“Seek first the kingdom of God …” [Matthew 6:33 ESV]
Every kingdom, every nation, has it enemies. Because of that, every kingdom and nation has a military component. When Jesus talks about His kingdom, He makes it clear that it is different from earthly kingdom in policy and rule but alike in that it has enemies. If you are a follower of the Lord Jesus, you have an enemy who is opposed to Christ and His followers. Living in unawareness to this is dangerous.
Listen to how John Eldredge describes a Christian’s ignorance to this fact: “To live in ignorance of spiritual warfare is the most naïve and dangerous thing a person can do. It’s like skipping through the worse part of town late at night, waving your wallet above your head. It’s like walking into an al-Qaida training camp, wearing an I love the USA t-shirt. It’s like swimming with great sharks, dressed as a wounded sea lion and smeared with blood.” (Wake the Dead, p. 152). If you are a follower of the Lord Jesus then you are a citizen of His kingdom. If you fail to understand the uniqueness of His kingdom authority and the opposition to the reign of Christ, then you are making one of the most dangerous and critical mistakes a Christian can make.
We are by nature opposed to rule over us. As a follower of the Lord Jesus, He is the ruler of His kingdom. He calls His citizens to make His kingdom a priority. We are called to “seek first” the kingdom of God. The New Living Translation says, “Make the kingdom of God your primary concern.” In our modern world, where everything seems to be a priority and instant results are expected norm, we tend to read “Seek first the kingdom of God …” as a reference to something time-based. I know I did for a long time. But Jesus is emphasizing something different. The word “first” is not a reference to time but quality. “Jesus is not teaching that we should seek the kingdom first and then other things, but that there should be an exclusive orientation to the divine kingdom and righteousness.” (Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p.966).
If Jesus were pushing for a time-based agenda, then He would speak of pursuing His kingdom as a first of several stops on our journey. Jesus and nothing else is sufficient to equip us for His kingdom. We have to be willing to trust the Ruler of the kingdom to which we belong. We have to be willing to aim at allowing God to reign in our hearts. Only in this way do we discover that we have access to divine provision to meet the needs that often cause us to worry. God is erecting a kingdom in this fallen world. Do you see the implications. Do you hear what Jesus wants today?