WHY MANY BELIEVERS MAY NEVER FIND THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The answer is simple – the Kingdom of God is NOT given to mankind on a platter of gold. Mankind has to seek the Kingdom to find the Kingdom. And this seeking requires time, effort, focus, diligence, discipline, persistence, and so on.
The primary Scripture for this teaching is the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33, “BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. In this passage, Jesus made the seeking of the Kingdom the central pursuit of the Christian life. Please note how He elevated this above even our pursuit of the basic necessities of life (what to eat, what to drink, what to wear).
It is our commitment to seeking the Kingdom that triggers God promise to bless us with those basic necessities. The necessities that Gentiles seek.
In Christ Jesus, God has freely offered humanity both the access and the grace to find the Kingdom.
But it is MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY to explore and maximise the fully loaded potentials that are available to us through Jesus Christ. This concept aligns perfectly with the words of Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter”. (In Revelation 1:6, we know that believers have been made kings unto God). So, as kings, God expects us to diligently seek out the Kingdom.
But in our days, we are too busy to seek the Kingdom with the required diligence. We do not know that those who do not seek the Kingdom WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS will NEVER find the Kingdom. They will NEVER find the Kingdom because they do not know the value of the Kingdom.
To give us an understanding of this truth, Jesus gave us two parables. The ‘Parable of the Hidden Treasure’, and the ‘Parable of the Pearl of Great Value’ in Matthew 13:44-46. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.
Then in his joy he goes and SELLS ALL that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and SOLD ALL that he had and bought it”. (ESV)
In both parables, there was the element of seeking, the element of finding, and an APPROPRIATE RESPONSE. The response was the SELLING OF ALL to buy the treasure/field. Please note that when the man found the treasure, it was with JOY that he went to SELL ALL that he had to buy the field. He sold with joy because he knew the value of the field.
In contrast, in our days, the reason we are not willing to sell our ALL is because we do NOT truly know and appreciate the value of the Kingdom.
At times, we are like the foolish, young ruler that Jesus offered the Kingdom in Matthew 19:16-22. The man carefully considered Jesus’ offer, and opted to keep his wealth rather than SELL ALL and carry his cross, and follow Jesus to the Kingdom.
Please note that this is the SAME MAN that has kept all the laws from his youth so that he can make heaven! But when he was confronted with the real price of his desire, the Bible records that he walked away in great sorrow – because he had great possessions.
FOOLISHLY, he chose perishable, earthly possessions over and above the imperishable glory of eternal wealth that Jesus offered!
What a huge, huge folly!
But in reality, this is the picture of a lot of us as believers.
We endeavour to observe the commandments in the Bible, and naively think we are already on our way to heaven. Not knowing that there is an active seeking of the Kingdom, and a price to pay – the price of the cross.
It is only the earnest seeking of the Kingdom that will begin to reveal our appointed cross to us.
But, sadly, most of us have left our pastors to seek the Kingdom on our behalf. Like the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 5:27, a lot of us seem to say to the pastors, “Just seek the Kingdom and when you find it, come and explain it to us, and we will follow you”. Alas! We do not know that quite a lot of the pastors do not have a clue about the Kingdom themselves! And so, what they are feeding us with has little or nothing to do with the Kingdom. A true case of the blind leading the blind (Luke 6:39).
Our microwave generation wants everything FAST and in EASY BITE-SIZE.
But the Kingdom of God can never be found with this sloppy, indolent philosophy. A philosophy that trivialises the Kingdom of God by underestimating its great value. The price you are willing to pay for ANYTHING is determined by the value you place on it. In a way, our generation has lost our sense of the immense value of the Kingdom. This is why many today are not paying the price to find the Kingdom.
What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God? This is a broad subject that cannot be treated in details in this article. But an overview of some of the key areas can be attempted. Broadly speaking at the personal level, seeking the Kingdom of God comprise our CONSISTENT effort to discern the will and mind of God for all situations in our lives, both great and small. And pursuing that will WITH ALL OUR HEARTS according to God’s commandments in the Bible – even when it is in conflict with our personal views and preferences.
We can extend this one step further. To seek the Kingdom is to seek our role in the Kingdom – the specific reason why God created us, and to make that the central pursuit of our lives in all ways, and at all times. And doing so in a way that is acceptable to God – with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28). It is how we fulfil our assigned role in the Kingdom that will determine the place we will occupy (in terms of rewards) in the Kingdom when it fully manifests.
Furthermore, to seek the Kingdom is to advance the interest, welfare, and expansion of the Kingdom in our environment. This will include REGULARLY PRAYING FOR THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM (that is, its full manifestation). And doing all that is in our power to hasten the arrival of the Kingdom as Apostle Peter urges in 2 Peter 3:11-12. It also involves deploying our spiritual and material resources into the advancement of the Kingdom – in praying, in giving, and in going out on our assigned mission field.
The concept of seeking the Kingdom goes much further than this, and at its root is the quest to devote our hearts to (1) THOROUGHLY knowing the King of the Kingdom, (2) carrying our cross daily, and (3) steadfastly following Him home (Luke 9:23). Without knowing the King, we can never know the Kingdom. Without following the King, we can never get to the Kingdom. This is not a fleshly pursuit. Rather, the pursuit is a work of grace through the indwelling Spirit of God. However, we need to remember that the Holy Spirit works in us according to our level of thirst and desire for the King. And according to the price we are willing to pay. If we do not understand this truth, and apply it diligently, many believers will grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). And many will quench Him in their lives (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Apart from all other considerations, our busy lifestyle does not give us sufficient time to devote to effectively seeking the kingdom. Many will be alarmed at how the quest to seek our daily bread and acquire the necessities of life devour most of our waking hours. No wonder Jesus warned us that the ‘cares of this life’ will cause the day of His return to come upon some believers suddenly LIKE A TRAP (Luke 21:34). When a trap springs suddenly, there is no time for the victim to react and escape.
On the Last Day, when some believers would want to use their busy work schedule as an excuse for not having time to seek the Kingdom, their attention will be drawn firmly to God’s provision in Matthew 6:33. What will be the response? What will be the excuse? And at that time, it may be too late for many.
But today, we can still make amends. The Christianity that is common in our days is fake and vain. This is why the power and glory of the Kingdom is barely manifest in our midst. This is why the world does not see us radiating the glory and wisdom of Christ. We are carrying an empty can of religion – like the rich, young ruler. Like the church in Laodicea.
Believers that genuinely want to see Jesus on the Last day, and dwell with Him in all eternity, will do well to begin to DISCONNECT from the false Christianity of today, and begin to seek Christ afresh. Till today, the grace of God is still freely available to all those that wish to make the pursuit of God the primary focus of their lives. THIS FREE GIFT IS COSTLY, but the grace of God is available to see the diligent seeker through.
It can be done! Some human beings like us have done it before. A few that know the value of the Kingdom are still doing it today. So, there will be no excuse. ONE DAY, it may be too late to start seeking the Kingdom. But TODAY, the opportunity is still there.
Please take it. And the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all as we re-dedicate our lives to seeking His Kingdom of glory and majesty. Amen.