Kingdom Living

Matthew 6: 33               Amplified Version

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

One of the fundamental principles of faith is to seek God. Seeking God’s face and His presence is never the wrong thing to do but, in this passage, Jesus gave us a more precise instruction. He said to seek the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, the two being closely related.

Jesus wants us to look at the Kingdom of God and learn how it operates and what spiritual laws control it because once we understand the Kingdom’s operation rules, nothing will be impossible to us. God’s righteousness is similar. It is God’s “right” way of doing and being. It is not about holiness. That is different though how can you do things God’s way and not be holy? Still, this is about “right-ness” and I think this is a much better way for you to think about righteousness. In fact, you will help yourself if every time you see righteousness, you translate it in your mind to rightness. Godly rightness is doing things the way God would do them or how He would have you do them, which can be very different from the rules the world operates by. Understand this, again we are not talking about morality here. Not doing it God’s way does not make it immoral or sinful it just isn’t “right” Kingdom thinking. It’s world thinking which is what most of us were trained in.

Here is a simple example. What is the proper economic response in the time of famine, or in modern language, economic downturn? What if your salary has been reduced or your company is struggling? The world would say this is a time to save for a rainy day. It’s time to stock up and hoard provision for a later time. Kingdom dynamics operate differently. The Kingdom principle is, give in time of famine, sow seed like Isaac did. Now here is an interesting rub. Non-Christians will tap into these Kingdom principles and they will work for them even though they aren’t saved as we understand that term. Kingdom principles are like rain which falls on believers and non-believers. It will water everyone’s seed. The only real question is who has sown seed? So, sometimes non-believers benefit more from Christian principles than we do.

Here is another example. Kingdom principles teach to put other people’s needs and concerns ahead of your own. The world says, this is a dog eat dog world and you need to do unto others before they do unto you. There is a little perversion in that language, huh? I remember hearing a pastor talking about a contract he negotiated. He made sure the other guy got a good deal too. He wasn’t out to just get the best deal he could regardless of who might get hurt. That’s enlightening because a Christian take advantage of someone all the while thinking, “God is blessing me.” That kind of thinking bites back because it isn’t Kingdom dynamics at work. It is worldly thinking. Just get what you can for yourself regardless of the impact upon others.

Jesus wants us to learn to think like he and Yahweh do. They both want us to look at them and do as they do. Jesus said he only did what he saw the Father do. In other words, he totally modeled God and we can do the same by emulating him. We can learn to operate in the Kingdom and have Kingdom blessing working for us. Seek first God’s way of doing and being and in the end, He will give you everything.

Kingdom Living

Matthew 6: 33            GW

But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.

This quote from Matthew may be familiar to you but it takes on a different nuance when read from the God’s Word translation. It comes at the end of a talk Jesus gave on the birds of the air and flowers and how God meets the physical needs of all His creation.

God knows we need clothing, food and shelter so we really do not have to pray about those things in the first place. That is Jesus’ first point. If God clothes the flowers with such beauty and feeds all his creatures, will He not also care for you? We have become so smart and so independent that we get the idea it is up to us to meet our needs. No way! That’s God’s job and His delight.

You have probably heard the version that reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” The GW version essentially translates righteousness for us and also answers the question, “What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God?” Righteousness is not the holiness doctrine we sometimes make it out to be. Holiness is good, I am not arguing that but righteousness has more to do with right standing with God. Another way to think of it is doing things God’s way. The GW version points out that seeking God’s kingdom has to do with concerning ourselves with the things God is concerned about. Meeting our needs is not on that list. Those are automatic fulfillment orders for God. Frankly, our need fulfillment really isn’t even our business. So Jesus’ second order of business here is that we should set our sights on Kingdom business. We are to seek out God’s direction on what He would have us think about and work on just as if He is our boss. We seek to do the things God wants AND do them His way. That means we will have faith projects instead of works projects.

Many of us try to fulfill righteousness through works projects. It is also how we attempt to meet our own needs. As we seek God and His way of living, all those “things” we need are just automatic. They exist in His kingdom. So when we put them aside, focusing instead on Kingdom goals, God’s inverse logic takes over. We get all that is in the Kingdom, but we also get the things we need in the world even though we forego seeking them. Seek God, and all else will be added to you. And, may I say, don’t even bother Him with the mundane things of life. Sure, you want to tell Him what you want but focus 99.9% of your time with Him seeking His mind and His thoughts. He knows you need food, don’t waste your time together telling Him you need food. Ask Him, if you want, what food He wants to give you. He may surprise you, though, because He thinks differently than do we. He may begin talking about feeding you with His Word.

Seek God. Put your mind on what is going on in God’s Kingdom. Talk with Him about Kingdom goals. You will have fun and enjoy all the Kingdom benefits too.


James 4:4

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James had such a gentle and tender way of getting the point across, didn’t he? Well, sometimes we need someone to care enough to speak to us plainly. This is Jesus’ brother writing to us today. I said yesterday that we are called to be different from the world. James makes it much more plain. He said that “being in bed” with the enemy makes us adulteresses. Ouch! If that doesn’t sting just a bit you better take your pulse.

Of course, we all want to fit in and of course, the things of the world are attractive. God isn’t trying to deny us luxuries or pleasures, He just wants you to purchase them through the Kingdom instead of through the world. Why? Because the Kingdom is life and the world is death. God is trying to get life to us but we, being the great intellectual giants that we are, keep choosing death. I have always loved this passage from Deuteronomy, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants” (Deuteronomy 30: 19). Father gives us the choice, like a multiple choice question on a test but before we can even choose, He gives us the answer. None the less, how many of us continue to choose death over life, the curse rather than the blessing?

To choose to live in the world and to be of the world is to choose death and curse. Jesus said that we are not of this world any more than he was. We live here but we are not “of” this world. Our choices are to be made on Kingdom principles, expecting Kingdom results. Brother James says it rather plainly – to be friends of the world, in other words living as the world lives, makes us enemies of God. Now here is the question. Do you think James wrote these words to believers or the unsaved? This is an important question because if you believe, like I do, that he wrote to believers then you understand that we, God’s own chosen and beloved, can become enemies of God by being lovers of the world. That is a huge statement. James saw a dynamic taking place in his own time and sought to address it. His passion poured out for his people. Let us, therefore, seriously contemplate our own place, whether in the world or in the Kingdom. What choices are we making on a daily basis that shift us from living in Christ to living in the world. Choose to be unique, peculiar. Choose life. Choose Christ.