|Luke 12:22-33 |
22 And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I say to you, take no thought for your life, what you will eat; or for your body, what you will put on.
23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes.
24 Consider the ravens. They neither sow nor reap, neither do they have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds?
25 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?
26 If then you are not able to do this small thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 Consider the lilies how they grow. They do not toil, nor spin; and yet I say to you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then, this is how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?
29 And do not seek what you will eat or what you will drink; nor have a doubtful mind.
30 For the [Gentile] nations of the world seek after all these things, and your Father knows that you have need of these.
31 But rather, seek [as your first priority] the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be given to you.3 [To seek the Kingdom is supposed to be the highest priority of your life, Mat 6:33 — more than your efforts to provide money, food, drink, clothing, etc. Seek first the kingdom, which is peace, righteousness, and joy in the Spirit. Rom 14:17. To do so, in many scriptures, he told us, "Come to me;" come — not to sect services that claim He is in their building, not to prayer meetings, not to altar calls, not to read the Bible; Jesus even said that studying the scriptures is not coming to Him. John 5:39-40. We must go directly to Him; he told us us how to seek Him, the one thing that is needed: to sit at His feet and listen to His words that he speaks to us, Luke 10:39-42. We sit by waiting in humble silence, listening, and watching while thinking of the name of Jesus; when we hear Him speak to us and then obey, we are following Jesus. From the Word of the Lord within: "You can live in heaven and still walk the earth. Seek first the kingdom, and all else will be provided — provided you stay on course. He told us it was not enough to seek God, we must seek with all our heart and soul. Come to me, and I will guide the meek and lowly. God is not found going to services or reading about him. There is only one thing needful. Hear me, my children. Come to me, and I will speak to your souls. O seek the Lord you mighty, while you still have strength."]
32 Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor; provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
3 Therefore I say to you, take no thought for your life, what you will eat; or for your body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. And do not seek what you will eat or what you will drink; nor have a doubtful mind. For the [Gentile] nations of the world seek after all these things, and your Father knows that you have need of these. But rather, seek [as your first priority] the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be given to you.
This is the commanded first priority of life, to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Jesus said: Do not labor for food that perishes, but for the food that endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you; for God the Father has authorized and certified him with his seal... It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing... Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes [depends on, trusts, obeys] on me has everlasting life. I am that bread of life...The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, Mat 4:4. From the Word of the Lord within: "Seek first the kingdom, and all else will be provided — provided you stay on course."
In his sermon early Quaker Stephen Crisp, who dwelled in the kingdom, testified that in one day under the government of Christ, (in the kingdom), one has more joy, pleasure, and delight than a thousand days outside it.
Where is this Kingdom you are commanded to seek? Now when he was questioned by the Pharisees, as to when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with outward signs to be observed. Nor will they say, 'Look here!' or, 'Look over there!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you and around you." Luke 17:20-21. And God is in you too: One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Eph 4:6. God .. is not far from every one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, (Acts 17:27-28) - but we are not aware of his presence until we seek and find him, because we are in a lower physical dimension. And Christ is in you too: Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Col 1:27...Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you— unless you are reprobates [tested, rejected]? 2 Cor 13:5.
Now the question is, how? It is not reading the Bible, it is not going to a sect building and listening to a preacher talk, it is not asking God for what you want. You must go to him. You must wait on him — in humble silence, the humility of a sinner in need of his changing power — grace. Wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. You must endure to the end, when Christ brings salvation. Seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deu 4:29.
From his Journal the following is George Fox's wonderfully inspiring, unparalleled Christian testimony of being translated into paradise and then the Kingdom:
"I saw also the mountains burning up, and the rubbish, and the rough, and crooked ways and places made smooth and plain,* that the Lord might come into his tabernacle. These things are to be found in man's heart; but to speak of these things being within, seemed strange to the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones. Yet the Lord said, ‘0h earth, hear the word of the Lord!'"
*Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth. Luke 3:5
"Now I came up in spirit, through the flaming sword,* into the paradise of God. All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. I knew nothing but pureness, innocence, and righteousness, being renewed up into the image of God by Christ Jesus; so that I came up to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell. The creation was open to me; and it was showed me how all things had their names given them, according to their nature and virtue. I was at a stand in my mind, whether I should practice medicine for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtues of the creatures were so opened to me by the Lord. But I was immediately taken up in spirit, to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam's in innocence, even into a state in Christ Jesus, that should never fall.** And the Lord showed me, that such as were faithful to him, in the power and light of Christ, should come up into that state in which Adam was before he fell; in which the admirable works of the creation, and the virtues of that may be known, through the openings of that divine word of wisdom and power by which they were made. Great things did the Lord lead me into, and wonderful depths were opened unto me, beyond what can by words be declared; but as people come into subjection to the spirit of God, and grow up in the image and power of the Almighty, they may receive the word of wisdom that opens all things, and come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being."
*So [God] drove out the man [Adam and Eve out of paradise, the Garden of Eden]; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep and guard the way to the tree of life. Gen 3:24
**There are two steps in perfection through the grace of Christ: 1st) to be raised up to the perfection of Adam and Eve in paradise, but still capable of falling to temptation, and 2nd) to be raised up to union with Christ Jesus, an everlasting perfection, which is incapable of falling to sin or temptation. Stephen Crisp, another eminent early Quaker, writes further of this two-step perfection:
For you know while the vessel is filled with wrath, envy, or with unrighteousness of any kind, such are not yet fit for the glory of God to shine forth in. When that is removed out by judgment; and Zion is set free from oppression, then the creature returns to God a pure vessel in the righteousness that was before the fall. So a man or woman may come to Adam's state that he was in before he fell, which was without sin. Against such the judgment of God does not go forth, but they have peace with God, and fellowship in what is pure, before sin and transgression were. Those who come to this state, may be entangled again; as was Eve, and if they do not watch, they may be entangled again; but if such are faithful to the power that redeemed them from the sin, and in the power resist the temptation, then such receive the seal of eternal life in Christ Jesus, who never fell, though he was tempted, and so come to an establishment in Him who never changes.
"Moreover, the Lord God let me see, when I was brought up into his image in righteousness and holiness, and into the state of the paradise of God how Adam was made a living soul; and also to the stature of Christ, the mystery that had been hid from ages and generations: which things are hard to be uttered, and cannot be borne by many. For of all the sects in Christendom (so called) that I discussed with, I found none that could bear to be told that anyone could spiritually grow to Adam's perfection, (that is into that image of God, and righteousness and holiness that Adam was in before he fell), to be clean, pure, and without sin as he was. Therefore, how would they be able to bear being told that any should spiritually grow up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; when it threatens them to hear that any shall come, while upon earth, into the same power and spirit that the prophets and apostles were in? Though it is an absolute truth, that none can understand the Apostle’s writings correctly without the same spirit by which they were written.
The Lord God opened to me by his invisible power, how that ‘every man was enlightened by the divine light of Christ.’ I saw it shine through all, and that they that believed in it came out of condemnation to the light of life, and became the children of it; but they that hated it and did not believe in it, were condemned by it, though they made a profession of Christ. This I saw in the pure openings of the light without the help of any man; neither did I then know where to find it in the scriptures; though afterwards, searching the scriptures, I found it. For I saw in that light and spirit which was before the scriptures were given forth, and which led the holy men of God to give them forth, that all must come to that spirit, if they would know God or Christ, or the scriptures correctly, which they that gave them forth were led and taught by."