“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” sounds simple enough and rationally makes sense (Matthew 6:33). The Father desires to take us from glory to glory, so why would He withhold our needs from us as we make His Kingdom known here on earth? When we give ourselves to the purposes of seeing God known He’s faithful to keep us from striving to simply stay alive. Yet in the strength of Jesus’ encouraging message, His words seem to be surrounded by verses which give little insight as to how we are to seek the Kingdom, only adding to the dreaded cliché, “just trust in God.”
It seems simple enough – have faith in God and trust if He feeds the sparrows of the air, He will feed you (Matthew 6:26). Still ‘simple enough’ doesn’t always eliminate the anxiety of our circumstances. In fact, I’ve seen ‘simple enough’ answers propel one into deeper anxiety and frustration because it leads one to feel insufficient in their faith. When we know the answers in our heads, but our hearts don’t always follow, the stress of our circumstances grows larger and we feel even more defeated. So the question then becomes how do we seek first the Kingdom of God in a way that when the issues of life appear at our doorstep, our natural reaction is to abide in our established trust that God will continue to sustain us? How do we seek first His kingdom and allow Him access into our lives to where our needs are always met?
It’s important to note, Jesus’ statement, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” concludes a message that began with, “for this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life...” (Matthew 6:25). Our mandate to trust God’s provision is a result of a lifestyle Jesus laid out before us earlier in His most famous sermon. To seek first His kingdom and righteousness is a reiteration of how God asks us to pursue a life in Him. Our answer to living a worry free life by remaining in God’s faithful provision is accomplished through three things: exposing the secret places, entrusting our treasures and opening our eyes.
Exposing the Secret Places
Jesus reveals a deeper truth regarding our position with the Father as He encourages His disciples to anoint their head and wash their faces as they fast. Jesus encourages His disciples to keep their most intimate acts of service secret as He says, “so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you,” (Matthew 6:18). Because God searches for a man’s heart unconcerned with the approval of other men, He asks us to establish our relationship with Him by inviting His presence into our most vulnerable and private conditions. It may seem daunting at first, but we must not forget God only asks us to do what He first did for us.
God has given us access beyond the veil and into the heavenly places. We’re invited to spend time with God where He is in the spiritual realm; and if God is in secret, then we know He has invited us into the secret places of Heaven. God is calling us into the secret places where He resides.
I think of this and see a beautiful picture of a knight walking into the king’s court bearing threatening news, only to see the king standing at the window facing out towards the kingdom. The king turns around slowly with a look expressing he already knows what the knight came to tell him. The king begins to speak confidently, reassuring his knight everything is going to be okay. He calls the knight closer and begins to confess his plans to protect and honor his kingdom and the people within. It is in this secret place of the king where the knight understands the heart of his king towards his reign and rule. It is in this secret place of the king where the knight witnesses the king’s vision for his people. The king draws his knight towards his desk, doing everything he can to prove to his knight there is not one thing he is unwilling to do, no where he won’t go, and nothing he won’t sacrifice to keep his kingdom safe - to keep his knight safe.
The same is true for us. Our search for God’s kingdom begins with confidently walking into our King’s quarters. When we walk into the secret places of God, when we reside with Him in the places Jesus bought for us, we begin to see what God’s heart really looks like. We hear His deepest desires. We begin to see the redemptive vision He has for His children. We learn to hear the soothing power in His voice, as He claims victory over any enemy attempting to claim His territory. We are no longer outside the castle walls, but secure in the strong tower we’re called into.
Entrusting Your Treasure
Jesus continues his sermon by saying, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matthew 6:19-21). While Jesus is addressing idolatry in this statement, the King’s nature is further revealed.
It’s not enough to walk into the secret places of God and just hear everything He has to say concerning us. We don’t live a worry free, provision-filled life simply because we’ve found the kingdom of God. An impartation must take place. We must trust in the vulnerability and confidence of God’s words as He shares them with us in His secret places.
Just as the knight walks into the secret places of the king, he must walk out; and the knight’s ability to lead his cavalry, to know that he knows when he comes back from battle everything will be provided for him is not found in himself, but in believing and trusting what the king said in private is what the king intends to do. The knight’s ability to leave his home, his family and his life behind to fight for the greater good is only possible when he sees the treasure of the kingdom, entrusts his heart to his king and allows the king’s heart to resonate in his. The knight finds his purpose when he gives all of who he is into the hands that will forever protect him; and the king faithfully gives everything to his knight when the king knows his knight’s treasure is also found in the kingdom.
When we allow the mysteries of God to impart themselves within us we open our hearts to the weight of God’s love and perfect plans for the world. It’s in His secret places where we hear all He wants to do in and through us. We witness the fullness of the peace, mercy, grace and love He wants to pour out upon the whole earth and we’re given the opportunity to walk out of His secret place, entrusting our lives, spirits, souls and bodies in the hands of the King. We walk out into the world, empowered to share the love of Christ with our family, co-workers, children and strangers, having placed our heart in the hands of the One who will always protect us - the One whose kingdom cannot be broken into. It’s an act which reveals our value is in heaven and not on earth. One which reveals our value is in seeing the goodness of God establish itself here as it is in heaven. Our treasure becomes seeing soul saved and given the grace of an eternal life full of peace, mercy, and love. As we walk out of the secret places of heaven, fully focused on protecting and releasing God’s kingdom, He will give everything to us for the sake of sustaining us as we make Him known.
Open Your Eyes
God says that our lives will be full of provision and power when we not only seek first His kingdom, but also His righteousness. Jesus continues His sermon by stating, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light,” (Matthew 6:22). Seeking first His righteousness requires us to constantly go before God and ask for Him to take the darkness out of our eyes. It requires us to fix our eyes on what is honorable and pure. To see ourselves as God does. To be vulnerable before God, asking Him to expose the parts of ourselves which act opposite of His nature. To renew our minds and change direction in our repentance. To confidently walk into His secret places, knowing we’ll never deserve it, but always being thankful. Seeking first His righteousness is the catalyst to our internal transformation.
Our righteousness, in Christ is what allows us to walk past the veil and into the secret places of God Almighty. Our righteousness is our access to everything God promised us. And while Jesus made us complete in our right standing with God, we must grow in our righteousness. It is when we fully understand we’ve been given everything, completely undeserving of it, do we walk confidently knowing God has supplied our needs according to His riches and glory. When our bodies, full of light, radiate the faithfulness of God to our spirit, soul and body, we live a life of provision.
Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness may sound simple enough because it is. All that is asked of us is to walk into the secret places of God, hear His heart, be overcome by His light and walk confidently in knowing we don’t deserve His grace, but all He wants to do is lavish it down upon us. It is when we find ourselves immersed in His love, overcome by His vision and commitment to His children, and walk as one of the beloved do we live a life where God’s provision is fully poured out both in the good seasons and bad.