The Secret of Life
The secret of life is found in Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He (God) will give you everything you need.” Wait, don’t stop reading, it’s true. I know you’ve probably heard that before, especially if you are in the church world. But it’s the truth, it’s a wonderful, amazing, incomparably important truth, and if you will apply it to your life, you will have everything you could ever want. I don’t mean only material things, although those are included, I’m talking about peace, fulfillment, purpose, relationships, hope, passion, and everything that really matters in life. They, in their greatest expression, are only available to you in the Kingdom of God, and they are freely available.
The vast majority of the church world does not present God or life with God accurately. It’s just the sad truth. For most of us, even for those of us who are in great churches, our whole mental framework regarding God and living for God was so badly messed up by the religious teachings of our childhood that we still approach our Christianity that way, rather than the way it was meant to be. Christianity, including God and your union with Him through Jesus Christ, is the most wonderful, the most exciting, the most fascinating, the most liberating, simply the greatest, thing that exists. If you will see your loving God correctly, you will want to pursue His Kingdom and His righteousness. If you do that, then everything you could ever want is available to you. Let’s talk about it.
Again, the secret of life is “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He (God) will give you everything you need.” But I can’t just leave you there. Let me help you understand and let me help you begin. That statement is broad and deep and loaded with meaning and power. That is the secret of life. Let me help you embrace it and move forward. It’s not a moment’s decision, it is the invitation to a lifelong quest. It is to be the guiding light of our existence, our foundation, our cornerstone, our north star.
How could I encourage you to devote your life to God and His Kingdom? How could I show you that all you could ever want can be found with Him. I must first help you see the reality of God. The church world, for the most part, has painted the wrong picture of God. If you could see Him as He really is, if you could see the reality of His love for you, you would run to Him. You would give your life to Him. And He would welcome you, He would embrace you, and you would begin this awesome, never ending journey together. God is wonderful beyond words, beyond comparison, beyond understanding. He is worthy of your life’s devotion. The more you get to know Him, the easier it is to follow Him, to live for Him, because He is really is all that we could ever say about Him and more.
It is true parts of the Bible can be construed as depicting God as harsh, demanding, strict and vengeful, waiting to punish even the slightest disobedience. Even the people who talk about a loving God don’t deal with these issues correctly. But you must understand that God has no desire to punish anyone for any of the sins they have committed. God has no desire for us to experience any hardships in our life. God doesn’t even desire for us to reap the natural consequences of our bad decisions.
Whether you are churched or not you probably find those last statements hard to swallow. It’s because most of the world has not clearly grasped all that happened on the Cross of Jesus Christ, and all that is available to us now through Christ. God put every sin that would ever be committed on Jesus. God put every consequence of every sin that would ever be endured on Jesus. God then poured out His wrath against all of sin on Jesus, and Jesus was tortured, punished, killed and then sent to Hell where He suffered more.
God and Jesus did this for us! They did this so we would not have to be punished for our sins. They did this so that we could avoid the consequences of our sins. They did this so that we could have a perfect relationship with our perfect God and then live in eternity with Him in paradise. When you accept Christ, there is no more vengeance left for your sins, there is no more anger, there is no more punishment, there is only love. This is the relationship God wants to have with you, only love, a perfect, beautiful, wonderful love. When you, by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, come into this perfect relationship with God, you can begin knowing and experiencing Him correctly.
We do see God punish sinful people in the Bible. We do see God presenting laws and requirements. We could spend hours discussing all of this, but it’s really not necessary. Jesus obeyed all the rules perfectly. When we accept Jesus, God sees us as partaking in Jesus’ perfection. There is nothing left to earn, nothing to prove. All of God’s amazing blessings are available to us (a perfect relationship with Him being chief among them) and they are all available solely because of His mercy and grace to us.
Understanding these wonderful realities is paramount as you begin to seek the Kingdom. You don’t come into the Kingdom as the lowest slave, hoping to get something from the Master’s table. No! You come in as one of God’s beloved children, one of Jesus’ brothers and sisters, made perfect in the eyes of God, and called into an assignment with Him to expand the Kingdom.
