Command of Christ # 14

Good afternoon,
I am going to confess right off that this command has left me more stumped as I have studied it. Before studying it, I was sure I understood it perfectly, now I am not so sure.
Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). The command is to seek God's kingdom. Simple, right?
The first thing I asked myself was, 'What exactly is the kingdom of God?' *cricket noises*
Was Jesus talking about salvation? or pursuing heavenly things? or the actual kingdom of God: heaven?

From different resources I have concluded that the 'kingdom of God' is generally talking about two things. In order for there to be a kingdom, their needs to be a king. Where there is a king, there is a kingdom, this brings us to the two ways it is used:
1) The kingdom of God that is established in the life of a believer when they acknowledge Him as King of their life. It is a present kingdom or 'sphere in which His rule is acknowledged' (Vine's Expository dictionary). "Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein" (Luke 18:17).
2) The kingdom of God that is in the future tense; it is the kingdom we will enter into with glory and receive the rewards of the trials and tribulations of this life. "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

I believe in this verse, the kingdom of God that Jesus was referencing to was the kingdom of God that is in the present tense. It is the spiritual realm of our lives on this earth. How do we seek the kingdom of God?

1) Become a follower of Jesus Christ. Without making Jesus the King of our lives we are not capable of discerning the spiritual things of God. Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

2) Pursue the things that pertain to God. Make the things of God our priority and let His commands be the driving force of all we do. "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed" (John 6:27).

A boy and his family were vacationing in Florida and spent much of the time by the water. The boy and his brother discovered an oyster bed in some shallow water and spent the day collecting oyster shells. They would pry them open to see if they were alive and would throw back the live ones. The dead ones would not re-close shut; these ones they kept to the side as their 'treasures'. The boy found one especially nice shell but it had a flaw; something was rattling inside and this kept it from being worthy of the 'treasure' pile. It took him five minutes to finally pry out the smooth little rock that was caught inside. Pleased that he had removed the defect, he tossed the little ball into the water. Mid-flight it dawned on him what this little 'rock' had been--a pearl! He made a note of where he thought it had gone in the water and slowly climbed in the water as to not stir up the bottom. He searched diligently, but to no avail, and when he told his parents, they also jumped in the water to help search for the precious pearl, but could not find it. The boy had thrown out the more valuable pearl, so he could keep the mediocre shell.

Often times we too spend our energy searching after 'oyster shells' and neglect the more important 'pearls.' Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Our first priority should be on the things of God, His priorities, and obeying Him. A faithful citizen obeys the laws of the kingdom and honors the king in what they do. As citizens of the kingdom of God, we should be seeking to obey all of the King's commandments.

-What things have become more important to me than seeking God's kingdom?
-What changes do I need to make in order to make God the priority in my life?
-In what ways am I building my life around that which is eternal?

"There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:29-30).

Some notes adapted from the IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide.

P.S. I am still trying to understand the concept of the kingdom of God and the difference/similarities between the kingdom of heaven and all that it entails. Please feel free to send me your thoughts, especially if I am way off in my thoughts about the kingdom of God!

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