Putting God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33)

Worry becomes a problem when it prevents us from engaging in what should be our priority. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God must have priority in the outlook of his disciples. This means that they should obey his instructions. Here are four requirements that our King spells out for his followers.

The first requirement is that his disciples should speak to him and to his Father. Jesus has already mentioned the importance of prayer in what we call the Lord’s Prayer and he will mention other details about prayer in the next chapter. As we can see from what he taught, speaking to him should be simple and spiritual.

A second way of seeking first the kingdom is that his disciples show love for and to the other members of his kingdom. After all, the kingdom that he came to set up is one that is marked by love. This mutual love will be displayed in numerous ways, but each expression is a sign that those involved are seeking first the kingdom of God.

A third way of doing this is that the followers of Jesus should oppose those who resist the advance of the kingdom of Jesus. Behind those who try this are the powers of darkness. The disciples of Jesus are conscious that they are involved in a spiritual battle that requires them to be alert always to the possibility of spiritual attack. And when it happens, usually through false teaching, they will refuse to accept what is being said.

And a fourth way of seeking first the kingdom of God is by them working to extend its influence. They know that this takes place through the spread of the gospel. In a sense, spreading the gospel can be summarised as speaking about the King of the kingdom. Members of the kingdom of Jesus delight to speak about him in ways suitable to the circumstance they find themselves in.

Jesus provides special assurance here when he promises his disciples that living for the kingdom does mean that they will find themselves without future needs being met. He assures them that their food and clothing – depicting whatever they need for life in this world – will be provided for them. This promise liberates them to serve Jesus wherever they are without worrying about the future.

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