Christians know that Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33). What priority does the kingdom of God have in your life? Many Christians seem okay with the idea of thinking, “Okay I have to seek God’s rule over my life first before anything else.” They like that idea because it’s difficult to measure and they can give themselves an easy pass by simply reminding themselves, “Nobody is perfect. And I’m saved by grace not by works. So, yeah I could do better but all is well.” In this mindset people can falsely convince themselves that they are seeking God’s kingdom first.
But that vague sense leaves out one prominent element of the kingdom of God – the Church. Yes God is king over the entire universe. But most of the world does not acknowledge His kingship because of the spirit of rebellion (Psalm 2:1-3; Luke 19:12). The Church is a new creation in the midst of the old rebellious creation which gladly acknowledges God as king.
If I say, “I can seek His kingdom first” without having to be part of the church, I may be showing a rebellious heart because if He is the king, He gets to set the conditions and definition of that Kingdom. And being part of the kingdom of God is being part of the local church. Colossians 1:13 says we have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son. Rev. 1:6 says He has “made us (the church) a kingdom”.
So, a tangible and measurable way in which I can determine if I am seeking God’s kingdom first and above all else is to examine my relationship with the body of believers known as the local church. If my local church family is not occupying much of my time during the course of a typical week, how is it that I can say I am seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness? If I am allowing my personal hobbies, and my business and my pursuit of worldly things get in my way of time with the church, how can I honestly say I am seeking God’s kingdom first? Does it have top priority in our lives or not?
Be careful not to look for loopholes! Don’t say, “Well, my spouse and children are in Christ – so that’s the church for me.” There is some truth in that but your church family should be wider than those who live under your roof. Make the body of Christ a top priority. It’s not just about you. You need the fellowship of others and they need you and your encouragement too.
He designed the church body to where we need others to help us grow and others need us in order to grow. In withholding fellowship we are robbing others (not to mention ourselves). But the even bigger issue is that it is an insult to God because He wants us to live in His kingdom with the other subjects of that kingdom – our brothers and sisters in Christ.