SEEK GOD'S KINGDOM FIRST

ONE OF CHRIST JESUS' best-known sayings is, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). This profound and remarkable statement is Jesus' fundamental instruction on how human needs are met.

People are always in need and seeking something. They need and seek housing, food, clothing, transportation, companionship, employment, and health, to mention just a few things. Because God is unchanging Principle and Love, it's right for all creation to have not only abundant good, but reliable good. As the Bible's book of James assures, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (1:17).

Christian Science presents the divinely scientific fact that as God's reflection of Himself, His image, we already have all that divine Love gives. We can no more lack something necessary to our well-being than we can lack God's love. Consequently, it's natural to affirm in prayer our spiritual completeness and oneness with God. And in this way, we can prove that what's true in heaven is also true on earth, as Jesus indicated in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).

Jesus is often quoted as saying, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God . . . and all these things shall be added unto you." But omitting "and his righteousness" actually makes the statement less than truly Christian. Without pure motives—without a pure heart seeking and yearning for God's righteousness—we're just asking to get something. But the fullness of his statement indicates a heart moved by selfless and unconditional giving that says, "Dear God, I'm completely Yours. Use me in Your way. Help me to express Your pure and perfect being."

When people view themselves as limited, unfulfilled mortals instead of as children of God, they become prone to looking to matter rather than to Spirit for their needs. But everything good belongs to divine Love. We belong to divine Love. God created us, cares for us eternally, and meets our every need. "Divine Love," Mary Baker Eddy explained, "always has met and always will meet every human need" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494). That's really a lot like saying that we must seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness in order to have what we need, because divine Love is the wellspring that meets all those needs.

Then just what is this kingdom of God from which the blessings of divine Love abundantly flow to us? It's divine, not human, consciousness. It's God knowing His own infinitude—the realm of perfect harmony and wholeness under the government of the divine Mind; the reign of the infinite Being, which was revealed to Moses as "I AM."

The I AM is total, supreme, infinite All—universal good. God's "kingdom" is His consciousness of Himself, the consciousness of everything that's good—including all creation, all ideas, from the slightest to the greatest—and there's nothing beyond or outside of God's allness for Him to know. And God, universal divine Love, constantly cares for His own kingdom.

Everything that God is conscious of, His creation is conscious of. The first chapter of Genesis says that Spirit made man in His own image, to reflect Him or be like Him—to know what He knows. Jesus said, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). To be conscious of what divine Mind is conscious of is to have the kingdom of God within us.

We can no more lack something necessary to our well-being than we can lack God's love.

When I was a young boy, kaleidoscopes fascinated me. I'd look into a tube, turn it, and see countless multicolored forms taking on myriad shapes and combinations. That became a metaphor for me of the many varied ways in which Mind expresses its own infinite individuality. And over the years, I've grown to see that the sons and daughters of God reflect within themselves this infinite individuality. By reflection, each of us actually includes the kingdom of heaven in individual consciousness. Each child of God expresses the one divine individuality and identity, and is directly linked to Him.

Jesus' virgin birth thoroughly proved the reality of reflection by showing his complete unity with God. He was spiritually conceived. But his great mission was to show everybody how to become the sons and daughters of God (because that's what they already are), how to prove their own unity with Spirit. He came to save the whole world from the fundamental sin of believing we're separated from God and all of God's goodness—separated from Him by the belief of life and intelligence in matter. He showed mankind that the way to individual salvation is through following his example and emulating his works.

Jesus knew the I AM as his Father, the creator and knower of all. And the effect of God's self-knowing is the Christ, which Jesus so fully represented. The activity of God's self-knowing is law, divine Science. As the operation of divine Principle, Science holds every element of Principle's creation in harmony with itself and with every idea.

Mrs. Eddy shed further light on this core fact of spiritual creation: "Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe" (Science and Health, pp. 465-466). Each reflected being results from the self-contemplation of the one divine Being.

The truth of individual and collective reflection has immense importance for the world. Nations fight over lack of food, space, and opportunity. People turn to crime because of want, lust, and greed. Terrorists seek to dominate and control others. Prayer that's based on knowing that the kingdom of God and His righteousness—His goodness, abundance, love, and care—is included in each individual consciousness everywhere, mitigates the fundamental causes of war, crime, and terror. It opens the way to experience divine law operating in human affairs.

This law of God, divine Science, uncovers and removes warring elements, and harmonizes people, governments, and even the environment.

Given the world's problems—including abject poverty and starvation—it will take earnest, selfless, and clear prayerful effort to meet those needs. Mrs. Eddy heard humanity's cry for aid: "From the interior of Africa to the utmost parts of the earth, the sick and the heavenly homesick or hungry hearts are calling on me for help, and I am helping them" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 147). She helped humanity through the spiritual realization of true being, and of God as the Giver of all good, the mothering Love that nourishes all its creation. In an article called "Angels," she wrote, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 307).

God, being Spirit, doesn't give material things, so how are needs supplied? What does one need to ask for in prayer? As divine Mind, God freely gives us His ideas, His knowing. Then, these ideas take various forms—such as intelligent programs, unselfish aid, governmental cooperation, and whatever practical things are needed to meet the specific human need.

The cause/effect relationship between God's abundant supply and the meeting of human needs occurs as coincidence, or the coming together of the spiritual fact and human experience, and it's absolutely vital to one's welfare. A spiritual idea clearly understood can't be separated from its practical expression in our daily life. Science and Health explains that "a spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive" (p. 463). "A spiritual idea has not a single element of error" expresses the law of perfection, while "and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive" shows the effect of that law. The effects of spiritual knowing are seen in the "daily supplies," the blessings that are added to us.

We have the Master's assurance that if we seek the kingdom, we'll find it! But we need to know ourselves spiritually, put off unrighteousness—selfish, impure, willful thinking and acting—in order to purify and renovate our thoughts, acts, motives, and desires. This requires prayer, spiritual listening, discipline—and above all, an overflowing love for God and humanity. Everything needed for our individual fulfillment and salvation is added to us as the effect of seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

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