"SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD"
What Does It REALLY Mean?
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, and God's righteousness, and if we do, essentially everything else will eventually fall into it's proper place and priority in our lives.
What IS this "Kingdom of God" that Jesus speaks of? First and foremost, God's kingdom is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ in our personal lives - the lives of spiritually born again believers. One day, it's going to be an outwardly visible government and it will be established over the entire earth. Jesus Christ will be fully in charge, and Satan will have no choice in the matter as he currently has been allowed to have.
To learn what it means to Seek "God's righteousness," please read on...
Kingdom of God? Precisely which God are we speaking OF? God The Father, God The Son (Jesus Christ), God The Holy Spirit - the One God expressed in three persons in the Old Testament and the New Testament Bible.
God's Kingdom in operation right now can be sub-divided into three general categories, (Yet we must realize that seeking the Kingdom of God is not a destination. It is a life-long journey.)
1) Every Christian is called "to do good works." One's desire to please God in every way they know how in line with Holy Scriptures "is doing good works." The primary purpose God allows any of us to be born here on earth is to please and glorify Him while we are down here. Doing so has both current and eternal ramifications. Striving to enhance DAILY one's personal relationship with the living God through our obedience (walking in righteousness) to His wisely applied Word and God's call in our life to engage in ministry to others is the absolute MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do! Everything else springs forth from THIS, and is secondary!
If that sounds a bit too challenging right now to you, see if this helps: Your purpose for living is to PLEASE THE KING! You exist to PLEASE THE KING. You do NOT exist for the King to please you.
Most people who struggle with God have yet to either comprehend and/or make it their PRIMARY reason for living, which IS ... to diligently seek to PLEASE THE KING - DAILY!
2) Availing oneself to God to help others come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (salvation knowledge of Jesus Christ and His subsequent Lordship in their lives); that others may be saved from their sins as well: that they too can begin to seek after glorifying God in every way they know how in line with Holy Scriptures. In other words - soul winning. (Being used of the Holy Spirit to help in the process of winning lost souls).
3) Availing oneself to God to help disciple (which includes encouragement in all facets) new Christian converts to understand and properly apply the Word of God in their lives, and to help them move forward in the call God has on their life ... which is to avail themselves to Him as well to help win lost souls; help disciple new Christian converts with the specific call God has on their life, and the gifting(s) He has given them to help maximize the fruitfulness of that call -- all along being used of the Holy Spirit to do whatever He calls and enables you to do to help them glorify God in every way God would have them do as well. In other words - discipleship - (discipleship in how to help Christian converts serve God wisely and effectively).
Saying it in another way ...
1) Christians are already as righteous as they can possibly be from God's perspective, because God's righteousness was imputed to them through Christ's death, burial and resurrection. But that's just HALF of the matter. God NOW expects them to start diligently walking out their righteousness! (Obedience to His New Testament commands, in other words). If you consider yourself to be a Christian, but the sin(s) you keep committing is no big issue to you ... is it possible you aren't truly a Christian after all and just haven't figured it out yet? But if you ARE a Christian and are convinced you are, then it's possible that you are just looking to Jesus to be your "fire insurance policy -- keeping you from going to hell on the Judgment Day rather than also purposing Him to be Lord of everything in your life. Proverbs 28:13 states it as simply and clearly as it can be summarized when it comes to sin in our life. (Sin is not only to be confessed to God, but ultimately forsaken. Satan does not want Christians realizing that!)
SO IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND!: If we sin, there is forgiveness for it, as is promised in 1 John 1:9. But if we REFUSE to give into the temptation of a given sin (or more), we can expect to receive a reward for it! James 1:12. Why nullify any rewards God wants to give us?
If one is hardly interested in bringing and giving God glory with their time, talents, treasures, thoughts and attitudes, actions ... overall obedient behavior in other words (See: Psalms 96:3), it may be a HUGE reason why God has shut off His blessings in your life.
Scripture tells us that Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one - Satan (1 John 3:8). Meaning? He came to destroy the works of the devil - the evil - in you and I. Satan's evil will greatly prosper and expand around this planet until he is locked away in hell, the Bible assures us. But evil is not to be ignored in true Christians. We are to be working diligently with our Lord and Savior to put to death the sin(s) that so easily have their way in our lives. Daily we're to make this top priority in our relationship with Jesus Christ to the glory of God our heavenly Father.
2) Somehow availing themselves to the Holy Spirit in helping win lost souls to God the Father through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All Christians are called in some capacity to be witnesses of the truth of the message of the cross. Anyone can place Christian tracts where others can find them. It's a GREAT start! (Check this link out - see how easy it is!) Doing the work of evangelism is not just allocated to Evangelists and Pastors. If the peace of God is not on your life, nor His favor, it may we be that God is trying to send you a message. Pray about helping win souls to Jesus Christ FIRST priority in your life - not a priority way down your list of importance's. You'll be amazed how quickly God's blessings can get placed on your life once you change life's priorities.
3) And/or helping untaught - new (infant) - Christians to grow in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of God's Word properly applied to all of life's situations ... then they are pursuing a false and worthless Kingdom of God and are truly following the "Kingdom of Self," which is the "kingdom of darkness" - eternal darkness at that. The Bible also refers to that "kingdom" as Satan's kingdom, I hope you realize.
A few Christians do most ALL the work of teaching (discipling) infant Christian converts. EVERY true Christian should be eagerly trusting God to use them however He desires in the discipling process. If a person doesn't place that a top priority, God may not be so interested in granting you the desires of your heart, nor blessing your efforts to move ahead in life.
As we make it our FIRST priority to do what pleases God (helping to advance His Kingdom rule in the lives of other people, in other words, by helping reach lost souls to Christ, and then helping them grow in understanding and application of God's Word), He becomes a lot more motivated to do what please us. We can quote the scripture verse all we want: "God wants to give me the desires of my heart" - but a major CONDITION comes with it. Are we making it our TOP priority to engage in the work of HIS Kingdom first in our life, or aren't we? If we aren't, our heart's desire may not get realized, sad to have to say.
If you want a clearer revelation concerning Psalm 37:4 - "Delighting yourself in the Lord" is BEST wisely understood by saying it this way: "Delight yourself in the PRIORITIES of the Lord, (What is most important to God, in other words) and then He'll be a lot more interested in granting you many of the desires of your heart, providing they will help motivate you to be more diligent Kingdom investors."
Most of us Christians need a heart change. We need to realize it is selfishness that holds most of us back from being engaged in the advancement of God's Kingdom in the lives of others. Once we will admit to ourselves and God that we are selfish core to our being, confess that frequently to God, then ask Him to place in our being HIS Kingdom advancement desires ... we may remain joyless, frustrated Christians our entire lives, if we remain Christians at all.
Everyone wants a "fire insurance policy" on the Judgment Day, but few out of the masses want to pick up their daily cross of Kingdom advancement. They would rather someone else carry their cross.
Here is an excellent writing to help you understand more about the Kingdom of God, and the wisdom of so doing: What Does Your Faith Mean To You?.
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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)