The fact is that God has an amazing plan for your life, perfectly designed by Him for you, fitted perfectly to the person He created, with an entry open to you right this second, wherever you are, no matter what the rest of your life looks like. And God knows you, and God loves you so much, that His plan for you is constantly changing, constantly evolving, so that regardless of any decisions you have made, there is still an amazing, wonderful, perfect plan just for you that you can begin right now.
Look at these Bible verses that show how God really feels about us:
(Luke 12:7 NIV, Jesus speaking) “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
(Psalms 139:14-18 NLT) “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!”
(Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT) “And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Look at the unimaginable love that God has for us! Even the very hairs of your head are numbered. God loves you so much that He planned your whole life for you, just for you. Many of us haven’t followed that plan very well, but that’s ok. God still loves you and will help you get back on track starting right now. I love the Ephesians verse, it tells us that this love of Christ (the love for us from God and Jesus) can’t even be understood. We shouldn’t even try to understand how much they love us because they love us so much! When you see God as He really is, the more you perceive His love for you as it really is, the easier it is to seek Him and His Kingdom.
So let’s go on as if you are convinced, as if you are fully persuaded, that God is awesome and loves you and is worth your life’s devotion. What now? Now it is time to seek God’s Kingdom and God’s righteousness.
Let’s not make this too complicated, it doesn’t have to be. Another way we could say “kingdom” is “realm” or “area of dominion.” Yes God owns the earth and God is the supreme power of existence, but that’s not what it’s talking about when it says the “Kingdom of God.” It’s also not a physical kingdom, we can’t take a trip there. But in this reality that we know, God has a realm of power, a kingdom known as the Kingdom of God, and it is, in many ways, separate from the rest of existence, it is separated from the devil and his dominion. We need to understand this, and then we can understand seeking God’s Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God includes God (including God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit), all of God’s angels, and all of God’s people. It might include other things, but this is enough for now. God is the King and we are His children. Angels are like His servants and army. Together, we all make up God’s Kingdom. There is also an enemy dominion, the dominion of darkness.
The devil has a dominion in our reality. The devil has demons (fallen angels) and the devil has people. Unfortunately, the devil is the ruler of this period of time (2 Corinthians 4:4). That may be hard to accept or understand, but it’s the reality. The devil will continue to rule this period of time until Jesus returns. Every person who is not in the Kingdom of God is in the dominion of darkness. They are under the devil’s influence and authority. Every child that is born is born into the dominion of darkness. Even the systems of the world and human government systems are under the dominion of darkness. Again, that might be hard to accept, but it’s the truth. (See Ephesians 2:1-2, Colossians 1:13, Matthew 4:8-9)
The devil is not all-seeing, all knowing, and all-powerful like God is. The devil is really just another fallen angel and he has significant limitations, so I don’t want to overstate his power or authority in the world. However, the dominion of darkness is huge and encompasses many things, systems and people. The existence and power of the dominion of darkness is the reason there is so much evil in the world today. One day, when Jesus returns, He will destroy the dominion of darkness. But we aren’t there yet.
The primary objectives of the Kingdom of God are to glorify God and also to expand. The Kingdom of God expands every time another person accepts Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. But the Kingdom of God is not just about getting saved or getting other people saved. The Kingdom of God wants to expand God’s dominion into every area of existence and into every area of your life. As the Kingdom expands, so does God’s glory, in all of our hearts and in all of reality.
For example, while you may be a citizen or child of the Kingdom of God, your marriage may really not be subject to the Kingdom. You may not have subjected your body or your business to God’s dominion, as more examples. Where is God the King in your life? Is God truly the ruler of your marriage, of your business, of your entertainment?
God wants us to obey His directions in every area of our lives. God wants us to seek His realm, His influence, His wisdom, in everything we are and everything we do. But the moment I start talking about God’s desires for your life, you might feel negative emotions. Again, this goes back to our improper training in the ways of God. When you are a child you are basically taught that God doesn’t like certain things and if you do them God will punish you or you will experience negatives in your life. It is very true that if we make bad decisions then bad things can come into our lives. If I eat fast food every meal I won’t be very healthy. If I gamble then I might have financial problems. So on and so forth.
