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Invitation to a Better Way!

By Caleb Camp

Matthew 6:33 ESV – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Jesus spoke these words as part of a greater discourse known by most Christians as, The Sermon on the Mount.  In that “sermon” Jesus addresses what I like to think of as, Kingdom perspectives.  In other words, what does the daily life of a citizen of God’s kingdom look like?  With what mindsets, perspectives and attitudes do we engage the world around us?  In this same chapter, as part of teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus encouraged them to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  The Kingdom is central to who we are and what we do.

For many years in my own walk, the idea of seeking first the kingdom became a list of religious activities that I needed to complete in order to check the boxes that I thought would make God happy with me and allow me to live a shame/guilt free life.  The problem is that it usually had the opposite effect.  Instead of setting me free, that list just became a reminder of the places I had fallen short and reinforced some expectations I had placed on myself that were out of balance.  Unchecked boxes meant unfulfilled spiritual responsibilities, which meant a God who was disappoined with me, and shame.  This was a setup for living defeated…not victoriously.  In a sense, it felt like something impossible that I would never measure up to.  Perspective is everything!

In John Chapter 3, Jesus has a conversation with a Pharisee named Nicodemus about the kingdom of God.  What he has to say is very telling!

John 3:3- 5 ESV – “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Jesus reveals a foundational truth that determines a person’s ability to “seek first” the Kingdom of God.  He tells Nicodemus, that if he ever wanted to see or enter the kingdom of God, he had to be born again.  This was perplexing to this teacher of the law.  “How can it be?” he asked!  We have the benefit of looking at this conversation through the whole of Scripture, which means that we know that Jesus was talking about a spiritual rebirth.

In order to truly live, we have to be born again.  Many have asked the same question as Nicodemus, “How is this possible?”.  In another conversation in John, Jesus tells us:

John 14:6 ESV – “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There is only one path to spiritual rebirth, and that is through Jesus!

So then, what does that mean about the kingdom?  The answer lies in what Jesus told Nicodemus.  When he says, “you can’t see” or “you can’t enter” the kingdom of God unless…Jesus lays out two truths.  The first is clearly spoken and easily deciphered from the text.  The second truth is the logical implication of the first: that once we have been born again, we can see and we can enter the kingdom of God!

Our new reality as born-again kingdom citizens, is that because of what Jesus has already accomplished, we can see and enter.  This is established!  Jesus did it, which means I don’t have to.  What I have to do now, is accept it as truth and position myself to let it unfold in me daily.  If the ability to see and enter the kingdom of God is determined by some list of religious disciplines or activities, then I’ll never get it because I’ll always fall short.  But if it is my new reality because of what Jesus has already done, I just have to learn how to change my perspective.  And often times, perspective is a matter of position.

Before we look at what that means, a quick word about kingdom.  It is of great importance to note, that the kingdom of God is both a “here and now” and a “future” thing.  We know that one day, the followers of Jesus will enter into His kingdom where we get to spend eternity in His presence.  But that is not all that kingdom is intended to be!  If it were not also a “here and now” thing, then why would Jesus tell us to seek it first, or to ask God to establish it here on earth, now?  Yes, we want to see the reign of God’s kingdom in our lives today, here, right now!

So, Jesus, who is THE only way to the Father, THE only way to spiritual rebirth, is also THE only way to “see and enter” the kingdom of God now!  Because of what he did, we have been positioned to “see and enter” the kingdom of God.  And remember, often perspective is about position.  Back to Matthew 6:

Matthew 6:33 ESV – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

His righteousness is what positions us for the kingdom.  It’s what He already did, not what we “must” do.  If we accept that Jesus has already changed our ability to “see and enter”, then “seek first” becomes an invitation to position ourselves to see the Kingdom’s perspective.  The Gospel: His righteousness covering our sin, facilitating rebirth and reconnecting us with the Father, positions us to “see and enter”.  Our job is to “seek” this first.  And the promise is, that if we focus on what He’s already done, if our drive is to be positioned in His kingdom because of His righteousness, then everything we need to be successful in matters of the kingdom will be added to us.

I’m not talking about the prosperity gospel here!  Jesus said, don’t worry about the things that the system of the world gives you…yes you need things to live, but don’t let your mind be consumed by the pursuit of your needs.  Why?  Because:

Matthew 6:32 NLT – “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

There’s that idea of “already” again!  The righteousness of Jesus has “already” given us the ability to see and enter, and God “already” knows what we need.  So…we are called to position ourselves in the kingdom, and trust that everything we need from the world’s system will be supplied so that we can live and act as citizens of the kingdom and carry out the wishes of our King!

Are you ready to accept the invitation to a better way?  Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.  Position yourself in the kingdom’s system, and everything you need to be fruitful in the kingdom, will be added unto you.  Thank you Jesus!