Posted: 04/22/2009 at 6:50am
By Ron McGatlin
One of the major goals of mankind is quality and length of life. The pursuit of happiness and freedom are considered noble goals in western civilizations. From our youth, independence and self-government are presented as desirable in the pursuit of happiness and freedom. Since the fall of Adam, a primeval desire of mankind has been to be free of all restraints and to experience the pleasure of fulfilled needs and desires. Self-preservation and fulfillment in life are among the most basic priorities of every animal living on the planet including humans.
Most dreams of life are woven from our basic desires. The visions we cast as we imagine potentials for our lives will establish the priorities from which decisions are made. In modern language of today, God could be asking this question for us to consider, “How is that working for you?”
Life lived for the benefit of the one who is living it is vanity. Emptiness awaits the one who seeks fulfillment in the dust of humanity. In the end, apart from seeking the real kingdom of God, life is all vanity. Even the noblest goal of man to give their life to help others to have a better life can be empty in the end without the kingdom of God. There is truly internal reward of gratification and increased blessing in our lives for blessing and helping others. However, if we lay down our lives to help others, and the ones we help do evil toward others and do not seek the kingdom of God, then what value or worth is there in what we have done? Is it not empty of lasting or eternal value? Is not our sacrifice in vain? At the end, to have lived a life apart from seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness is to have never really lived at all.
His righteousness involves obedience to His ways.
The drive to find fulfillment and purpose in life apart from God and His kingdom leads to vain imaginations. We imagine peace and joy will come as we accomplish the next dream of our hearts. We strive and reach to have more, be more, or do more. Each accomplishment brings, at best, a momentary satisfaction. There may be a temporary thrill of victory but quickly it becomes empty, and we are left to reach for another dream. If we gather a lot of money it is never enough to bring us joy and fulfillment that endures. The secure feeling and peace of mind of having much money stored up is soon shattered as it seems to take wings and is gone in the wind. We are again left empty of the fulfillment of real significance in our lives.
Prov 23:5: Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.
Eccl 1:2-4: "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever.
Eccl 12:13: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.
Ultimate significance in life comes as we become one with God in His purposes. Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness aligns us with the purpose of God for our lives. Walking in the Spirit of God endues us with His attributes to carry out His purposes and results in righteousness, peace, and joy, in the Holy Spirit. There is rest in the kingdom of God. Aligning with anything else by seeking first anything else leads to unrighteousness, lack of peace, and no joy in another spirit. There is no rest for our soul and spirit outside the kingdom of God. The blessings of God are upon the person who walks in the spiritual kingdom of God.
Psa 1:1-6: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psa 2:1: Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?
Kingdom age culture is different from church age culture.
For the most part, church age culture missed seeking the kingdom first. Kingdom age culture is beginning to be developed among an emerging generation of kingdom seekers and Spirit walkers.
One of the characteristics of church age culture is the token acknowledgement of God added into the lifestyle of the people. Attending services giving offerings and paying a clergyman to do the spiritual stuff while the pew people focus on seeking many other “good” things of life first. God is honored in words but not in the practical reality of life. Seeking the kingdom first does not mean seeking church activities first. It does not mean seeking relating to others in community first. Neither does it mean seeking to be a good family man first. Some of these things and others will have significant value for all who seek the kingdom first. However, in the end all are vanity without seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first.
Mat 15:8-9: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
Many if not most Christians do not have a clear view of what the kingdom of God really is and what it is not. There is need for knowing what the kingdom really is that we are to seek first in life. It may not be easy to give our lives in seeking a generic concept of vague definition that is subject to many interpretations of natural minds.
For a greater understanding of the kingdom we are to seek, I heartily recommend experiencing the “Kingdom Growth Guides” available for free download at archive.openheaven.com .
Practical Kingdom of God Living
Christians have a tendency to see everything about the kingdom of God/heaven as religious and church-related. Is seeking the kingdom of God more than receiving Jesus as saviour, reading the Bible, and praying? These things are certainly primary to seeking the kingdom, but the kingdom involves one’s entire life. Attending church services one or two days a week and tithing ten percent of one’s income is not the whole thing. God wants the other six days and the other ninety percent to seek Him as well. God is more concerned about the six days and the ninety percent than the one day and the ten percent.
Seeking the kingdom of God means, in part, ordering one’s entire life by the sovereign rule of God.
It means walking in the Spirit of God, and dying to one’s self-life to the extent that Jesus can live within and rule every aspect of one’s life.
It means allowing the grace of God to empower one to overcome sin and weaknesses in one’s life.
It means to be so in tune with the love of God that serving God by serving Jesus in others is a natural result.
It means being so filled with the life of God by His Spirit that power and enthusiasm naturally flow from the life.
It means feeling the pain of others’ needs and becoming a part of the solution to meet their needs.
It means that there is nothing that even comes close to God in our lives. It means that without Him, we would have no life. But with Him we have abundant life, overflowing life - life flowing to others and the world around us, as rivers of living water.
It means we may become very active and busy serving God by serving others. Seeking the kingdom of God will probably result in our getting up earlier, and being more active in doing whatever God has given us to do. It may result in one becoming so active serving God by serving others, that one has neither time nor desire to watch hours of mindless TV, or play hours of useless video games.
Spectator religion and sports may no longer be the focus of one’s life. Seeking the kingdom may mean getting up from one’s seat in the grandstands and getting out on the playing field of real life. Involvement in the all-consuming adventure of truly seeking the kingdom of God and His righteous way of doing and being, in the real world, is far more exciting than watching any sports team, TV program, or video game, in the fantasy world.
Seeking the kingdom of heaven does not mean seeking God as a part of one’s life (Jer 29:13). It means seeking the kingdom of God to come forth in one’s daily living and the will of God to be done in one’s entire life (Mat 6:10). It means seeking God’s direction for one’s life activities such as: education, vocation, avocations, relations and recreations; and it means seeking His power to do the things He directs one to do (Prov 3:6) (Zec 4:6) (Phil 4:13).
Mat 6:33: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Edited by Moderator on 04/23/2009 at 8:12am