But this general philosophy where we avoid certain things for fear of consequences or punishment is the wrong paradigm in which to approach God’s directions. God’s directions are meant for us to live our best possible lives. Let me put it another way, an existence where every aspect of your life was brought into the Kingdom of God, lived according to God’s principles, would be the best possible existence.
Let’s use marriage as an example. God wants you to have a certain type of marital relationship because God designed your life (most of it) to be lived in one lifelong partnership with one member of the opposite sex. I’m not saying I understand every aspect of this, but God knows the best life I can have includes me being joined with one woman for my entire life. We are to have children together. We are to go through all of life together. We are to grow old together. This is a major key to my best possible existence and the plan of God for my life. There is a kind of relationship that only exists in a marriage according to the Biblical paradigm. There is a kind of relationship that only exists between a parent and children. These are wonderful and extremely important parts of the human experience God has designed for us. Multiple partners, same-sex relationships, and any other deviation from God’s design will result in a life less than God’s best. I realize that many people believe otherwise, but they are wrong. Yes, you could be loved by a person of the same sex, you could experience other aspects of the marriage relationship with a person of the same sex. But you will never experience all that God planned when He created marriage outside of a marriage in the Biblical model.
God’s hatred against sin is not just because of God’s rules that He developed for His own reasons. God hates sin because He alone can see all of the problems that it causes in our lives. He hates sin because He knows sin will get us off track in His perfect plans for us. The devil and the ungodly world systems (entertainment, for example) are the ones pushing us to sin, not because the devil likes us and wants us to have fun or because he really knows that God is hiding things good from us (the temptation used against Eve which he still uses today). No, the devil is pushing us to sin because he hates us and he wants to steal from us and destroy us, and he knows that sin is the best way he can mess up our lives.
All of God’s directions must be approached with this understanding. God’s directions, even if they don’t sound fun or do sound bizarre, were created out of God’s love and wisdom to help us live our best possible lives. When you understand this clearly, you will want to bring your entire life in line with God’s directions, with the principles of God’s Kingdom (love, mercy, holiness, etc.). You will want to do this not because you fear God’s wrath or negative consequences, but because you and God both want what is best for you, and in those directions alone can God’s best be found.
Now let’s go back to talking about other people. Not only do you want to help people get saved and come into this perfect relationship with God so they can avoid hell. But soon you will want to help people bring their lives in line with Kingdom principles so they can experience all God wants for them. This is why Christians develop all sorts of different ministries, marriage ministries, addiction recovery ministries, financial assistance ministries, and so on. We all have our different areas within the Kingdom. We are all called to be a witness for Jesus and bring others into the Kingdom. But we are also called to help others experience the Kingdom in their lives.
So let us now realize the amazing thing we are discovering. If I begin living for the Kingdom of God, truly seeking God’s Kingdom in every area of my life, I will begin living my best possible life. Furthermore, as I work with God to expand the Kingdom, I will begin helping other people do the same. And my friends, there is nothing like helping someone else experience more of the Kingdom of God.
The simple truth is that most humans have never experienced the joy that I’m describing here. When you help a person get saved and come into relationship with Jesus, when you help a person get their finances on track through Biblical principles, when you help a couple improve their marriage when they start praying and reading the Bible together, when you help expand the Kingdom into the lives of others, there is nothing that compares. I am addicted now. It’s all I really want to do. I pray for more opportunities to do this, and frankly I’m jealous (with a Godly jealousy, I hope) of others who spend all their time for the Kingdom.
But even now I am not bringing to you everything we could say. 1 Corinthians chapter 2 and Ephesians 2:10 talk about the plans God has for our lives. Living in the Kingdom is about your best possible life and your best possible relationship with God. But it’s not just about things that we might call spiritual activities. God wants to help you in every area of your life. God wants to help you pick your spouse, your job, your home, your church, everything. This is not because God wants to control you, rather God knows everything about you and God wants you to have those things which are perfect for you. Furthermore, and this is another topic really, God wants you to have many wonderful things that are beyond your personal ability to obtain. God wants to work together with you so that you can supernaturally obtain the best this world has for you, the best this world has for YOU.
