In chapter 1 of the gospel of John, we read of two disciples of John the Baptist following Jesus (v 37). When Jesus realized this, He asked them, “What are you seeking?” (ESV) or “What do you want?” (NLT).
Later in His ministry, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His disciples, “…do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, …” (v 31, 33 ESV)
We who profess to be Jesus’ disciples should also take heed of this. Whether we are new disciples of Jesus or someone who has professed to have followed Him for decades, we should intentionally stop and allow the Holy Spirit to ask us this question, “What are you seeking?”. When we are anxious, entrenched in the question “What am I anxious about?” is essentially the question, “What am I seeking?”
Anxiety, a milder form of fear, is an emotion that is evoked when a potential loss is perceived. No one is immune to it. When we seek something apart from God to assuage anxiety, we are in some ways demonstrating a lack of faith in God’s faithfulness and His all-sufficiency. As we become more established in life, we may become less anxious about things in general. But we should be aware that this could be the result of building a material and emotional structure supported by wealth and people.
If God should want to take away part of or the entire support structure from under you (just as He did with Job and also to Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father), i.e. when Joseph was asked not to be afraid of marrying Mary), how much anxiety would that cause you? If anxiety increases in such situations, then the question comes around again, “What exactly are you seeking?”
Disciples of Jesus should instead “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”. What of His Kingdom should we seek? What is the Kingdom of God anyway? This promise was given by God to the exiled Israelites in Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT) as well – “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
I hope that you are as excited as I am, to explore the nature of His Kingdom in the Gospel of Matthew this year. As we seek and pursue with more certainty the things of His Kingdom, may we be filled more and more with the presence and peace of God.
By Dr Ong Kiat Hoe, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 26&27 January 2019)