“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”(Mattthew 6:33)
Christians often say, “I am the part of God’s kingdom, and I am a child of God.” We also use the expression “I hope God’s kingdom will come here.” Moreover, it is common to hang the scripture Matthew 6:33 at work or home. Are you the people of God’s kingdom? Or are you living a life of seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness? If so, what does “the Kingdom of God” look like and where is it? Only when we know properly about “the Kingdom of God” can our faith be directed toward God.
Some people say that “the Kingdom of God” is “the Kingdom of Heaven.” What do you think? Isn’t this world we live in “the Kingdom of God”? Some people limit the kingdom of God to a “church.” Well, isn’t the world outside the church God’s kingdom? There have been a lot of discussions theologically. These two ideas seem close to the truth, but these are not enough to be the truth. The first idea, the idea is that the Kingdom of God is only the Kingdom of Heaven, conflicts with the truth that God creates and operates this world. Also, we can see in our history how the second idea that limited the kingdom of God to only churches affected the Middle Ages.
So, what is the definition of “the Kingdom of God” in the Bible? Pastor Martin Lloyd Johnson defines it as “the place where God rules” in [The Church and The Last Things]. In other words, both heaven and the church are parts of God’s kingdom, and everywhere God operates is defined as God’s kingdom. Looking at the Bible, Luke 17:20, when asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” In addition, Matthew 12:28 says, ” But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” In other words, if Jesus expels the spirit of evil in us with the Holy Spirit, God’s rule is established there, so it is declared that it is already God’s kingdom. Colossians 1:13 also explains this part. To clarify again, “the Kingdom of God” is where God’s rule takes place, and all universes, including heaven, churches, and the world outside the church, are included in the kingdom of God.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,”(Colossians 1:13)
Then why did Jesus mention our intrinsic part to explain “the Kingdom of God”? The reason can be seen through [the Holy War by John Bunyan] as it expresses the conflict in the spiritual realm of humans as a kingdom of soul. God is the one who creates and governs all this world. Among the creations God has created, humans are the only ones who choose to have a relationship with God by free will. Of course, leaving behind a deeper discussion of the choice, the part that does not follow God’s rule in the world built by God is the area of Satan and the people who reject God. In all but these two areas, the world unconditionally follows God’s rule and operates, so it is the realm of God’s kingdom. Also, he says that the two areas excluded from the kingdom of God are not physical areas, but spiritual areas, which are invisible to the eyes, but separated.
Going back to the beginning, are you living as God’s people in “the Kingdom of God”? In other words, does the kingdom of God come upon you? As mentioned above, the definition of “God’s kingdom” is where God rules. But if we are living in our own will, not in God’s will, we cannot say that God’s kingdom has fully come upon us. We often recognize the word “governance and authority” as a word expressing a very oppressive and uncomfortable state. Moreover, if we are advised to “live within God’s rule and authority,” we often go our way, refuting that this is not a desirable religion. Perhaps most people misunderstand the meaning of the words “governance and authority” because they have experienced incomplete human governance and authority. In addition, many churches explain the governance and authority of God’s kingdom as the form of unconditional obedience to pastors and spiritual leaders, so it may have caused misunderstanding as a negative effect. However, we Christians must live differently from the Israeli people who asked God to set one of them as king even though he is already the perfect king to us. The God we believe in is the creator of the world, the absolute righteousness (Psalms 33:5), and the God who surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7) and who gave his son for us with the absolute love (Romans 8:32, John 3:16), and such God is our king. Moreover, he is not an oppressive ruler, but the God who respects our free will (John 1:12). What do you think? Do you still feel frustrated by the expression “God’s rule and authority”? However, if you think about the meaning of the Bible, it may be the choice to escape the fear of uncertainty with your will and enjoy true freedom.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”(John 1:12)
Now in summary, the expression “Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness ” or “God’s kingdom has come upon me” means that I seek God’s will and live according to his will, not my will in life. This life is the appearance of obedience in the Bible and the appearance of children in the kingdom of God. Wherever we are, I hope we can all clearly understand the meaning of “the Kingdom of God,” live as children of God’s Kingdom, and enjoy and share the true freedom God gives us.