But when you are living for the Kingdom, in a way everything becomes a spiritual activity. You bring God and the Kingdom into everything that you do. I am a real estate lawyer and I assist people with very sophisticated real estate transactions on a daily basis. I can’t tell you the number of times I have prayed for a deal to close smoothly, for favor with the other lawyers, or that some situation would work out. My primary clients are not Christians and so they may never understand just how God has blessed us and watched over hundreds and hundreds of successful transactions over the years. My law practice is me, God, and my computer. I see miracles all the time at work.
That’s just an example. We should be living in the supernatural in every area of our lives, seeing God’s hands, the influence of God’s Kingdom, on our homes, our families, our jobs, our bodies, every area. Again, when you are living in the Kingdom, everything can become a spiritual activity and every part of your life can be marked by the Kingdom of God. You can go through life seeing blessings, grace, favor and the miraculous in every area of your life. In every area you can live with God to see His best and to see wonderful things. Now we are living a new kind of life, now we are truly living the adventurous life that God has for us all.
This life was meant to be an adventure with God, every day. Life was never meant to be routine and boring, just going through motions and trying to get by. Life is supposed to be adventurous, exciting, changing, daring, passionate, fun, and all sorts of other wonderful adjectives. This kind of life is available when you are living for the Kingdom. This kind of life is available when you are seeking God and His Kingdom every day.
We must also seek God’s righteousness. Another way of saying “God’s righteousness” is God’s way of being and doing right. God is righteous, perfect, holy and good in every way. When we accept Jesus Christ we literally become partakers of the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is a wonderful reality, and it is an integral part of our relationship with God, our access to Him, and our bond with the Holy Spirit. However, this reality of righteousness that we obtain in the instant we accept Christ doesn’t negate our obligation to seek God’s righteousness. But seeking God’s righteousness is a wonderful, fun, and beautiful thing to do. It is not an unfortunate side obligation to our ticket to heaven.
Many of us were taught, as children, when we were so impressionable, that we were so far from God and that our sins created such a separation between us. Those things are true, and they are helpful when getting children saved. But then, once a child is saved, we must emphasize the exact opposite which is the child’s reality now. God is with you. God is for you. God loves you more than anyone can ever fathom. God has a great plan for your life. God will always be with you. God wants to talk to you and spend time with you and show you the best of everything this existence has to offer. Those are the child’s truths now, and we don’t even need to think about the way things used to be.
Teaching a person to become like God, or seek His righteousness, should no longer be taught like it’s an unobtainable objective, or a Sisyphean task (you try but you are guaranteed to keep failing and get nowhere as long as you live). It’s true, we may not ever live perfectly, but we can do really well. First of all humans were created to be exactly like God (Genesis 1). I know we lost a lot of that through sin, but we also get a lot of it back through Jesus Christ.
God’s righteousness, at least as a starting point, would by the highest and most perfect examples of all the fruits of the Spirit. God is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, good, and so on. God’s righteousness is the perfect expression of these ideals, it is also justice, fairness, equality, and unity. God is all of these, and these are all markers of His Kingdom. Through our relationship with the Holy Spirit (see my blog and podcast on becoming spiritual) we can begin exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives on a profound and consistent basis.
Through our relationship with the Holy Spirit we can absolutely seek God’s righteousness and begin living it in our daily lives, not just in some spiritual sense. Furthermore, as you grow this way, as you become more and more like God’s true character, you are becoming the best possible version of yourself. The great Christian author C.S. Lewis talked about this amazing phenomenon. While it’s true we are all working to become like the same God, we are in fact simultaneously becoming more and more unique and perfect versions of ourselves. We were created to be loving, kind, gentle, peaceful, etc. As we develop these traits (these fruits) we are becoming the person God created, without the taint of sin, without the effects that the dominion of darkness had on our lives.
