Seek First the Kingdom of GodWritten by Stephen Kingery
In my life there has been much joy, pain, defeats, victories, and sin. Through all of this I have spent many years trying to be successful in my profession as well as a good father, husband, and member of a local congregation. I have been an officer in church for many years and have tried to be effective in that capacity as well.
A few years ago I came to realization that no matter how successful I am at any of those things which I have mentioned above, it is all for naught if I do not have a genuine relationship with God. So I began to pray and search God's word for answer. Jesus gave us answer, "But seek first kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
The conclusion which I arrived at, as a Christian trying to serve God and to do His will, is that we should seek God. This is single most important thing which we, as children of God, must do to show ourselves approved of God. Paul, in his epistle to Romans says, "I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)
Paul's admonition to Christians in Rome has a lot to do with yielding to Holy Spirit and being an instrument for God's service. But it also has a lot to do with seeking God, for he continues in verse two, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." How can we truly be transformed unless we seek God?
What does it mean to seek God, or how does one go about seeking God? To seek, as it is used in this capacity, means to beat a common path to something. Or, in other words, to constantly seek. It doesn't mean to seek, find, and have something. It does mean to do same thing over and over again, to constantly be seeking.
A few years ago my wife decided that she wanted a new lamp for living room. She knew just exactly where she was going to put it, but she didn't know exactly what kind of lamp she wanted. She spent many hours over a period of several months looking for (seeking) that perfect lamp for that one spot in living room. I heard her fretting over fact that she could not find a lamp she liked for those several months. Then one day she came home with a lamp. She announced that she had found lamp she wanted, she placed it on table, and I never heard another word about that lamp. She sought lamp, found it, and then had it. She probably didn't think much about it after that.
This is not what seeking God is all about. We cannot simply seek God, find Him, and then have Him. We can't put Him on a shelf somewhere and forget about Him. Paul, in his epistle to Colossians gives us some insight into what it means to seek God. He tells Colossians, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth." (Colossians 3:1,2) We need to set our minds on things above. In other words, we need to have God in forefront of our consciousness. As we meet problems in life, or as we make decisions, we need to be asking ourselves, "What would God have me do in this situation?" We need to throw off phoniness of "playing Christian," and be known as a person who seeks God.
There are many ways in which we seek God: through prayer, memorization of scripture, fasting, Bible study, attending worship services, communion service, listening to gospel music or taped sermons, meditating on God and His word, and sharing Christ with one another.
The book of Isaiah tells us that we should seek God while He is near, "Seek LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near." (Isaiah 55:6) Seeking God is also exercising our faith in Him. It is impossible to please God without faith. (See Hebrews 11:6) However, for many Christians, only time they make a conscience effort to seek God is when there is trouble, when they want something, or when they expect a blessing. This is not wholeheartedly seeking God.
So why don't people seek God? The answer is spelled out for us in fourth chapter of Deuteronomy in verses 25-28. Many of us have fallen into same trap as Israelites, we have set up for ourselves false gods. Some of our false gods are: money, job, family, things (cars, houses, etc.), sports, and pleasure. Do you serve any of these false gods, or perhaps others?
Sin in the Life of a ChristianWritten by Stephen Kingery
We know from reading Scriptures that Christ was without sin; there was no sin in His life. It was because of this fact that He was able to carry our sin to cross so that we can have forgiveness. It was through sinless life of Christ that it became possible that He was perfect sacrifice. God would accept nothing less than a perfect sacrifice for our sin. Therefore, we can know with assurance that because of Christ's death on cross we can have forgiveness of sin and look forward to life in eternity with our Heavenly Father.
In our monograph titled "A Scriptural Look at Sin" I discussed fact that we cannot overcome sin by ourselves. We can realize a victory over sin through strength of Jesus Christ. But how should a Christian live in relation to sin?
I think it is clear in Scriptures that we are expected to live a life apart from sin. Consider what Peter tells us in this passage, "For to this you were called, because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, Nor was guile found in His mouth'; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:21-24) It is clear that we are to follow in His steps; we are to live a life free of sin to best of our ability. When we fail to get rid of sin in our lives, we are not able to live in harmony with Word of God. Our relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit suffers because of it.
Let's explore a little further what happens to us when we become a Christian. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we have a deep regret for sin we have committed in times past. This regret and sorrow causes us to repent of those sins. "Repenting" is not merely saying that we are sorry for those sins. It is, on other hand, a deep regret which causes us to change way we live; to stop sinning!
The Bible speaks of this repenting as being "crucified" or as being "dead to sin." Consider these passages: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20); "And those who are Christ's have crucified flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24); "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1,2); "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:11). Being "dead to sin" or being "crucified with Christ" is same as saying that we have departed from sin, departed from a life of sinfulness. Paul says if quite well when he asks question, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" His response is emphatic; "Certainly not!" We, as Christian, need to recognize that if we are to live kind of life which is pleasing to God, sin must not be a part of our lives.
Our Christian walk should be one which is apart from sin. The Scriptures refer to us as "new creatures" and says that we are walking in "newness of life." "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) "Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from dead by glory of Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4) "Old things have passed away" - these "old things" are sins which we committed while still outside of salvation. "Behold, all things have become new" - "newness of life", opportunity to live apart from sin.
Is this merely an opportunity to live a life of sinlessness. No! It is much more than that. It is also a command that we should live a life apart from sin. Consider these passages: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2); "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1); "Abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22). These and other Scriptures clearly tell us that we are expected to live a life of holiness. We are expected to fight against sin in our lives and to win victory over sin and consequences that it has in our lives.