Section 2
Lesson 2

Deciphering Matthew 6:33
"Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God & His Righteousness"



PART A
Intro To The Passsage


          Though Matthew 6:33 is one of the most readily known verses in the Bible, it is also one that lacks thorough comprehension. 
          A condensed version of the passage from Matthew 6:24-33 reads: "No one can serve two masters. The person... will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon (obsession for wealth or possessions). Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about food, drink or clothing...  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them... So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ...Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you".
          Pretty self explanatory. Yet, for a plain as it is, it seems to be lost to the Church. We understand, yet, we don't understand. And it's one reason believers don't come in to the full stature of Christ.
          The goal for those that take this program is to align them with the fullness of God, all He is, and all He intends for us. Therefore, digesting and taking ownership of the fullness of what Jesus intended in this passage is paramount. So, let's consider the totality of what Jesus meant in His instructing us to, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness".


PART B
Defining "Kingdom"


          The first thing we need to do is understand what the Lord meant by 'seek His kingdom'. I mean, how do you seek a kingdom? If He told you to seek the United Kingdom, what would that look like outside of literally going there or giving them a call - if that were possible?
          Thayer's Greek Lexicon at the blueletterbible.org defines kingdom as: 

  1. royal power, kingship, dominion and rule
  2. a territory subject to the rule of a king
  3. used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah

           So Matthew 6:33 would more definitively read:

          "Seek ye first the royal power, kingship, dominion and rule of God and His righteousness."

           But what does this thoroughly entail?

           Though it's supernatural and invisible, God's kingdom is a very real government with statutes, rules and precepts. By receiving Christ's atonement as our Savior, we're also submitting ourselves to His government and rule over us.  In so doing, we are to seek His royal power - which most of us probably do. But we're also supposed to seek to thoroughly know and understand the laws and commands of His dominion and rule, so that we can obey them - or repent when we do not.  Because if knowing and abiding in Christ's kingdom is not our first priority, then we aren't really subjects of it. We are subjects of the (dark) kingdom statutes that we know and still follow. For the dominion we bow to is the one we grant authority over us. That's why we must get to know how God's kingdom works. Not knowing is to our destruction. Just as it is with any government, ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you break the law unknowingly, you can still be held accountable. It's our responsibility to know and obey all laws. So, it's imperative to become familliar with the statutes, ways and even the workings of God's kingdom via His Word. This is a huge part of what Jesus meant in His command to seek first His kingdom. He expects us to make becoming thoroughly familiar with the truths of His laws and teachings, and the ways of His kingdom, our priority; even above concerning ourselves with our livelihood.
          Unfortunately, the majority of us fail to become intimately familiar with the "whole" of God's Word. I can testify to this because it wasn't until this past decade (after 20 years of sitting under teachers, thinking I had a relatively solid understanding of God's Word) that I was finally able to dig deep into the Word of God for myself. And in so doing, I discovered how so much of the truth is NOT taught, how the emphasis on what is taught barely covers the basics, how some teachings in the Church are actually off, misrepresented, incomplete, watered down, or straight up false, and more. Yes, I had a basic understanding of the truth, but the basics didn't cut it. The basics kept me going in circles getting nowhere. The basics kept me vulnerable to the wiles of the evil one. The basics kept a barrier between me and God. But when I dug in and discovered the real truths of the Word, MY LIFE BEGAN TO CHANGE. I began to be an overcomer. I stopped going in circles. I became one with God. And the enemy lost his foothold.  This is why we must all personally dig into the Word of God and become familiar with the ins and outs of God's kingdom for ourselves! It is my hope that this program will help those who struggle to dig into the Word to overcome the challenge of it once and for all, and finally become one with the truths and workings of God's kingdom for real. Amen.
          Getting to know God's kingdom through His Word is our top priority and we cannot allow ourselves to be apathetic, complacent or negligent concerning this any longer. This is a matter of eternal life and death. No exaggeration. 
          Now, another aspect of God's command to seek His kingdom is to seek His "kingship".  We know Jesus is our King. The problem is we have no comprehension of what it's like to have a king. Kings of old were profoundly revered, unlike the chiefs over nations today. They could put people to death for not obeying their statutes - and they did! Kings had great, royal power and often controlled all the land that their citizens lived on. Citizens were required to remain humble and could not dishonor their king without repercussions, unlike today where people pridefully and violently assault their presidents or prime ministers. No, we have no idea what it means to wholly submit to a king. If the people of today would be picked up and dropped back in time into a royal kingdom, the whole lot of us would probably be beheaded for lack of reverance for the king. 
          We need to ponder this and talk to the Lord about how well we do or do not seek Him as our reigning king, as the one who has royal charge over us, who has final say and rule over our lives. We need to seek the fear and holy reverance of God. We need to ask the Lord to teach us what fully submitting to Him as our ruler looks like - so that we can do it. I believe if we'll do this, then our newfound holy fear of our king will compel us to get to know the entirity of His teachings and truths. So seeking to know His statutes will be out of desire and reverance as opposed to 'because we're supposed to'. 
          So, let's do that. Let's learn what it really means to have and truly submit to our royal King Jesus. And let our reverance drive us into knowing everything we possibly can about His kingdom's precepts and ways. Let's finally begin to TRULY seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! Amen.


