“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
(Matthew 6:33 ESV)
People make countless decisions in a day, and every decision hinges on a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
When you get married, you commit to one person as your spouse. This means you’re turning down every other eligible girl or guy on the planet. You’re rejecting millions of potential spouses for one—what a compliment! When you dress yourself, you’re dismissing your whole wardrobe for one outfit. When you open a new book, you’ve chosen to keep all others shut for that hour.
Every action requires abandon. That is the very nature of taking action. When you act, you’ve decided. And in deciding, you’ve denied many things for that one thing.
How Do I Seek First the Kingdom of God?
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus calls his listeners to an action; action that requires abandon.
The action is “seek.” Look for. Go after. Want. Desire. Chase. Jesus commands everyone to seek, and to seek first. That calls for a mighty abandon.
How do you seek first the kingdom of God? If you are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, that means everything else in your life can’t be first. It means abandon—on a big scale and small scale (we’ll talk about more). It means losing two things in particular: your crown and your concerns.
If you do forsake all else as your “first” to find what Jesus wants you to seek, you gain two things you can’t get anywhere else: true freedom and a heavenly Father.
Big Scale Kingdom Seeking
To Seek First God’s Kingdom, Crown Jesus as Your King.
Jesus commands everyone to seek the same thing: “the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Big-scale kingdom seeking has to do with the overall trajectory of your life. Let’s hear from Jesus about this:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 NIV)
Seeking God’s kingdom starts with following the King God has chosen: Jesus. To follow Jesus means forsaking the world and your dreams for his. To seek Jesus as King is to abandon yourself as king, and to subject to him every other thing that would try to dominate your life.
Here’s the scary thing, though. If you choose no when it comes to King Jesus, then you are forfeiting our soul. Jesus is not a king, he’s the King, and the call to follow him is a command. Obedience comes with a promise to enjoy eternal life with the King in his kingdom, while disobedience will incur eternal punishment.
You’re asked to give your whole life to Jesus. That may sound hard. But he’s done no less for you. He gave up his life so you could come into his kingdom.
To Seek First God’s Kingdom, Know God as Your Father.
Those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son, and the crowned King of God’s kingdom, who believe they are truly criminals before him deserving of judgment, and who trust in his death to restore their relationship with God, they are welcomed into his Kingdom.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 ESV).
Coming under the reign of King Jesus also means coming under the fatherhood of God, a God who loves us enough to send his own Son to die for our crimes.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)
The action of seeking first the kingdom means abandoning your autonomy, abandoning the world and it’s aspirations, abandoning life as a rebel and traitor to King Jesus. What do you choose?
Choosing to seek first the Kingdom means you crown Christ as King and gain God—the God of heaven and earth—as your Father. Would you like to enter God’s kingdom today?
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
Small Scale Kingdom Seeking
The second step, after relinquishing your life to Jesus, is seeking God’s kingdom on a small scale in your day-to-day life.
To Seek First God’s Kingdom, Don’t Worry.
Jesus knows that practically “seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness” will require serious abandon, schedule changes, and reprioritization. So, three times before he says, “seek first” in Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “do not be anxious” (v. 25, 31, 34). In other words, don’t worry. What should we not worry about? Food, clothes, you know, your life.
What?! That seems absurd. I need to eat, I need to get dressed, I need to save for retirement, I need to provide for my family, I need a spouse. Shouldn’t I be worried about these things?
Actually, the answer is no.
You don’t have to worry because then two people are worried about your needs – one who can do something about them and one who cannot. You cannot, but God can, and he does. See, God your Father is concerned with your needs and actually has the ability to meet all of them. Jesus tells us:
- You are valuable to your heavenly Father (v. 26)
- Your Father makes it his business to provide for you (v. 30)
- Your heavenly Father knows what you need (v. 32)
It’s easy to think if you stop worrying about yourself and only worry about God’s kingdom that your own concerns will go unaddressed and you will remain in need. Just the opposite is true. For, God says that when you abandon your personal concerns, he makes them his personal concerns.
To Seek First God’s Kingdom, Tell Your Anxieties to God.
In 1 Peter 5:7, God welcomes his children to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (ESV). When you throw your cares to the wind in order to seek God, God catches them and deals with them better than anyone else ever could.
The action of seeking first the kingdom means abandoning your anxieties. Jesus wants you to be care-free, knowing you are cared-for. And you’re not just cared for by just anyone, you are cared for by the King of kings.
Seek His Kingdom First Today
Let’s recap: How do you seek first the kingdom of God? To choose to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness, you have to do two things: Crown Jesus as King of your life and leave your cares in the hands of your loving Father. When you choose God’s appointed King, you abandon your own crown. When you choose God’s kingdom, you abandon your own concerns.
Finally, when you abandon your agenda and your own anxieties, you are free to seek and desire God’s agenda. It’s like a special trade. Give God your cares, so that he can give you his. And you will find that there is far more joy in seeking the things God cares about.
Do you want to seek God’s kingdom right now? Here’s a challenge. Write out a list of all your concerns—tell them to God, and leave them to him. Then, ask God what his concerns are as you read Matthew 5-7 (Jesus’ whole sermon). Seek him first; he’s worth every abandon.