What does it mean to seek first God’s kingdom, and what does His kingdom look like?
God knows what we need, even before we ask for it. He cares for us as a loving Father and He will provide what we need, so therefore focus on Him and not on the needs.
It isn’t wrong to have nice clothes, good food, a lovely home or car, but if we put those things first and worry about them, then it becomes a problem. It becomes idolatry. Something else has our heart and our attention.
A kingdom is where the king reigns. So really, we’re seeking to serve the king wholeheartedly in obedience and trust. It’s to seek the favour of the king in obedience and holiness, walking in His ways and not the ways of the world.
Let’s look at some more scriptural evidence of what the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven, as it sometimes is referred to, looks like.
Here is another story Jesus told: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field’. While he was sleeping his enemy came and sowed weeds amongst the good seed. He chose not to pull them out but to allow them to grow up until the harvest, then the weeds can be collected first and thrown into the fire, then the wheat can be gathered into the barn’ (Matthew 13:24-25).
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches’. He told them still another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough”’ (Matthew 13:31-33).
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 13:44-50).
The king that we serve, King Jesus, did not come to earth to be put on a throne and have His servants serve Him, but He came to serve and be crucified. He could only be king if He was obedient to His Father through His crucifixion and then His resurrection.
God should be our focus, seeking after His righteousness, seeking to become like Jesus, who represented all who God is in character.
We might read this message ‘Seek first His Kingdom’ but do we instead seek to build our own empire? Are we kingdom builders or empire builders? We can be self-focused, wanting what we want, what pleases us, pleasing to the eye. We want to build our own empire for self-glory, if we’re honest, instead of seeking to build God’s kingdom here on earth.
I guess then part of seeking God’s kingdom is dying to self and the desires of the flesh, and living a life, crucifying these evil desires, but desiring to live for God or Jesus, His ways, His plans, His purposes.
God wants us, through the experiences of life, to develop His holy and righteous character, and prepare us for the kingdom of God. It’s not just about getting to heaven, it’s about representing the king well, on earth, to others. Are we ones who’re the shining lights to the world, showing the way to Jesus? Or are we the purveyors of everything worldly, which is the dominion of darkness?
We’ll never be content with the things or desires of the earthly nature. We’ll only be content when we’re filled with Jesus and His desires.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to seek Your kingdom above all else. Help me to understand and know You more. Forgive me for seeking to build my own empire with worldly things, and help me to look to You and Your kingdom first. In Jesus’ name, Amen.