“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10 (ESV)
Jesus taught his disciples to pray that the kingdom of God would come to earth as it is in heaven. We know with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry God’s kingdom began to be manifest on earth (Matthew 12:28). God’s kingdom continues to be expanded today each time the work of Satan is defeated in a person’s life (Matthew 11:12). We should seek the coming of the kingdom of God in prayer not only for a future time (Revelation 11:15), but also for the expansion of God’s kingdom on earth now (Matthew 6:9-10).
Seeking God’s kingdom above everything else is a source of blessing. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25, 31-33 ESV) “All these things” refers to the necessities of life. It seems that the guarantee for having all our needs met is to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first.
Paul tells us, “. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV) The peace of God is part of the kingdom of God. Paul wrote to the Romans, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17 ESV)
Regarding the pursuit of righteousness, Mark records these words of Jesus: “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’” (Mark 9:43-48 ESV *verses 44 and 46 are the same as 48)
Self mutilation is not the objective in Jesus’ commands. If you cut off one hand your other hand can sin. You can cut off one foot and your other foot can sin. You can pluck out one eye and the other eye can sin. In these verses Jesus is saying to make every effort to eliminate the presence of temptation which can lead to sin. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul encourages them to “walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12 ESV). Seeking God’s kingdom and walking in a manner worthy of God necessarily includes a striving against sin; a pursuit of righteousness.
A pursuit for joy in God is also an element of seeking the kingdom of God. Jesus told his disciples that the reason he taught them was that their joy would be full and that his joy would be fulfilled in them (John 15:11; 17:13). He also said that receiving their request from God would cause their joy to be full (John 16:24). We also read that joy is a fruit of the spirit filled life (Galatians 5:22). We find our joy in God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:11). God’s kingdom in one of joy in him.
Seeking the kingdom of God first also includes suffering. Jesus said that all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake will inherit the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:10). Paul told the believers at Lystra that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). He also assured the Thessalonians that the suffering which they were enduring was evidence that they were worthy of the kingdom of God (2 Thessalonians 1:5).
Jesus said, “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” (Luke 16:16 ESV) Those who earnestly seek the kingdom of God will find it. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
That’s why we praise him!