Part 2: Seek the Kingdom
6:31-33: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
To weaken the power of anxiety in your life you must take these three actions: LOOK, CONSIDER, SEEK. SEEKING is the most important of the three actions. But first get your “seeking” straight. Do not seek like a “Gentile” who does not know God. (Jesus spoke to a Jewish audience.) The Greek word for “seek” in verse 33 means “look for, watch for, desire, endeavor to obtain.” The Greek word for “seek” in verse 32 is not the same as 33; it means to “pursue with care and anxiety.” Gentiles pursue “all these things” but are never satisfied. Anxiety and stress come from seeking the wrong things first – food, drink, and clothing. I think people living in 2021 have more concerns than biblical people did. (I could be wrong!) We have more things to get anxious about because we own more things and must pay for more things.
The strongest antidote for anxiety is “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Seek God’s kingdom first to counteract worry and its stress.
The SEEK command explains the “therefore” of verse 25. “Therefore” connects verses 25-34 with what comes before it. If God is your one and only Master and you are storing treasures in heaven, then you are seeking God’s kingdom first. Your heart will be in heaven. Make serving the kingdom of God your priority and the Father will provide your needs.
After I get my coffee ready, I kneel and say, “Today I will glorify and enjoy God. I will walk in faith and not fear.” The Westminster Catechism says, “The chief end of man is to glorify and enjoy God forever.” Making this declaration is an act of faith that counteracts fear. It is an expression of seeking God first.
What is the kingdom of God? What is God’s righteousness?
3 Facts about the Kingdom of God (KoG):
First, the KoG has a King. Kings are sovereign over their realms. As a concept the KoG is the sovereignty of God over His creation. Psalm 47 declares God is king over all the earth. Jesus Christ will return on a white horse with a name on His robe and a tattoo on his thigh, “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:11-16). The three Persons of the triune God will rule over a new heaven and earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13: But according to God’s promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.)
Second, the KoG has a visible expression in the church and its mission. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” but it is in the world. It is “in” but not “of.” Jesus meant the kingdom of God does not have the same values and goals as the world system under the authority of Satan the “god of this world.” The kingdom of God has its own righteous purpose. Jesus did not say “My kingdom is not on the earth.” The Church is the visible expression of the KoG in the world. The Church does the work of the kingdom, but it is not the kingdom. So, seeking the KoG is supporting the ministry and mission of the church. The church is the body where the commands of Jesus are received and obeyed: Love one another and go make disciples of all nations.
Third, the KoG is here now, and it is coming. We pray, “May your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” As we pray daily for the Father’s kingdom to come, we keep our focus on it. Whenever and wherever Father’s will is done on earth the kingdom is present. There will be a Millennial Kingdom under the Lord Jesus Christ. Old Testament prophet Zechariah foresaw the Millennial Kingdom with Jesus Christ reigning as king. There will be a final war against God in Israel. Jesus will return and win the war and stand on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:9: And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. (Read Revelation chapters 19:11-22:21.)
3 Facts about God’s righteousness:
First, righteousness is a “state of being” like innocence. Our law is founded on the principle “innocent until proven guilty.” If you are not guilty, then your state of being is innocence. If you are not innocent, then your state of being is guilt. Righteousness is the state of being in a RIGHT relationship with God. We can be declared “not guilty” in God’s heavenly courtroom and obtain a righteous state of being.
Second, righteousness is required to enter the KoG. There are only two ways to acquire the righteousness required to enter God’s kingdom. One way is impossible and the other is free. One way is by the Law, the other way is by grace. The Law of the Old Covenant was made impossible to keep preparing for the grace of the New Covenant. The moral Law of the Old Covenant (i.e., 10 Commandments) is necessary and good, but impossible to perfectly keep because we sin in motive and desire not just action. We cannot gain righteousness by keeping the moral Law, but righteousness is still required to enter the KoG. So, how do we get the required righteousness?
Third, righteousness is acquired by FAITH through the imputation of Jesus Christ’s righteousness. This is explained by Paul in Romans 3:21-26. Since righteousness – a RIGHT relationship with God – cannot be acquired by working for it, it must be received as a gracious gift. Jesus Christ lived a perfectly righteous life and died as a sinless sacrifice for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we repent of our sins and receive Christ, His righteousness is imputed or transferred to us by faith. We have the righteousness – the RIGHT relationship with God – required to enter and dwell in His kingdom forever.
[Here’s an imperfect analogy: If you were so deep in debt it was impossible to work enough to pay it off and someone offered to pay it off for you, then would you accept the offer? You would wonder if there are any “strings attached.” All you must do to receive the debt payment is humbly acknowledge your hopeless situation and live in gratitude to the person who paid off your debt. The “strings attached” are humble repentance and a grateful heart that leads to seeking God’s kingdom first.]
Continually seek God’s kingdom. Pray for the KoG to come every day. Support the ministry and mission of a church obedient to the word of God. Support it with your time and money. Get involved in local missions. Support international mission work to share the Gospel with unreached people groups. (I support 3 missions that specifically focus on unreached people groups because I believe Matthew 24:14.) Be a personal witness for Christ. Look for the kingdom around you, do the work of the kingdom, watch for it to come, and pursue it with all your heart. When your treasure is in heaven and you seek to serve God’s kingdom first there is no room for anxiety.
If I am anxious about sustaining my physical life in this world then I am a person of “little faith.” This means my spiritual life is weak and ineffective. I am not glorifying and enjoying God in my spiritual life. My faith is not growing stronger and maturing into “great faith.”
My next meditations on scripture will contrast little and great faith in the Gospels. Every Christian should desire to please Jesus Christ with great faith.