Let’s begin by looking at Luke 17:20-21, “Now when He was demanded by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or ‘lo there!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU” (NJV). The NASB translates the words “within you” as “IN YOUR MIDST.” This is a big difference and we believe the context supports the latter rendering. Jesus was speaking to His enemies, the Pharisees, so He surely couldn’t tell them that “the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.” This would mean that they had, in their hearts, embraced the Lord Jesus as their Messiah, believing that He was the Son of David who would establish God’s kingdom on earth. The fact is they had rejected Him, along with the majority of the people of Israel. John 1:11 tells us, “He came to His own (people), and His own did not receive Him.” But their rejection of Him did not negate the truth that “the kingdom of God is IN YOUR MIDST,” for standing before them was the Messiah, the King of Israel, and He was offering them the kingdom if they would only repent of their sins and receive Him as their rightful king. Jesus had preached this message to them, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

Now let’s look at Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (NKJV). In the verses leading up to this (see verses 25-32) the Lord Jesus was telling those who professed to be His disciples not to worry about the things of this life (food, drink, and clothing). In verse 33 He comforts them by assuring them that “all these things” would be provided if they would concentrate on seeking the kingdom of God. Your question, “How can we seek the kingdom of God?” is answered indirectly in this passage, for it simply means to “seek God’s interests here on earth instead of our own interests.” This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work for a living in order to provide food, drink and clothing for ourselves and our family; it means that our FIRST PRIORITY should be to seek those things which will bring honor and glory to Christ, the One who will one day establish His kingdom here on earth. Even now, every believer is a part of Christ’s heavenly kingdom, as we see in Colossians 1:13, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (NASB).

In order to represent our King and bring glory to His Name we need to be occupied with Him WHERE HE IS. Colossians 3:1-2 states, “If then you were raised with Christ, SEEK THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE, WHERE CHRIST IS, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Again, every believer today is a part of Christ’s “heavenly kingdom” and in this passage we are being taught that we should be “heavenly-minded.” Instead of focusing on “earthly things” we need to be seeking and setting our minds ON THINGS ABOVE. If we are occupied with Christ in the glory we will naturally desire to please Him; His interests will become our interests. If we fail to fix our minds and hearts on Christ we will be occupied with our own interests (such as food, drink, clothing and a host of other TEMPORAL THINGS). Paul wrote of such a condition to the saints at Philippi, “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:21). Let us determine in our hearts to seek “the things which are of Christ Jesus” (like the salvation of lost sinners and the building of His people). If we do, we will surely be “seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (312.6) (DO)