55 First the KingdomPosted: March 21, 2013 | |
The blood of Jesus cleanses us and makes us new. We are precious, forgiven and holy in God’s sight. He accepts us as His own children. The blood of Jesus makes us a part of God’s kingdom. What is this kingdom, anyway? Kingdoms have kings and subjects.
“So do not worry, saying: ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33
We typically hear the above verses in the context of God’s provision for our lives. We hear the command, “Do not worry.” However, for our purposes here, let’s focus on the directive, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” What does this mean? The word for first in the original context, means above all else, not simply first in a long list of priorities. Seeking God’s kingdom is to be over all of what we do, think and believe. His kingdom governs our lives, not just in church, but wherever we are. God is the King, and we are His subjects. “Seek first His kingdom” implies obedience. God instructs and we follow.
What then about the blood of Jesus, grace, forgiveness and freedom from performance? All true, yet so is obedience to God. Our obedience does not give us access to His kingdom. We enter the kingdom because of His grace and forgiveness. The basis of our relationship with Him is the blood of Jesus. God favors us. In His favor, He calls us to lay down our own self-directed lives and instead live for Him. He knows that we won’t do this perfectly. He loves us all the same. Even knowing our imperfections, He still calls us to obedience.
Yes, God does call us to lay down our self-directed lives. He does want to direct us and exert His will in our lives. Remember the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done.” We do not pray for our will to be done, rather we pray for God’s will to be done. The kingdom is primarily about God, not us. We find this hard to take. This does not focus on self. We want what we want when we want it. In our culture today we expect to have it “my way”. The kingdom is about God’s way. We need to surrender our will to Him.
This is not all bad. In submitting to God, we find that He cares for us. We surrender our plastic pearls to gain real ones*. Jesus gives us real life when we surrender our pretend lives to Him. In Jesus, we find our true selves. We find who we were meant to be. We find our destiny in God’s will. To Him be the glory, His kingdom come, His will be done!
Learning to submit to the King,
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