I love the verse “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” This is Jesus’ prescription for worry over life’s necessities. Still, I have a hard time visualizing a kingdom and what it means to seek God’s Kingdom.
The Greek word that is translated “kingdom” is “βασιλικός.” It can be translated various ways: “dominion, reign, rule.” It can refer to a specific territory and it can refer to God’s way of doing things. This begins to help me understand what Jesus was saying. “Seek first God’s reign in the world.” “Seek first God’s ways in the world.” When we see our world ruled by injustice, oppression of the poor, continued racism, cruelty; these are not God’s ways. This extends also to a personal level. When we see marriages falling apart, addiction, depression; these are not God’s ways. God’s ways heal the structures of our society and the pain and brokenness of individuals. Both are expressions of God’s reign in the world. We are to seek first being agents of God’s ways coming into our world, both in the structures of society and the hearts of all humans.
Then what does it mean to talk about His righteousness? I wrongly limit my concept of righteousness as moral purity. This then equates too easily into avoiding specific sins and checking off particular Christian practices. His righteousness (Greek – διακοσού) is so much more expansive. It includes the totality of the character of God. We are to seek His character in all that we do.
When His kingdom and His righteousness becomes our first focus, then we also see the world around us transformed. This will not be easy, immediate, or even clearly evident, but God will bring the harvest to the seeds we plant.
As I put this all together, I come up with this amplified version; “Seek first God’s ways in the world, His healing in individual hearts, and seek His character in every place in your life, and all the other things that we worry about will be taken care of as well.”