Today's guest is from my friend Michael Kimball, who just happens to live close to my home town. Michael has a passionate heart for Father God and I know you'll be blessed by reading this today. – Jay
With burning hearts
In reflecting on these words, words coming out of the mouth of Jesus making it unwise for us to ignore them, I find it important to first understand—at least to some fundamental extent—what he meant by both “the kingdom of God” and “His righteousness”. For if these two things are of such importance that in seeking them we are to grant them a higher priority in our lives than the pursuit of food, clothing, and shelter, we ought to have a clear sense of what they are!
While the kingdom of God, no doubt, encompasses more than what I offer here it is yet a place where God is acknowledged as king and his will holds sway, gladly accepted by the inhabitants of the kingdom as being wise, good, and preferable to their own. That God’s will is preferable stems from the settled opinion of the kingdom’s inhabitants that God’s righteousness, his goodness if you will, is perfect.
If what I suggest is at least fundamentally accurate then to seek “the kingdom of God and His righteousness” is to be searching after, on a continual basis and as a higher priority than the pursuit of material things, that non-material, spiritual, life-imparting and essential treasure that is the fruit of a vital relationship with the living God and the defining difference between existence and life.
You may well wonder at this point, how is this to be done? What form does the seeking take? To which I give the only answer possible—follow Jesus!
My reply isn’t meant to be facetious. I’m serious. Jesus commands us to seek these things and, in the gospel record, claims to know what he’s talking about. He says that he and the Father are one and that his appearing on earth brings the kingdom of God near, visible to everyone. After all, Jesus is both the King and the human embodiment of the righteousness of God. To seek God’s kingdom and righteousness is to follow hard after Jesus, learning from him and doing what he says. For in the doing comes understanding.
The re-ordering of our lives to reflect God’s priorities is to agree to turn our own world upside down! Jesus knows this and sets the admonishment so that it is sandwiched in the midst of his addressing our human propensity to be anxious about our physical welfare, often to the extent of making money the paramount pursuit of our life. Jesus strips away any pretense of a pragmatic hiding place by saying that if we have our priorities in order our material needs will be provided for.
Bold words! One of the most incredible statements I’ve ever heard! So grand a promise that my heart longs to plumb the depths of its truth. I want to experience the unfettered, explosive joy of fellowship with, and worship of, the God who so loves us as to set us free from self-imposed drudgery and fulfill this lofty claim.
By the gracious help of the Spirit of Christ Jesus I have come a long way in my personal journey of faith to where I find myself, together with my beloved wife, Sheila, poised to take hold of our Savior’s words as a truth strong enough to overcome our fears. It must be so! For if this utterance of Jesus is false then our faith is in vain.
With burning hearts we desire to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ and to be found faithful stewards of that which he has entrusted to us. To know him and love him with the same wild abandonment of love that fueled his willingness to come and save us from our sins. Jesus is our Longings End and we look to set ourselves to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…
Michael is a certified professional coach, writer, and author of the suspense novel, Portals. Together with his wife, Sheila, the two are the team behind the various writings found at Longings End. Michael also helps men discover, live, and fulfill their calling to the glory of God. You can find out more about their coaching by visiting Longings End Coaching.