SEEKING THE KINGDOM

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"SEEKING THE KINGDOM"
BY: WILLIAM T. A. OLUBIYI
From the beginning of recorded history all people have been searching for the same thing. They search for purpose and meaning and for everything to be perfect in their lives. Everybody wants to live in a perfect world, to have a life that is ideal. All knowledge that has ever been gained and all inventions that have ever been created happened because of man's desire to live in a better world. All progress is built on the search for a world that is flawless and supreme. Man is trying to find a world he can't explain so he keeps coming up with ideas that will give him hope that one day he will find what he's looking for. Man is not seeking for a religion but for a better life. The problem is he keeps failing and thus keeps searching. When he can't find what he's looking for he moves to a different city or country, he goes from job to job, and some even divorce their spouse and go look for another one. The search is in everybody's heart and many have gotten desperate enough to turn to religion to fill that void.

Submitted: May 17, 2017

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Submitted: May 17, 2017

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"SEEKING THE KINGDOM"
BY
WILLIAM T. A. OLUBIYI
 
From the beginning of recorded history all people have been searching for the same thing. They search for purpose and meaning and for everything to be perfect in their lives. Everybody wants to live in a perfect world, to have a life that is ideal. All knowledge that has ever been gained and all inventions that have ever been created happened because of man's desire to live in a better world. All progress is built on the search for a world that is flawless and supreme. Man is trying to find a world he can't explain so he keeps coming up with ideas that will give him hope that one day he will find what he's looking for. Man is not seeking for a religion but for a better life. The problem is he keeps failing and thus keeps searching. When he can't find what he's looking for he moves to a different city or country, he goes from job to job, and some even divorce their spouse and go look for another one. The search is in everybody's heart and many have gotten desperate enough to turn to religion to fill that void.
 
Most people don't go to God because they want a relationship with Him. They go to Him because He promised to give them a better life. He promised to give them eternal life, to pay all their bills, and to heal their diseases. Going to heaven is attractive to these people because they hate the world they are in. Suicide bombers are manipulated into becoming a murdering martyr because they are told they'll go to a better place. No person is looking for the do's and don't's of religion. They're searching for a perfect civil society, a world of equality and fairness, and a community of love and security. These people don't know where to find these things and, if the truth be told, they don't even know why they're searching in the first place. The spirit of man cannot search for what it's never had. You don't search for a lost shoe unless you had the shoe in the first place. Search implies previous possession and you can never miss what you never had. Somewhere in the heart of every human is the desire to go to a place where the spirit of man used to be.
 
Seven billion people are searching for something they cannot define that they lost. People get married hoping it's in the marriage. They join cults and street gangs hoping it is there. Something is telling them that somewhere there's got to be a place that's perfect. This search motivates all human behavior. Everything people do is an attempt to find something they lost. Unknown to them is the fact that their spirit is searching for the close relationship it had with God in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man. In other words, it is searching for the kingdom of God. Their spirit knows that everything they need is found in God's kingdom. Everything they're searching for is found in one place and, when they find the kingdom, they stop searching. People today have forgotten the world man used to live in but deep in their spirit is the memory of a perfect world. Jesus knows what you're looking for and this is why He said in John 14:14 (NLT), "But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."
 
The deepest passion in the heart of man is to recreate the lost world. To make that happen the Father sent Jesus to the earth to return to man that which was lost. The search for a perfect world is found in the person of Jesus. The angel Gabriel announced, "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:32,33). Jesus will manifest Himself and the kingdom of heaven in whatever heart He is in. When you ask Jesus into your heart, He brings the kingdom with Him. You partake of the kingdom when you say, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10). And then, as you grow in Him, God will give you an assignment to fulfill that will help bring the kingdom of God into the lives of other people. This will fill the void in their lives just as the void in your life was also filled. No longer do you live for yourself but now you labor for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
 
God has a specific plan and purpose for your life. He wants you to be abundantly blessed and He wants you to fulfill your destiny. He even tells you how to make these things happen. Jesus said in Matt. 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Most people get excited over the second half of this verse but don't realize these blessings won't happen until they first seek the kingdom of God. These people are waiting for God to move when in reality it is God who is waiting for them to move. God is waiting for people to seek His kingdom and in the same chapter Jesus tells you what and where His kingdom is. In what is known as the Lord's Prayer Jesus said to pray, "Your kingdom come. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10). The kingdom is where the King has dominion, therefore, God's kingdom is where His will is done. The YLT says, "Thy reign come: Thy will come to pass, as in heaven also on earth." To seek God's kingdom means to seek for His will to be done in your life.
 
