One of the more notable statements made by Jesus can be found in Matthew 6:33, in which Jesus says that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of the other things will be added to us. Now, as believers we have become fairly adept at seeking God’s righteousness, as that was made available for us by Jesus on the cross. Yet it is interesting that His righteousness was not the first thing mentioned by Jesus when telling us what to search for. Jesus said that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God.
Now in many Christian circles, the Kingdom of God is not talked about very much; most people don’t even properly know what the Kingdom of God even is, or how to define it. We haven’t really sought it first as we were told to, but we have instead been seeking His Righteousness without His Kingdom. That’s why today in this study we will be examining what His Kingdom is, and what it means to seek (and find) the Kingdom of God.
So let’s begin today by reading Matthew 6:31-33:
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
Beginning at verse 31, we see something very interesting… Jesus says take no thought, saying… The primary way that we “take a thought” is by speaking it and agreeing with it. Not every thought that comes through our mind is a good thought – some thoughts are clearly from the enemy. And Jesus gives us some examples… thoughts like What shall we eat? What shall we drink? How shall we be clothed? These are not thoughts of preference – these are thoughts of worry, thoughts of fear regarding provision. These aren’t thoughts like “Hmm, I wonder what I want to eat tonight…”, these are thoughts of “Oh my! Where is our next meal going to come from!” These are fearful, worrisome thoughts, and Jesus says don’t take those.
We see a news report about a new virus, and then we say “I’ll probably be next, I always get sick!” or we sneeze once or feel a pain somewhere and say “I hope I’m not coming down with something!” My friends, let’s take a lesson from Jesus here… don’t take the enemy’s thoughts!
Verse 33 tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God. Now what exactly is the Kingdom of God? In order to seek the Kingdom, we need to know what it is we are looking for.
In Romans 14, an entire discourse is made about faith, specifically faith for things which are considered clean, unclean and esteemed as untouchable. Meat, drink, certain days, etc. In verse 14 it is said that in Christ Jesus, nothing is unclean of itself, but to the one who believes that it is unclean, then it is so for that person.
The reason this can be said, is in verse 17:
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17)
What you eat and what you drink and what days or rituals you observe do not cause you to enter the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not about your behaviors, but about righteousness (that is His righteousness) and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is one of position, power and peace. Your position of perfect divine righteousness in Christ, your power and authority knowing that you carry His Name which is above every name and that you are seated with Him far above all principality and power and rule and might and dominion… both in this world and in the world to come (Ephesians chapters 1 and 2); and the peace and joy that comes from knowing that these things are not mere fantasy, but the divine spiritual reality for you because of what Jesus Christ has done.
This is why Jesus said what He said in Matthew 6:33, to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, because it is through knowing this truth that enables you to not become deceived about your true identity. It is because of this truth that you will not take the thoughts of the enemy at the mere drop of a hat and fall victim to what your senses and circumstances tell you.
The Kingdom of God is one of power (1st Corinthians 4:20). This is the very power and authority that Jesus spoke of when He healed the demon-possessed man and the Pharisees accused Him of doing it by Beelzebub – but Jesus makes a point in Matthew 12:28 that He casts out demons by the Spirit of God, and that the Kingdom of God has come upon them.
This is the Gospel in action… sick people being healed, infirm people being made whole and well, demons being cast out, the dead being raised. This is why Jesus said in Luke 10:9, to heal the sick in the city and tell them the Kingdom of God has come. And isn’t it interesting that Jesus says there, to heal the sick first and then tell them the Kingdom has come… now why? Because the ones being sent should have the power. Often we act as though we have no power – as if we are waiting for God to move from heaven on our behalf, but He has given us the Kingdom by giving us Himself!
Jesus operated by the very power of the Kingdom of God, according to Luke 4:14, and when questioned about it by the Pharisees several times, He always said, that the Kingdom of Heaven was in their midst, referring to Himself.
Now some say “Well, that was Jesus, and you know we are not God!” and they try to distance themselves from the reality of the finished work of Christ, but check out 2nd Timothy 1:7:
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
And I want you to notice that this is not a lesser-spirit; Romans 8:11 makes it clear that the Spirit that is in you, is the very same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead… that’s power, as our verse here says! You have the Spirit of God on the inside of you and it is not a weak Spirit, but one of power, and of love and of a sound mind. This is the power of the Kingdom of God which now dwells on the inside of you. This is why Jesus said that the works He did, you will do also in John 14:12, that can only be true if you have the same quality of Spirit on the inside. 2nd Corinthians 4:13 makes this even more sure when it declares that we have the same Spirit of faith – not a junior spirit or a different one.
Our thoughts are to always be Kingdom thoughts. Those are the thoughts that we should be taking. Not thoughts of fear, worry, depression or lack. This is why 2nd Corinthians 10:5 says:
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
When every thought is brought captive to the obedience of Christ, that means every thought that passes through our mind is made subject to the filter of who we are in Christ and His perfect obedience for us… in other words, does this thought line up with who I am in Christ? Is this a kingdom thought or a world thought? Is this thought presenting me as perfectly righteous, holy and loved in Jesus Christ?
Only thoughts that meet those criteria should be ones that we take and agree with. Only thoughts that line up with the truth of our new identity in Christ. Not thoughts of fear, worry or lack, not thoughts of sin-consciousness; but thoughts of love, joy, peace and power; thoughts of Christ-consciousness, and blessing-consciousness.
To some people, this may seem trivial, but it is actually profound and powerful. This is all about living in your kingdom identity. There is a reason why Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God, even before His righteousness – because if you do not have a good grasp of your kingdom identity, then His righteousness will always seem fleeting to you. I have spoken with many people who are not seeking His righteousness, but they are chasing their own righteousness, precisely because they do not have a grasp of their real kingdom identity. They are not owning the identity which Christ paid to give them, which is Himself.
I encourage you today, with the very words of Jesus which we read at the opening of this study: Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.