PART C
"Strive After" Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness


           Indeed, the translation says "seek" ye first, not "strive after" ye first, but I want to establish that we aren't to casually search out the kingdom of God. And we certainly aren't supposed to do it out of duty. If we don't pay attention, we'll likely just perceive 'seek' as a casually looking, such as in the game Hide & Seek. Someone hides while someone else does the seeking, or looking.  The 'looking' type of seeking is far less signifant than a desperate search to find something of value. Think about how, if you lost a meaningless pencil, you might look for it briefly. But if you lost a pair of heirloom diamond earrings, you would desperately strive to find them. So, seeing how there are different measures of seeking, it's easy to interpret Matthew 6:33 casually.
          With that in mind, let's look at the Greek term for seek, zēteō G2212, as outlined in the Greek Lexicon at blueletterbible.org. It says:

 I.   to seek in order to find
  • to seek a thing
  • to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into
  • to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after
II.   to seek i.e. require, demand
  • to crave, demand something 

          Now what we see here is the same differentiation between a basic looking and desperately searching.  We will strive after it. And I'm convinced this was precisely what the Lord had in mind for us when He commanded us to "seek" His kingdom. Jesus wanted us to strive after His kingdom. He wanted us to crave it.  I don't think God wanted us to seek His kingdom out of some religious duty or obligation. Rather, He wants us to passionately pursue His kingdom first out of love, above even our livelihoods. 
          And how can I say this for certain? Well, because early in the passage He says we cannot serve two masters. That we cannot serve both God and mammon. He said we'll hate the one and "love" the other, or that we'll be devoted to the one and despise the other. Well, we'll often strive after something we love and are devoted to. So, Jesus was laying the groundwork for His final point to the matter. After His implication for us to not serve, love or strive after wealth and possessions, he then instructs us to not even strive after the things we need such as food and clothing. And finally, after laying out that we should not love or be devoted to wealth, possessions or even our daily needs - but to love, serve and be devoted to Him, He says to casually look for His kingdom and righteousness above all? No, that wouldn't make sense.  After laying it all out as He did, it's clear Jesus was saying to love, be devoted to, serve and strive after the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
          Now, if you're like me, you're probably wondering, since we aren't robots and can just decide to feel passion for something in order to strive after it. Well, when we all come to Jesus, let's face it - we're in love with our lives, our dreams and ambitions. Most of us aren't going to suddenly love God more. That's normal and God knows it. But He does want us to understand His intent so that we'll do something about it. Once we grasp that this is our Lord's desire, that we would passionately pursue the kingdom of God (His royal power, kingship, dominion and rule) and His righteousness, then we can honestly tell Him if we don't and ask Him to change this in us; and He will! If we ask such things, He will surely do it! If we really mean it.
          The problem we have, however, is though a part of us does mean it, another part of us really doesn't want to give up loving and serving mammon. It may very well be our true master. If this is the case, then we're also not going to be able to stop striving after our daily needs, either. So ultimately, even if we ask Him to help us become passionate for His kingdom, our real passion forbids Him from helping us.
          This, then, is where we actually need to begin. Before asking God to help us become passionate for His kingdom and righteousness above all else, we need to confess our servitude and devotion to wealth and possessions. We need to repent for our idolatry and lay it down. If we cannot do this, then Jesus is not really our master which means we cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Remember how in Matthew 19:23-24 Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God? The man he said this about was a godly man who obeyed all the laws of God. His only problem was His true master was mammon. We need to recognize that the bottom line really is about who or what we serve. Regardless if we obey all the other commandments. Regardless how godly we are. The number one commandment is to love God first and not have any other idols. So it's clear... If we cannot repent and lay down our servitude to wealth and possessions, then Jesus is not our Master.
          Now laying this down doesn't mean we have zero desire to earn a living to take care of our family and such. No. The point is to passionately desire the kingdom of God above all else. And He'll guide us to whatever we're to do to make a living. For those He knows won't stumble, He'll even make them wealthy; because it will never be their master. This is why many believers, though God would gladly prosper us all abundantly for the sake of being a blessing to the world, cannot become wealthy. Because they'd be in danger of it mastering them. God is actually protecting them from eternal destruction. Meanwhile, there is no protecting others, because they've purposed to strive after wealth even while they believe Jesus is their Lord. If Jesus asked them to lay their wealth down for Him, they would not be able to do it. 
          All this to say it's not wrong to desire wealth, it's wrong to serve it. It's wrong for it to be more important than God, His kingdom, and His righteousness. So this is where it's at. If this is a touchy area for you, search God. Find out if mammon is your master and determine to lay it down if it is. Or you will not be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven. 
         If it is not your master, and you could easily lay wealth down if you have it - if He asked - then excellent. Now you can ask Him to give you a burning passion for His royal power, kingship, dominion and rule over you. And He will. Amen.