Summary Statement

How do we develop a right state of mind in balancing life. How do we balance our heart between earthly things and heavenly things. Jesus tells us clearly that we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  [Matthew 6:33 NIV]

The kingdom of God” is the focus of Jesus’ when He gave the Sermon on the Mount. Now He is summarizing all that He has talked about and illustrated to those who would listen. God is erecting in this fallen world His kingdom. And “His righteousness” is the goal He wants to establish in us. It is a choice that we will make whether we will direct our lives in pursuit of our lives or His life in us.  If we are seeking of God’s kingdom and His righteousness “first” then everything becomes subordinate to what God is doing. We will be seeking His will and His holiness before and above all else.

Christ followers are on a different path than those outside of the Kingdom of God. Jesus introduced this revolutionary thought with this fact as a reference point: “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you.” [Mat 6:32]A good illustration of this spiritual principle can be seen in the conversation between God and King Solomon. Let’s listen in. Solomon requested, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people.” Then he asked, “Who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king,  therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” [2CH 1:10-12]

He has control over all things, and He can give you what you need. He will give you what he deems best for you. Here are some questions that will help assess just where the balance is in our life.

1. What comes First in allocating my time.

2. What is First in getting my attention.

3. What is First in my desires?

4. Where is the major portion of my energies spent?

This is an age-old problem. Here are what some others have said about the balance in their lives.

You were made for God; to love him, to serve him, to praise him, to live in fellowship with him, to do and to bear his holy will. [Adaption of Westminster Confession]

“Seek that, to which other things are necessarily connected.” [Old Jewish saying]

“Do not be anxious about the supply of your needs, whether of body, mind, or heart. God knows what you need. If He has given life, will He not maintain it? Does He not care for the birds and flowers? Did He not give His Son, and will He withhold any good? Trust Him and be at peace.” [F.B. Meyer]

“Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal.” [Matthew Henry]

“Christ tells us that there is a true order of human endeavor, and that when that order is followed all the lesser concerns of human life find sufficient and unfailing guarantee.” [Great Texts of the Bible]

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.” [Apostle Paul, Romans 14:17 -18 NIV]

May we have the same mind-set of seeking wisdom and knowledge as did Solomon and follow the prescription that Jesus gave us. It is our choice. It is always our choice.

Things are not what they seem … Part Two

“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? 

Things are not what they seem …

One of the most popular memory verses about the promise of God to meet our needs is found in Matthew 6:33 which says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided unto you.” Often we get caught up in the asking and seeking answers to basic things like food and clothing. Although this verse holds incredible promise with emphasis on God’s provision, we loose sight of significant issues of Kingdom Living.

As in learning to live life with God, there is often more to learn than we initially perceive. Most of the time when we read this chapter in Matthew, we focus on this verse [dessert] and miss the real substance of the meal.

Jesus declared over and over again God’s purpose of a new and different kind of living. His reference to ‘seek His kingdom‘ reminds us that there is more to reality than what we can see, feel, hear, or taste. The hot topic of Jesus’ day was the national agony of Roman occupation of their homeland. Because of His power and the ability to do the impossible, people saw in Jesus a military or political leader to deliver them from their enemy. Jesus made it clear more than once that He was not going to set up a earthly kingdom. It was hard for people to hear and understand this spiritual truth when their lives were so dominated by material things. And Jesus made it clear that this was their choice.

To seek the kingdom of God over other things means that our singular aim in life is that God reigns in our hearts. Jesus did not come from lofty beginnings. He was born into a poor family who materially ranked on the fringes of poverty. He was a carpenter and had no formal training according to the standards of the day. What he did have and modeled for us, was a single-minded passion to seek God’s kingdom. But what on earth does that mean?

There is a difference between foresight and foreboding. The farmer uses foresight and plants his seed at the right time. But there is no need for him to brood over the seed, laying awake at nights all through the spring and summer, worrying about the distant harvest that he has no control over.

Genuine faith is a spiritual reality that transcends our material existence. The reality of things are not what they seem. Dorothy looked around at the strange land of OZ told Toto that they were not in Kansas any more. In Star Wars, Luke discovers the force that opens the door of possibilities beyond his wildest imagination. When Frodo finds the ring, he is introduced to a cosmic battle that was outside the realm of his thinking. We love stories not because we think they are real, but the stories transport us to new possibilities.

As Christians, we get caught up seeking material things. We depend on self and so our chief anxiety is seeking those things that have no real value. They are important but in the realm of things that are not what they seem, they have not lasting value. Whether we choose to believe it or not, God has control over all things. How are you choosing to live?