“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
How Do We Seek the Kingdom of God?
It takes a coup d’état
My high school French is rusty but “coup d’état” is pretty common language. A coup is when one government is quickly overthrown by another. Famous coups include Absalom taking over David’s kingdom; Julius Caesar being murdered by Brutus; and Napoleon taking over France. Typically, a military leader leverages the army against the political leader and then sets up a new government.
Spiritually, the same is true in our hearts. King Satan and his vice kings of money, security, health, fear, pride, and self-love are firmly enthroned in our hearts. They will not leave without a fight.
This is why this message will do little for some people today. You can preach and write and make eloquent exegesis without any coup d’état. The only way these demigods of our hearts are removed is if we perceive there to be a better, more powerful, more wonderful king and kingdom. Like the Romanians who forcibly removed Ceausescu when freedom and democracy took hold, we remove the kingdom of fear’s grip by the power of a new affection. A greater one. A better one. It is a coup and the revolutionary is Jesus. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)
Is Jesus your king? Has that coup taken place in your heart where you pledged your allegiance to Jesus? An allegiance over any other? The Bible calls this faith. It is a coup d’état of the heart and a necessary first step to seek first the kingdom of God. Have you joined the revolution?
Saturate yourself with the kingdom
Before moving to Northwest Indiana, I lived in Indianapolis. Guess what was on the news all the time? The Indianapolis Colts. The players. The games. The storylines. Colts, Colts, Colts. You know what happened? I became a Colts fan.
Then I moved here. Guess what is on the news all the time? The Bears. The players. The games. The storylines. Bears, Bears, Bears. You know what has happened? I’m a Bears fan (not as much though in recent years).
Our hearts get excited about the things we place before it as most important. Saturate yourself with the kingdom of man’s priorities and guess what your heart will be excited about? That’s why in God’s plan he established outposts of kingdom culture—the church. The culture of a biblical church cultivates seeking the kingdom first because that’s what everybody’s talking about. Kingdom relationships stoke kingdom values. That assumes that here, the King and the kingdom are really what we are about. Are they?
The Word of God cultivates kingdom priority. Prayer releases kingdom priorities. Serving. Giving. Loving. These are countercultural for the kingdom of man but are the oxygen in the kingdom of God. Saturate yourself with kingdom culture and people and they will increase your seeking first the kingdom of God.
Celebrate the kingdom
You can tell what you care about by what you celebrate. Anniversaries mean marriage is important. Birthdays mean human life is important. In the kingdom, we need to celebrate what our King celebrates. Like what? What does heaven do when one sinner repents? The angels dance.
The Beatitudes list what heaven applauds: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…. those who mourn…. the meek…. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” etc. (Matthew 5:3-6) All of these are qualities of the genuine Christian. Jesus delights to see these in his kingdom. Christian, these are the things to celebrate in your homes, small groups, and families. Let’s get excited when the kingdom wins.
I’ve said this to families after a baptism, “Are you going to go and celebrate?” I don’t know. Really, what’s bigger? Baptism or birthday? Baptism or graduation? Baptism or whatever? What’s a big deal in the kingdom? Let’s celebrate it! Affirm indicators of the kingdom in one another. “Brother, I love to see your humility.” “Sister, I love to see your acts of service.”
What do we want more than anything?
- We want God’s glory to spread by the advancement of the gospel in hearts and lives of people.
- We want God’s kingdom to invade the territory of the enemy by shining the light of the glory of Jesus.
- We want people to be freed from living in terror and fear and to live instead in the confident expectation of God’s provision now and forever.
Everywhere that happens, the citizens of the kingdom should rejoice and celebrate. The kingdom is here. The kingdom is spreading. The King is coming. Let all who love him seek him first, his kingdom, and his righteousness.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2016 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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