A lot of people seek to make a good living but don't realize there is another way to live. You are to live by faith and this means you don't spend all your time and effort seeking for your needs to be met and your desires fulfilled. No, you need to seek the advancement of what God reigns over and, as you're doing that, He will add everything you need to live a good life. Jesus is telling you not to seek what the world is seeking after but to seek God's will to be done on the earth as it is in heaven, especially in your own life. God's dominion in your life is not automatic but only happens to the degree that you are yielding to Him. He's not going to make you do anything. You are to submit your life to God and help advance His kingdom instead of being like those who are selfishly asking God to build their kingdom. They're not interested in what God wants as long as they have a nice car in the garage and a big boat on the lake. They're seeking their own dreams instead of the specific plan God has for their life.
 
God's top priority is the advancement of His kingdom and this needs to be your top priority as well. The greatest challenge in life is the daily demand to choose what your priorities will be in the limited time you have on any given day. The scheme of the devil is to bring alternate priorities into your life that will distract you from your top priority. There will be a constant demand placed on you competing for your time and attention and you must learn to discern what things are important and what things are not. A truth you must always remember is that life was designed by God to be simple, not complicated. Some people spend way too much time deciding what clothes to wear each day. They don't understand that they're making life more difficult than what it's supposed to be. The key to living a simple life is to prioritize everything you do. You need to determine the order of dealing with things according to their relative importance.
 
Each day you have to organize your priorities and then you must discipline yourself to keep each one of them in order. The word "discipline" means 'self imposed restrictions' and is needed so you can achieve a desired goal. Self-discipline is how you govern your life according to the priorities you set for yourself. Life is too important not to have priorities and the key to a successful, fulfilled life is to identify the correct and right priorities. Don't spend five minutes with God and then take an hour deciding what shoes to wear. David said in Ps. 63:1, "O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water." Some people wake up and the first thing they want to do is eat. They have the wrong priorities. Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Everything else is second place. In everything you do, seek the influence of God in that area first. If you'll do that, Jesus said all of life's blessings would come seeking for you.
 
Keep life simple. Don't worry about food and clothes and a college education but rather seek first the kingdom of God. Too many people are working themselves to death and growing old too fast and when their life is over they have nothing to show for it. Other people will be spending the money they made and living in the houses they built. The legacy you should leave is that you spent your life seeking God's kingdom and leading other people to Christ. By doing this God said He would add everything else to your life. You don't have to work yourself into an early grave because when you take care of God's business, He will take care of your business. Prov. 19:22 says, "The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." The kingdom of God is God's number one priority and you must commit your life to the study, pursuit, and the understanding of His kingdom. You must do everything in your power to obey whatever makes it possible for you to be in right standing with Him.
 
Jesus said in Matt. 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." You need to be thirsty for right positioning with God. Thirst is a natural experience and does not have to be created inside your body. Thirst is automatic and Jesus is saying this should happen to you spiritually. If you're thirsty for God you don't approach Him casually. No, you draw near to Him with a passion that is so strong that it takes over your whole life like a thirst that needs to be quenched. A casual desire does not get God's attention. He knows everything and He knows if you're serious or not. You can't say you love God on Sunday and live like the devil the rest of the week. Instead, like a desperate child you must crave to be in the arms of your loving Heavenly Father. You must hunger and thirst to be in His presence and in right standing with Him. Be willing to do anything to have a place in His kingdom. Desire to be used by Him to make a positive difference in the life of someone else. Desire for His will to be done in your life just as it is in heaven.
 
How desperately do you want to please God? Jesus said in John 8:29, "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." If you will do the same thing then Ps. 84:11 was written to you, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly." Some people all they think about is food but Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34). The priorities of Jesus were in the proper order and, if yours are also, God will supply all your needs. Jesus was not concerned about food and drink, He was concerned about pleasing the Father. To be like Jesus you can't tread in the shallow waters of the kingdom. God wants you to launch out into the deep and make His kingdom your top priority. Forget about where your next meal will come from. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. God will then use you to mesmerize the earth because of all the good He will do in your life. How wonderful is that?
 
Luke 16:16 says, "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it." Seven billion people are trying to force their way into the kingdom and they're using a form of religion to do it. Religion doesn't work and that's why it's depressing for most people, including born again believers. People use religion thinking it will get them a new house and a new car. Their motivation is wrong and God knows it. They don't go to church to advance God's kingdom but rather that He would help them pay all their bills. Yes, if you'll seek first the kingdom, God will supply all your needs but you don't go to church because of those needs. You go to church to draw close to Him. Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship between God and people who make His kingdom their top priority. People who are religious are spiritually poor and hungry. They're searching for something and can't find it because they're looking in all the wrong places with the wrong motivation. The only solution to spiritual poverty is the kingdom of God, a kingdom that must be sought after in order to be found.
 