Seeking the Kingdom in every area of your life will bring you into the best possible expression in every area of your life. Seeking God’s righteousness will bring you into the best possible expression of you, of the person you were created to be. And both of these endeavors will bring you closer and closer to the most loving and perfect God you could possible imagine, Who is your Father, your Champion, your Biggest Fan.
People get mad when Christians talk about God this way, like He’s just some kind of cheerleader. But He is, and He is far more than that. There is no perfect example of a human relationship that can depict the type of relationship God wants to have with us. He wants to be a perfect father, a perfect coach, a perfect war general (in our war against the dominion of darkness), our king, our financial advisor, our doctor, our best friend, our confident, our everything. And the more you get to know Him, the more you will want Him to be all of those and more in your life.
Furthermore, as you seek God, as you seek His Kingdom, and as you seek His righteousness you will amazingly, and wonderfully, be simultaneously be seeking all 3! There really are so many areas like this that just work themselves out, but that’s a topic for another day. When you start seeking God’s Kingdom, you quickly realize that prayer and your relationship with Him are a big part of that process. Where should you go to church? Where should you serve? Which friends should you tell about Jesus? Of course you could make these decisions without His input, but why do that when you have the Holy Spirit to guide you (1 Corinthians 2). Why go after any of this without relying on the Holy Spirit’s power inside of you (Acts 1:8).
Anyone really seeking the Kingdom almost assuredly has a solid relationship with God already, but let me just say that pursuing your personal relationship with God is a vital part of seeking the Kingdom. God is very concerned with our character, our personality and our development. God wants us to be experiencing and demonstrating His love. As we grow closer to Him, His love literally invades our lives and helps us become more loving to others. This is another huge reason why God puts His love into our hearts (Romans 5:5). God puts His love in our hearts, and draws us closer to Him, so we can show His love, really show Him, to this lost and dying world. Why? So that we can win the lost, so that we can work with God to see people brought out of the dominion of darkness and into God’s Kingdom.
And as you pursue God, as you develop into the person He created you to be so you can have your greatest impact for the Kingdom, you are also seeking His righteousness. To have your greatest impact for God’s Kingdom, you must let God mold you by His love and character into the highest expression of yourself, the version that walks with God and is growing in all the fruits of the Spirit. Seeking His righteousness is a major key to seeking His Kingdom, both in your life and in the lives of others.
A truly wonderful, amazing, adventurous life is available to you. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done, it is still true. Seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness is the secret of life. Yes, it’s the secret to having your physical needs met, as Jesus clearly set, but it is so much more. Seeking God and His Kingdom is the secret to finding the best possible life for YOU.
Even if I handed you a billion dollars I couldn’t give you your best possible life. Sure, you could have a lot of fun and nice material things. But only God knows the way that your unique humanity is supposed to interact with the universe and expand the Kingdom of God. You can only find that in God. Your relationship with God is the way to peace in every sense of the word. In God you can find peace between your spirit and soul, peace between your body and your mind, peace between yourself and the rest of the universe. Only in God can you truly find your place. And when you find your place, your purpose, you experience a joy greater than you have ever known, an unmatched joy that nothing else can provide.
Today I have written over 4,500 words on this subject. It wasn’t hard, it’s probably taken about four hours. I’m not sure how many people will read or hear this, but it brings me great joy just to produce this understanding and revelation God has given me. I know my primary job in life is to help other people in their relationships with God. I’m not sure about all the ways I’m supposed to do that, but at least I’m on the right track and that brings me peace and joy.
God is so wonderful, so amazing, so worthy of our eternal devotion, our eternal worship. I wish that I could find better words to express that reality to you. But truthfully there are no words that could do Him justice. You just have to experience Him for yourself. I miss it all the time. I fall short all the time. Still He is there. I still feel His love and encouragement to get up and keep going. I know the adventure and plans He has for me are still available, still ready and waiting for me to live them.
The more you know Him, the closer you get to Him, the more you will feel the same way. I pray you do better than I have done. I pray that you start seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness today, for I know that there you will find your greatest possible experience, you will find all you could ever want, and you will experience all of Him that a human can on this side of eternity. There is no greater level of existence.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”