Recently at bible study, we discussed the next phase in our lives. Some of us are going to school, the military, or the workforce. When we talk about the future, we begin to feel a great deal of emotions. Of these emotions we usually experience fear, doubt, excitement, curiosity, but especially worry. Worry is probably the root of all those other emotions. Worry comes from uncertainty. We begin to worry about ourselves and what is going to happen next, and many other questions. Not only do we worry about ourselves, but our close friends and family. What will they do? Who will my little brother look up too? Will my parents get divorced now that I am out of the house? Will my parent who is divorced or widowed feel lonely and fall into temptation without me around to encouraged them and them to encourage me? The thought of the future brings about much of this.
God led us to Matthew chapter 6:25-34, a passage about worry. Jesus teaches His disciples that they need not worry about anything from clothes to food, shelter or even a single hour of their life. He tells them that God is control and He will provide all their needs. Jesus even tells them of how God provides food for the birds and rain for the grass, reminding them that they are way more valuable to the Father than the all other parts of His creation. He shows them that if God provides for rest of creation, and us being more valuable, then how much more will He provide for us? He refers to the people who worry as people of little faith and compares them to the pagans. As we are reading this passage, I begin to feel peace in my spirit for my group and I. Then it hit me hard when I got to verse 33, it says:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
Could you imagine the emotion? Here is Jesus telling them that God will provide all there needs and not to worry about anything. I imagine questions running through the disciple’s heads like. “Wait a minute? You’re going to provide to me all things? And you want me to seek a kingdom that I have never heard about? And have no idea what it is like?”
Little did the disciples realize at that time, that Jesus was explaining to them that it is not about what you have on this earth, but where you’re going after this this present life. Jesus is pointing to the fact that our home, our final destination is not of this world. A place where all our needs will be met, where we will never have to worry about what we will eat or drink. A place where the kingdom is more than brick or mortar, but the fullness of the presence of God!
Then the question dawned on me, “Ok Jesus, what does it mean to seek the kingdom? I get that I need to trust in you, but what does that mean to not worry about this life and seek the kingdom? How do I seek a place not of this world while I am here on this world?”
God was faithful to my prayer and led my to Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:3 it says:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 ESV)
Jesus is calling us to be ‘poor’ in spirit, ‘poor’ to ourselves! Neglecting the desires of our flesh, not finding satisfaction in this world, because we have inherited a kingdom that is far better. He is saying don’t trade away the kingdom to come, that is all eternally satisfying, for this momentary kingdom, that cannot satisfy and is ultimately going to end.
There two specific things that we can get from both Matthew 6:33 and Matthew 5:3:
The first is that to be a Christian means to have our hearts set on another world. A world where there is a kingdom that is greater than any established here on this earth. A kingdom that does not require us to worry about food, clothes, or possessions. A kingdom where the king is faithful to provide all things!!! (Seek first the kingdom and all WILL be added to you). This kingdom, where nothing is desired, because we have been filled and satisfied! Where thirst is quenched, hunger is no more, and we are reigning with Christ! A kingdom where the highlight is the King!
The second is that to be with Christ in His kingdom, is going to require submission to King Jesus. To take up our cross and follow Jesus. To be poor in spirit and live out the mission of Jesus, not the mission of ‘ME’ or ‘I’. Because we have found something greater than ‘ME’ or ‘I’. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Blessed are those who have found a kingdom worth forsaking this one for.
Don’t let the idea of self-denial and sacrifice in faith of a better Kingdom intimidate you. Rejoice in it, that because of Jesus, our home is not of this world! Where every need will be met, by the fullness of the presence of God!
The following day I had the opportunity to have lunch with my friend and He showed me Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 is the chapter about the Bible MVP’s, the men of great faith, who God used to do crazy things from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation! As I began to read the passage, there was one thing that really stuck out about these awesome stories. That all of these men did what they did, not because they had their hearts fixed on this world, but because they had their hearts fixed on a better kingdom. In fact in Hebrews 11:13-15 describes these people as:
- “Strangers and exiles on earth”
- “People who were “seeking a homeland”
- “People in search of a better country that is a heavenly one”
- “People fixed on city that God has prepared for them”
It goes on to say in that same passage that God has indeed prepared a place for them, because He was not ashamed to be their God.
What is it that made God not ashamed to be their God?....…. They had their eyes on the kingdom!
These people chose to desire the kingdom over food or clothes. They became poor to themselves and pursed a world greater than this, even to the point of death. One thing all these all time greats had in common is that they all endured suffering through faith in a better life!
If we truly purse the kingdom of God, suffering is happening and if not, it is coming! Suffering is an overflow of being a disciple of Christ. If you do not experience suffering than you are not pursuing the kingdom, you are not following Gods will for your life, and you are not submitting to Jesus! Don’t let lack of mission, laziness, and seduction keep you from being apart of the most important mission of all eternity.
These men who had faith in the kingdom of God experience extreme suffering! Abraham offered up His one and only son! Imagine God promising you a son, He blesses you with one, and then many years later tells you to sacrifice him. Granted, God came through and provided an alternate sacrifice. The sacrifice being a lamb only to represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who would come later on it time.
Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, crossing the red sea! You might be saying that is an awesome story! He saved Egypt, but I guarantee you it included suffering. The Israelites were beaten, malnourished, and I bet you when they saw the Red Sea split, that it was not like walking through a glamourous aquarium at a musuem. Not to mention once they crossed the Red Sea, they wandered in the desert for 40 years! It doesn’t stop there but continues through verse 32-40:
 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-
who through faith:
- Conquered kingdoms
- Enforced justice
- Obtained promises
- Stopped the mouths of lions
- Quenched the power of fire
- Escaped the edge of the sword
- Were made strong out of weakness
- Became mighty in war
- Put foreign armies to flight
- Women received back their dead by resurrection.
- Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.
- -Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment
- They were stoned
- They were sawn in two
- They were killed with the sword
- They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,  since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
(Hebrews 11:33-40 ESV)
Three things I want you to get:
#1 This World Is Not Our Home
Your home is not where you grew up as a child, or your current address. Our home is where the kingdom is, where Jesus is. I know we are have not arrived, but until then we need to be obedient to follow where the kingdom is leading us currently in our lives. Don’t waste your money on making a nicer home, but spend it on mission, growing your eternal home, filling it with brothers and sisters who have yet to realize that this world is not their home.
#2 Humility, Seek, And Be Filled
Humble yourself and bee poor in spirit, seek the kingdom and follow where God is leading you to complete His mission. Be filled with the fullness of joy through the Holy Spirit and realize every thing will one day be added to you when we are with Jesus in heaven! We serve a God in whom are all things. He is everything. It is not like He is going to give you a better car in heaven, but we are going to be with Him.
#3 Endure, Persevere, Focus On The Kingdom
We need to pray for God to give us the endurance to persevere! Stay focused on the kingdom, the King. If we look at our world and ourselves, we will loose hope. But that lose of hope should only drive us to hope in Jesus. Jesus is our only hope.
There is coming a day when in heaven, that every ounce of suffering and brokenness will make perfect sense, when we look upon the face of Jesus!
Love in Christ,