The Bible is not a book about religion, it's a book about a King and His kingdom. It's a book about His royal family and His desire to fill the earth with His presence. The King is a wonderful Father who has a plan for His children and His kingdom. This plan was revealed in Gen. 1:26 when God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Kingdoms are meant to expand but this won't happen if the only thing God's children want is fortune and fame. This is why Jesus said to seek first the expansion of God's kingdom. This is God's ultimate plan for all humanity. This is why you are here. You are to surrender your will to His will and by doing so you will be used to help manifest His kingdom and His will on earth as it is in heaven. This is what should be on your mind as soon as you wake up in the morning. You are called to be saints and were born for such a time as this.
 
The first words Jesus spoke when He began His earthly ministry are recorded in Matt. 4:17, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The word "repent" is the first word Jesus spoke and it refers to mental transformation. To repent means to change the way you've been conditioned to think, to change everything you've been taught by your culture and educational system. It means to turn around in your thinking for your thoughts determine what your life will be like. Prov. 23:7 says, "For as he thinks, so is he." To change your life, you've got to change your thought patterns. You've got to change the way you've been programmed to think. Why does Jesus want you to do this? Because the kingdom of heaven has arrived and you are part of that kingdom. This is why you can no longer think as the world thinks. God's thoughts must now become your thoughts. To your mind say, "Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter" 
(Ps. 24:9 NLT).
 
Kingdoms are to expand because the glory of a king is based on how much territory they rule over. Ps. 24:1 
(NLT) says, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him." The more territory a king controls, the greater his glory. God not only wants to rule over the unseen world but that which is seen as well. He created the physical universe so that His kingdom could expand beyond the gates of heaven. Is. 45:18 (AMP) says God "formed the earth and made it; He established it and did not create it to be a wasteland, but formed it to be inhabited." The NLT says, "He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos." God wants the glory of heaven to impact the earth with His nature and His glory. He wants the planet to be a colony of heaven, a place where He could expand His kingdom to a foreign territory. A colony is an extended territory of a kingdom that is filled with its culture. When a king colonizes you, he takes away your past history and replaces it with his history.
 
2 Cor. 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." A person who has been born again has been colonized. When Jesus becomes the Lord of your life, when He becomes your King, He takes away your past and gives you heaven's future. God's will becomes your will, His plan becomes your plan. You must learn the language of the King so you can understand Him and then be educated and transformed into His culture so you'll think like Him. Colonization is when the people in a foreign territory begin to act and think like the people in the kingdom. This is what Jesus was saying when He told you to pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. He wants earth to become just like heaven. Religion always talks about people going to heaven but Jesus talked about bringing heaven to the earth in the lives of those who make Him their King. This is why He told His disciples in Matt. 10:7, "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
 
When you become a kingdom citizen, God will literally teach you how to operate under the country of heaven even though you live in a foreign territory called earth. For this to happen Jesus says you must put forth much effort to study, pursue, and learn about God's way of doing things. Make this your top priority each and every day of your life. Jesus said that you are also to seek after His righteousness. This is a legal term and means to align yourself with the government which you live under. You are to seek first to get into the kingdom and then seek to maintain right standing in God's government. Jesus said if you would do these two things everything else would be added to your life. If you want to receive the benefits of the kingdom of God you must first get in the kingdom and stay aligned with its authority. This is why your righteousness is so important. You shall be filled with all of God's goodness when you hunger and thirst after righteousness.
 
When you come into the kingdom of God you have the responsibility to follow the laws of the kingdom. The Bible is the constitution of the kingdom of heaven and in it are the laws of God which you must be willing to obey at all times. When Adam disobeyed God he lost his place in the kingdom of God and became a shell of the person he once was. He became poor in spirit and so did every person born after him. The good news is that Jesus said in Matt. 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The void in the human spirit cannot be filled with religion, power, or money but only with the kingdom of heaven. Adam lost the kingdom but Jesus came to bring it back to man. He came to bring heaven back to earth. This is why He told you not to pray that you could leave and go to heaven but rather to pray that heaven could come to the planet. Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:15, "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one."
 
The original plan and motivation of God was to extend His heavenly kingdom on earth. He wanted to establish a kingdom in the seen world and, to make that happen, He created in His own image a family who would be just like Him. Adam and Eve were created to be His representatives on the earth and were to establish His kingdom here just as it was in heaven. It was never the plan of God to establish a religion. Religion is for people who are lost and before man fell there was no need for religion. Religion is man-made and comes from the root word that means 'to search.' It is man's attempt to find something they believe they lost. It was created by man to satisfy his hunger to find God. What is amazing is that God solved this problem for him. Instead of allowing man to spend his entire life trying to find Him, God made the decision to come to earth and discover man. Religious people haven't found what they're looking for and never will. What they need is a personal relationship with the One they walked away from, the One they abandoned. 
 
