is the gift of God’s Son on our behalf that we may have the remission of sin and association with both God and with one another (John 3:16, 1 John 1:1-3, Hebrews 10:25). Since God is the author and source of all of these blessings, it is only right and proper that we seek Him and His will first so as to continue to be blessed in life. We have gained nothing by the work of our own hands alone; all we have in some way is a gift from God.
Seeking the Kingdom as a husband or wife. When God joins a man and a woman together in marriage, a covenant is established that is to reflect the covenant made between God and mankind through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 5:25-33). The husband is to have a role in the household parallel to that of Christ and the church: he is its head, he nourishes and cherishes his wife, and gives himself up for her. Likewise, the wife is to have the role parallel to that of the church, submitting herself to her husband and following his leadership. This God-ordained system only works when God is the focus of both husband and wife, and both the husband and wife first seek God and His righteousness, and then, by necessity, the needs of one another.
Seeking the Kingdom as a father or mother. We read in Ephesians 6:4 that the father is to raise his children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord”; when we think about this verse, we often think in terms of teaching by mouth, either through lecture or advice, and study of the Bible. These aspects of instruction are important and must be done, yet a major aspect of discipline and instruction of children is living the life of the Christian yourself. Your children learn far more by what you do than from what you say. If you say how important it is to be a Christian, and yet your actions do not reflect that of a Christian, they will see that it really is not that important to you. The only way for you to be able to truly instruct your child to seek His kingdom first is for you as the parent to seek first His kingdom.
Seeking the Kingdom as a worker. It is very easy to get discouraged as an employee, doing the same tasks over and over without any overarching purpose. It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing one’s work as futile and pointless since it may have little eternal consequence. We have been called upon, however, to work as for the Lord, and that by doing so we will gain the eternal reward of great significance (Ephesians 6:5-8). By keeping the Kingdom in view as primary, purpose in life can be found!
Seeking the Kingdom at work or at school. If we are going to be successful in seeking the Kingdom in these two venues of our lives, we are going to have to apply both parts of Romans 12:2. We first must make sure that we do not conform to the world– in this circumstance, not conform to general attitudes at work or at school. If our fellow employees have foul mouths and constantly speak of sinful and/or inappropriate topics, should we just go along with the crowd or do all we can to avoid such chatter? If we are called upon to perform some task that would violate our conscience as a Christian, will we stand up and choose God over men and trust in God or not make any waves? In the school environment, will we stand against the false teachings often presented and avoid those students who think drugs and sex are the way to go? We can begin doing well by not taking part in the works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11).
The second part is the transformation by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). Do we make work the first priority in life or spiritual matters? Do we try to make sure that our employers know when we assemble with the brethren and take every available opportunity to be with the saints? Do we take opportunities in school or at work to speak of our faith to others? As long as we continue to stand firm in the first part and demonstrating our faith by our works of righteousness, such will lead to discussions and will lead to opportunities for us to tell others of our faith. Will we take these opportunities or show that we are ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17)?
Seeking the Kingdom in the home. In our last edition we demonstrated that no matter what a parent says when it comes to how important spiritual things are, children learn by the actions of the parent. Are our words matching your actions? What do we think we are teaching our children if we say that spiritual things are important but then will choose sports, family events, the “sniffles”, and a host of other events over assembling with the saints? We teach our child that sports, family, etc. are more important than spiritual things, and the consequences may last a long time. Likewise, do we seek out other opportunities to be with the brethren? Do our children have the feeling that the church is a part of their family? Do they see us helping those who are in need, both within and without the fold, and making good spiritual decisions in life? Children will follow their parents: what will they be following when they follow us? Proverbs 22:6 establishes that if you teach your child the way they should go, they will not depart from it when they are old. What are you teaching them?
We have spent some time looking into Matthew 6:33 and how to apply this important message in our lives. We must seek the Kingdom of Heaven by faith and have every confidence that when we trust in God, He will take care of us. God has been faithful; let us be faithful to Him!