SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM
Have you ever struggled to understand how to apply Jesus’ instruction, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”? If you have a heart for God, you will want to obey what He says and yet the “how” is the difficult part.
First of all Jesus taught us what the kingdom is and then how it works. The kingdom of God is the realm of God’s rule and the way He wants us to live under and carry out that rule on earth. It is God’s power working through us to put the world back on track according to God’s law, Put in simple terms it is the best way to live to be really free and to show the world what God is like.
Let’s look at what Jesus taught and how He did it because He never tells us to do what He did not do. Matthew 5,6,7 give us the principles of how to live in the kingdom. If you want to receive, give; if you want to be great, be a servant, if you want God’s forgiveness, forgive; if you want to receive mercy, be merciful. Never look down on other people. Always treat others with dignity and respect. What you think in your heart is what you really are; and many more. These are some of the principles of how the kingdom of God works.
What about His righteousness? Righteousness is doing the right thing but what is the right thing? It’s much more than not doing the wrong thing! There are two words in Scripture that are often coupled together, “righteousness” and “generosity” eg. “The wicked borrow and do not repay but the righteous give generously” Psalm 37:21. Conversely, the two words, “wickedness” and “greed” go together. There are two stories Jesus told about rich men who ignored the needs of the poor, the rich man and Lazarus and the rich fool who tore down his barns to build bigger ones instead of sharing with the needy. In both cases God required their souls.
How do we apply the instruction, “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness…”? If you live your life with the bigger picture in mind, applying the principles of the kingdom in your everyday circumstances, being generous with your attitudes, your love and your resources, Jesus said that God will supply you with everything you need to keep living out God’s kingdom in your daily life.
How did Jesus carry out His own instruction? If you track Him through the pages of the gospels you will see how He lived out the kingdom principles in all His dealings with people, He was a servant; He treated people with dignity; He forgave those who crucified Him. He modelled what He taught and proved that living out the kingdom life was, after all, the best life!
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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