God is searching for sons and daughters who will be citizens in His kingdom and ambassadors for Him. Paul said in Phil. 3:20, "For our citizenship is in heaven" and 2 Cor. 5:20 says, "Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us." To be a son you must represent your Father, to be a citizen you must represent your country, and to be an ambassador you must represent your government. It was God's original intent to rule the seen world from the unseen realm of heaven through the unseen inner man of a person living in a seen body. The territory owned and controlled by a ruler is called his domain. A king together with his domain is called a kingdom. God's domain includes the seen and the unseen realm and His kingdom is the heart of what the Bible is all about. If you are born again you are in God's domain and were created to have dominion in a territory called earth. The reason you're here is to dominate this planet. Inside of you is a dominion spirit and a dominion mandate. You have been commissioned by God to rule and reign on this planet.
 
God created man in His image to have dominion over all the earth yet many are controlled by a plant that grows in the ground called a tobacco leaf. It is a sad day when a believer is controlled by a plant. Things that grow out of the ground are used to make illegal drugs and alcohol and many have succumbed to their addictive powers. Do not allow your life to be controlled by a cocoa plant or grape juice. Have more dignity than that. Do not be dominated by the thing you were created to dominate. You're not supposed to work for money, money is supposed to work for you. Poor people work for money and this is why they will always be poor. If you chase after money it will flee from you but if you'll send it out it will come looking for you. Take dominion over your life. God gave you this authority and you are to be a ruler in His kingdom. The earth is still the Lord's but He leased it to man when Adam was created. One day you will give an account to Him of what you did with it. Did you rule over it or did it rule over you? God takes this serious and so should you.
 
Ps. 115:16 says, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's; But the earth He has given to the children of men." You were born to rule this planet. People get high blood pressure and become ill when things on the earth control their lives. This is not how God planned it so their body is rebelling against what is taking place. When people get sick they then want to leave this planet and go to heaven but God doesn't want them there. Heaven is His territory and the earth is your territory. God wants you to stay here and rule and reign until your destiny is fulfilled. Never desire to go to heaven early. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the glories of heaven in the eternal future but for now you need to be where God wants you to be. This planet God has given to you and it is your responsibility to govern it. What happens here is your responsibility. God doesn't move until you move. This is why Jesus said in Matt. 18:18, "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
 
You can't bind and loose anything in heaven because that's not your territory. Jesus is saying that He can't do anything on earth without the permission and access through those God gave the authority to. Things that are wrong on the earth are happening because people are allowing them to happen. If you don't understand this then you won't understand what prayer is all about. Prayer is when you give God permission to move on the earth. You are the one who has the authority here and He needs your permission to interfere with what's happening on this planet. God wants to move in your life and this is why Luke 18:1 says "that men always ought to pray and not lose heart." You're not supposed to go to a prayer meeting, you're supposed to be one. You're supposed to pray at all times wherever you are at. You are to pray morning, noon, and night. God is saying that you better keep praying if you want Him to keep moving in your life. If you don't like what's happening in your life, then make arrangements with God to change things and this happens through prayer.
 
Prayer is when you do business with a government from which you are an ambassador. Prayer gives God access through your faith to come into the planet and change things for the better. You and God can do anything and you can change your life by understanding prayer and the kingdom principles of God. Dominion is a family affair and God created man because He wanted children who would share in His dominion. His plan is for Him to dominate heaven and for man to dominate earth. God is the King of kings (Rev. 19:16) and is the One who sets the standard for everything. The word "king" means 'to set a measure' and God created you to maintain His standard on earth. This is why you're here, to make sure everything on this planet is being maintained according to the standard of God. That's what being a king is all about. The responsibility of man is to make the earth look just like heaven. As a king on earth you have the same power and authority as the King in heaven, so much so that Jesus said you could do greater works than He did on the earth (John 14:12).
 
As a citizen of heaven you are to rise up and take your rightful place in the kingdom of God. Eph. 2:6 (AMP) says, "And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus." Religion puts you beneath Jesus but the Bible says you are seated with Him. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you (Rom. 8:11) and this means you have the same power and authority to rule on this planet just like God rules in heaven. You are who God says you are, not what some false religion says you should be. Remember this, you attract people who are just like you. If you want to know what type of person you are, check out the people who come around you. People will treat you the way you treat yourself and this is why you have to believe and act like you're the head and not the tail, above and not beneath (Deut. 28:13). In other words, rise up and be the king God created you to be.


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