Seek ye first the kingdom!
Jesus said seek and you will find. We are to seek the kingdom of God.
So what is the kingdom? It’s not what we get to have for dinner tonight, or what were allowed to drink or not drink. It is…
The kingdom is a place of deep unshakeable happiness! And what is very interesting is that these three things are that which everyone is already seeking. Let’s see how:
Justification for our existence…
– this we mostly seek through works, status, privilege, the praise of men, having a good family, etc…
– this we usually seek in money, retirement, security systems, safety nets, country of residence, the right political party, a secure job, etc…
– this we usually seek in the aesthetic, the toys, the sex/drugs/rock and roll, our kids smiles, good art, long walks on the beach, the perfect vacation, our team winning the Stanley cup, etc…
And seeking these things apart from Christ is sin…
Whenever we seem to have it, we glorify the created object that provided it, as opposed to the giver of the gifts. If any of the things above is our justification, our peace or our joy, then we are finding our identity by created things and not the creator, and thus we have exchanged of the glory of God for the glory of created things, the very way Paul defines sin.
In addition to it being sin, seeking righteousness, peace and joy in this life alone is so profoundly disappointing. We rarely have all 3 in any kind of satisfactory manner, and if we seem to it is only ever for a season. Then the glory fades:
Just when we can finally afford that iPad, the new one is announced out and we covet.
The joy disappears.
We finally reach our RRSP or 401k retirement goals, and inflation and a recession destroy our investments.
Peace is shattered.
Someone else gets the job promotion, and our all of our hard work goes unnoticed.
We lose our justification for living.
So seek first the kingdom, which is to seek Jesus Christ our King, and all of these things will be added unto you!
It’s not the iPad or the stock value or the good job! But the righteousness, peace and joy!
So back to the two commandments:
This is how we love God:
Loving God is believing in Him who bought our justification.
Loving God is trusting in Him who is our peace and eternal security,
Loving God is being satisfied in Him, the creator of the aesthetic gifts, and to follow the sunbeam up to its source!
Loving God is accepting Jesus as our ultimate treasure, the centre of our identity, and our righteousness, peace and joy.
This is how we love God: We passionately enjoy and proclaim His glory.
This is how we love others: We passionately seek their deepest happiness, for this is how we love ourselves.
The way I love myself and therefore need to love others (Commandment 2), is I delight in the 3 most glorious persons in the universe: Father, Son and Spirit, ie. God. (Commandment 1). I receive His gifts, for they are good and perfect. I proclaim His glory, for His name is great.
Thus the way we love others, is to serve their joy and do whatever we can to help meet their needs for righteousness, peace and joy. We follow Jesus’ example in this by loving others to our own cost, because our joy is rooted deeper than this world. Then others come to love Him also, and our joy becomes complete. One more person to reflect Christ’s glory before men! The prism of the church now radiates in richer way, and spreads more salt and light throughout the world.
One final note, and a hint of things to come.
There is an order to this:
Righteousness -> Peace -> Joy
Being declared righteous is to have peace with God, which leads to the peace of God, which is the foundation of our unshakeable joy. Why is this so unshakeable? Because our righteousness is none other than the validating performance record of Jesus Christ. When God looks at you, and you are in Christ, He sees His beloved Son. So…
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:32
That is what I call rock solid reasoning.