As we journey with God in this life, I know this is a question that many believers grapple with. In Church circles we so often use the term Kingdom-minded. Do we really understand what it means?
I believe it is much bigger than my small-minded self, yet it is a great adventure to discover this truth. Christ Himself said that we should first seek the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 6:33 it states: “but seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you”. We thus have to be Kingdom-minded.
Christ didn’t say to seek salvation or healing or freedom, nor riches or anointing or a calling. All of these are important, yet He commands us to seek something different: the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It seems that once we obtain this the other things will fall into place. And He says to SEEK it.
You can only seek something if you know it is lost. When you realize it is lost, you will only look for it if it is of value. The size of the value will determine the passion with which you seek the lost object. Now let’s be honest, when we glance at the general condition of Christians, we do not find many people seeking this specific object. Christians are busy seeking many other things. This includes happiness, purpose, riches, power, acceptance, public standing, and so on. Yet this is not in line with Christ’s command.
He goes on to say; “seek it FIRST”. Now, if the Lord of all creation tells you to do something FIRST, I think that should become our life priority. First things first is an English saying which is true in this very matter. How many Christians are seeking the Kingdom first? How many Christians are Kingdom-minded?
Let’s return then to the question; “What is the Kingdom of God and His righteousness?” Maybe if we understand this and realize we have lost it, it could become our life priority again.
So, this is my discovery thus far. It is open to change and correction as I grow in the Lord.
The Kingdom is not the Church
One thing that I discovered is that the Kingdom is not the church; at least the way we see the church. As I tested this understanding, I realized that most people understand the term “church” as the building or place of worship. They see it as a place to gather, usually on a Sunday, to hear a sermon, to fellowship, be baptized, grow spiritually, give a tithe and offering to and so on. Once again, these are important activities to understand, yet not Kingdom.
The word translated church comes from the Latin German background of “Kerke”, which means temple shrine or circular enclosure. Thus much of our understanding of the word church is correct, but does it relate to the Greek word Jesus used in Matthew 16:18? Christ used the word “Ekklesia” in the Greek. It means a gathering of citizens from their homes to a public place, an assembly of people for the purpose of deliberating, called-out ones, the sense of governance or assembly of Israelites. So, attending church just not mean that we are Kingdom-minded.
This word seems to be more in line with the Hebrew word “mamlakah“. It means Kingdom or nation rather than just a synagogue or place of gathering.
What I found is that God is interested in all of His creation and its restoration. His interest is not just to get me saved and going to heaven. I can best describe this through some key principles that I came to understand:
- A King owns a territory or country called a kingdom. He influences the kingdom through His will, power, culture, and laws.
- God called me to become a citizen of the nation of heaven, called the Kingdom of God. The process is to accept the Lord Jesus as my Savior. He obtained grace from the Father and extended that grace to me as a sinner through mercy. In church the preacher and teachers teach us to be born again and ready to go to heaven.
- God planted the earth as a colony from heaven. The concept of a colony means that it is supposedly an exact replica of the original. God placed man on earth as ambassador or manager of His extended territory. The purpose is to influence it with the will, power, culture, and laws of the original kingdom or nation.
- When Adam sinned, it was a declaration of independence of the colony from the mother nation or kingdom. Thus the process of restoration is not simply to get people saved and back to heaven. It is to restore citizenship to people in rebellion to the King. Once restored to citizenship, it is to bring the colony back into line with the original purpose of the King in will, power, culture, and laws.
- In a Kingdom, the King is Lord and hence owns everything. This concept is very different from the capitalistic worldview in which we live where everyone is trying to gather as much as possible for themselves. If the King owns everything, you as citizen gain the right via relationship to have access to the property. When you state that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, you declare that He owns your life.
- In a kingdom, the King is directly responsible for the well-being of the citizens as well as the country and the economy because this reflects his Rulership.
- As a citizen, you live by the principle of access. Free citizens have access to the kingdom’s economy: to participate in it, to have access to the healthcare system of the king, to have access to the King’s resources, to have access to the education and teaching of the King’s education system and tutor, the Holy Spirit . The intention is to use it for the purposes designed by the King for his nation.
- In a kingdom the word of the King is law. This is a challenge for the modern-day Christian. Because so many people live in democracies, people have learned that they can vote for their own beliefs as laws. In the kingdom, the laws of the King are not open for discussion. But because God is love, according to 1 John 3, our King has made laws that are good for the citizens to grow a healthy nation.
- A kingdom also functions on the principle of commonwealth. This means that the King and the citizens that are in favour share the wealth commonly among one another for the common good of the people. There is no selfishness, but they see wealth as a tool to serve the wider community and citizenry.
- A kingdom is a holistic nation. It is not just a single place of worship. The King has an interest in every aspect of society. Herein is a big difference with the common understanding of the church. In the kingdom, the citizens take leadership and management responsibility in every sphere of society. The purpose is to realize the King’s will, power, culture, and laws. We cannot leave it to a few individuals with gifts in a certain area for one day of the week.
When one considers the above 10 principles, one realizes how far the church, as we know it, falls short of living these principles. We need to start living with this big picture in mind and focusing on being Kingdom-minded in our lives. Jesus’ first message after His baptism in Matt 4:17 was to repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. He preached this message: The Kingdom.
Land vs World
Another concept to understand is that God always owned the land, Greek Terra. Ps 25:1 states that the whole is the Lord’s, yet in John 3:16 He states that God loved the world (Greek Kosmos) that he gave His son. The word Cosmos is different from Terra in that it speaks to all the systems and structures on the earth including the people. One can derive that God loves education, economy, agriculture, church and family, government, healthcare, etc.
In my passion for Christ-centred education, I believe that we need to rethink what it means to be Kingdom-minded. Better yet, we need to rethink how to set our minds and thinking capacities on Kingdom principles, implement them and live by them.