On Seeking First The Kingdom

Worry.
It consumes us.
And yet, Jesus gave us the antidote to it.
He not only said, ‘’Don’t put your energy there”, He also gave us a place to redirect it.
He said told us to use the energy that it takes to worry and replace it with seeking first the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 6)

I have been thinking a lot on what that means.
How do we seek first His Kingdom?
I don’t know about you, but I am sick of worrying.
Exhausted from the soundtracks that loop in my mind; the “what if” scenarios that are always humming if I let them.

Here is the “how to” that I have learned:

First, you have to acknowledge that there IS a Kingdom of God.
That it is bigger than you
And eternal.
That this world will burn.
But that His Kingdom will never end.

But that acknowledgement can’t just be head knowledge.
It has to change your posture.
In order to seek HIS Kingdom above yours, you MUST bow your knee to the King.
Bringing with you all that you are.
And are not.
All that you have.
And all that you want.

Surrender.
Living the truth that there is a Kingdom that is more real than anything your five senses can comprehend.
That it is a Kingdom at war.
And that you are ALREADY on one side of the battle or the other.
Even when you don’t realize it.
You are either with the King or against Him.
There is no middle ground.

And, once you have acknowledged the reality of the King and His Kingdom by humbling yourself before Him, you have to live as a citizen of that Kingdom.
Obeying His rules.
Not what you want Him to say.
But what He has actually established in His Word.

You don’t get to decide which portions to obey and which to toss.
You don’t get to redefine His definitions.
You don’t get to cherry pick what you consider to be the good, comforting, lovely parts while ignoring the tough stuff.

And if you are going to live by Kingdom rules, you have to actually study them.
More than just a cursory glance on Sunday through the lens of the preacher.
But for yourself.
Saturating yourself in the Word.
Checking ALL other voices against it.
Asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate it.

Because there is no such thing as neutral.
For Him or against Him. That’s it.

But then what you find in His Word has to be lived out daily.
Otherwise, you are saying you are seeking His Kingdom, but you’re actually living for your own.
Which makes you act like a traitor to the King.

For example, when He says, ‘’Respect the government because God puts in power the leaders of His choosing”, you do it.
When He says, “Defend the widows and orphans, do justly, love mercy and walk humbly in my Kingdom”, you do it.
And when those two principles feel mutually exclusive, you don’t lean on your own understanding, your feelings or the way the wind of culture is blowing.
You ‘’trust in the Lord with all your heart’’ as you ‘’acknowledge Him in all your ways” while you trust Him to “direct your path”.
So somehow you do both.
Speaking when He directs.
And shutting your mouth when He says so.
But always, always, loving as He loves.

By the power of the Holy Spirit.
You live what the Word of God says.
Allowing Him and it to instruct, convict, correct and train you. (2 Timothy 3:16)

And not just in that case.
But in so many others where the Truth of the Word meets the stickiness of life.
You seek first His priorities and agenda. As they are laid out in His Word.
While laying down your own wisdom.

That is the simplicity of seeking first His Kingdom.
Obey the King.
And let Him worry about the consequences.
In your politics.
In your relationships.
In your sex life.
In your finances.
In your parenting.
In your dealings with your parents. Or your kids. Or your neighbors. Or your boss.
In your workplace.
In your playtime.
In every area of life.

One Kingdom or the other.
No neutral.
For Him or against Him.
With Him or not.

The remarkable thing?
This Kingdom thing actually works.
Take it from me.

I can shout with the Psalmist that I have “seen in my history the faithful love of the Lord”.
As the old hymn says, ‘’I have proven Him o’er and o’er.”

I can testify:
He will blow you away with His kindness, His mercy and His unfailing love.
He will hold you as you cry.
Help you when you fall apart.
Provide for your every need.
Rejoice over you with singing.
Fill your life with good things.

But don’t take me at my word.
Take Him at His.
Seek first His Kingdom.
And see what He does.

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