In Matthew 6 we see that Jesus has told us not to waste our lives going after the wrong stuff, but that we should go after the best. We lay up treasures in heaven by loving and serving God and loving and serving others. When we commit to doing that, we don’t have to be worried about all the things we think we have to worry about, because God is trustworthy and we are very important to Him.
Jesus clearly tells us to seek, above all else, the kingdom of God. But what does that mean?
What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God?
In our world today, we don’t really think about kingdoms. Very few countries would officially be considered a kingdom, or at least a true kingdom. So, what is a kingdom? A kingdom is “a state or government having a king or queen as its head.” The dictionary also gave as a definition of kingdom as “the domain over which the spiritual sovereignty of God or Christ extends, whether in heaven or on earth.”
In Luke 9, it starts to become clear what it means to seek the kingdom of God.
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. (Luke 9:1-2; 6 ESV)
In these verses, there is a close connection between the kingdom of God and the gospel. So, what is the gospel? Gospel means good news. The good news is that we, people who have hearts that are so bent to evil and rebellion against God, have hope. God, in His mercy, sent His Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. So that, in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we see the just wrath of a holy God and the infinite love of a gracious God and the unlimited power of an omnipotent God meet together to give us hope. On top of that, God, who knew we would never want to be right with Him on our own, gives His people new hearts so that we will believe in what Jesus did for us and give our lives to Him.
Therefore, to seek the kingdom of God is to acknowledge Jesus as King. It is to work to advance His Name among all peoples, so that He is honored, respected, loved, obeyed, feared, and praised as a King deserves. Basically, to seek first the kingdom of God is to exalt Jesus to His rightful place in every area our lives.
How do we seek first the kingdom of God?
If we are going to exalt Jesus to His rightful place as King in every area of our lives, it will take supreme devotion. We see this in Luke 9:23-27:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-27 ESV)
We can also see that it cannot be a half-hearted devotion. In Luke 9:57-62:
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62 ESV)
The Example of Paul
Paul gives us a great example of what it looks like to seek first the kingdom of God.
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24 ESV)
These are just a few of the important things for us to understand about the kingdom of God. Basically, we need to know that it is only possible for us to have a part in the kingdom of God because of Jesus. We are able to enjoy God as rightful King not just in the future but now. We may pay a high price as we seek the kingdom of God, but our King is worth the price!
When we commit to laying up treasures in heaven by loving and serving God, there is no reason for us to be worried about anything, BECAUSE He have promised to provide for us, sustain us, satisfy us, and reward us – even in the midst of suffering. Therefore, we have every reason to seek first the kingdom of God by exalting Jesus to His rightful place as King in every area of our lives.
WE REALLY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE AND EVERYTHING TO GAIN!