“Seek First the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”, Jesus’ advice to His disciples becomes increasingly difficult as we are bombarded with images of all the things we must have. Consumerism is at an all-time high as advertisers show us all the new gadgets that “simplify” life.
But Jesus’ words still ring true. His call to declutter our lives have the added benefit of reducing our stress level.
What is the Meaning of “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”?
If we are to understand these words spoken by our Savior, we must go back to the original language to find the hints and clues that may not be available in the English translation.
The Meaning of Matthew 6 33
Let’s look at some Strong’s definitions before we go further:
Seek: zētéō, dzay-teh’-o; to seek in order to find, to seek a thing, to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into, to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after, to seek i.e. require, demand, to crave, demand something from someone
The kingdom: basileía, bas-il-i’-ah; royal power, kingship, dominion, rule, not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom, of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah, of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom, a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king, used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah
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God: theós, theh’-os; a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities, the Godhead, Trinity, God the Father, the first person in the trinity, Christ, the second person of the Trinity, Holy Spirit, the third person in the trinity, spoken of the only and true God, refers to the things of God, his counsels, interests, things due to him, whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble him in any way
Righteousness: dikaiosýnē, dik-ah-yos-oo’-nay; in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God, the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God, integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting, in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due
All these things: taûta, tow’-tah; nominative or accusative case neuter plural of G3778; these things:—afterward, follow, hereafter, him, the same, so, such, that, then, these, they, this, those, thus.
Shall be added: prostíthēmi, pros-tith’-ay-mee; from G4314 and G5087; to place additionally, i.e. lay beside, annex, repeat:—add, again, give more, increase, lay unto, proceed further, speak to any more.
An expansion of the verse may look like this:
But seek (as for something hidden by meditating, thinking, reasoning and striving) first (before all things) the kingdom (royal power of Jesus the Messiah and the royal power conferred to those who believe in Christ) of God (the Supreme, triune God) and his righteousness (justification, the state of him who is as he ought to be, the condition acceptable to God: integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting) and all these things (food, drink, clothing) shall be added (given, increased) unto you.
How It Matthew 6 33 Applies To Us
As we saw when we looked at the original Greek words, seeking the kingdom of God requires our active participation. It’s not that God has hidden the kingdom from us, it’s that it may not look as we expect it to. Only those who are earnestly seeking the face of God will be able to recognize His kingdom.
It seems simple, doesn’t it? Seek, go after, desire to, endeavor to worship God above all things. What do we long for? What do we crave?
If our desire is for a deeper relationship with God we have to actively pursue it. We have to be intentional in our thoughts and how we spend our time and in the books we read and the videos we watch on YouTube or Vimeo or wherever.
We have to really think about how we spend our time on the internet and what we do on social media.
the kingdom of God
But what exactly is the kingdom of God you might ask?
I want to define it as anything related to Jehovah. Have you ever noticed how when one is searching for a hidden treasure even the smallest piece of debris thought to be associated with the treasure is cherished and sought after?
People seeking God should be like that. We should excitedly dig into His word as though looking for hidden treasure. We should breathlessly plan those moments when we come into His presence. We should hunger for more of Him. Our conversations should surround Him. We should be completely saturated with the things of God.
and His righteousness
The Bible tells us definitively that we have no righteousness of our own. Our only claim to righteousness comes through our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God (Philippians 3:9)
This tells me that part of seeking the kingdom of God means that we should desire a relationship with Christ above all else.
and all these things will be added to you.
We like to read this verse and interpret “these things” to mean riches. But the truth is, it really doesn’t. I’m not saying that God doesn’t want us to be prosperous here on earth (there are so many other verses that tell us that He does).
However, when we study the verse in context we realize that Jesus was talking about our basic needs.
“Do not worry saying what will we eat? Or what will we drink? Or what will we wear for clothing? For the Gentiles eagerly seek all things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:31-33 NASB
Do you worry about providing food for yourself or your family? God is saying, “Don’t worry about it. If you seek a relationship with me above all things, I’ll take care of you.”
3 Tips to Seek First the Kingdom of God
As believers, we have an obligation to seek first the kingdom of God. It should be our priority and number one focus. Here are three things we can do each day to remind us to seek God’s kingdom.
1. Spend time alone with God. Read and study His Word. Pray. Meditate on Scripture. Be silent in His presence.
One of the very best ways of seeking God is to spend time alone with Him. Do you wake up and hit the floor running? If your answer is yes, do you find that you run out of steam halfway through the day?
When we seek first the kingdom of God, it involves a sacrifice. We’ll have to give up something. Maybe it’s half an hour watching our favorite show so we can read the Bible. Or it could be an hour’s sleep so that we can pray and have time with God before our family wakes up.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes. God wants to show us His kingdom. He desires a relationship with us. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you an open heart, as well as, open eyes and ears. The psalmist invited us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). He also invited the Holy Spirit to open his eyes so he could see wondrous things in the law of God (Psalm 119:18).
3. Remember that God is righteous. It’s a great thing to seek the kingdom of God but we must remember that we serve a holy and righteous God. In order to draw near to God and for Him to draw near to us, we have to put away sin.
Confess your sins to God. Repent, turn from your sins and turn to Him. God wants to have a relationship with us but sin puts a wall between us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9 ASV
The great thing about God is that He’s more than willing, and capable, of forgiving sin, all we have to do is confess them before Him.
Seeking the Kingdom of God
Humans were designed to be in communion with God. It is sitting at the feet of Jesus that we find the most strength (and the most pleasure). But as the pace of life gets faster and faster, we have to retrain our minds to slow down and make time for God. I encourage you to spend some time with Him today. You’ll be glad that you did.
Personal Bible Study
Read Matthew 6. What comfort can you find in these words?
Write them down and really think about them.
What did you found most comforting? Why?
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