Are you in need? What does that even mean? I’m sure it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I know I’ve said that before: “We’re in need of ______” fill in the blank. But what is need? What does it mean to need something? These are some of the thoughts I’ve been walking through lately, and I’d like to invite you along for the ride. So, I’ve prepared a series of posts on need. I think, though, that when we’re said and done, we’ll find that these posts were really about what (hopefully) all of our posts are about: Jesus Christ.
I’d like to start by looking at need as it relates to the Kingdom of God, as mentioned by the Word of God Himself in Matthew 6. Jesus specifically addresses two needs: nourishment and clothing.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” ~ Matt. 6:25
Food and drink – a couple of pretty important things for survival, right? The same holds true in the Kingdom of God. Witness Lee called those of us in Christ “kingdom people”. As kingdom people, we are not to worry about even these basic needs.
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” ~ Matt. 6:26-27
Let’s go a little deeper into how the Father feeds His kingdom people. What makes us kingdom people in the first place? Well, to begin with, we are in the all-inclusive Christ, who is the kingdom of God. As such, we are then filled with the Holy Spirit or indwelled by the very life of Christ. As such, we have the divine life of the Father as our strength, and He is the One who cares for our material need. God, who brought us into existence in the first place (our anxiety did not), is our source of strength and supply. We are well cared for.
More specifically, with what are we fed in this kingdom? Let’s go again to the Word Himself and see what He has to say about it in John.
- 4:7-14 – Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that He has living water to give, and in verse 14 He says, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thrist; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
- 6:26-29 – Jesus tells the people to work for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give. He then says that the work of God to obtain this food is to believe in Him whom God has sent.
- 6:30-35 – Jesus tells the people who have been asking for a sign like the manna in the wilderness that His Father was the One who gave that bread and gives the true bread from heaven, the bread that comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. When they asked for this true bread, Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”
- 6:48-58 – Jesus tells the Jews who have been grumbling about what He’s already said that He is the bread of life (v. 48), He is the living bread that came down out of heaven (v. 51), and the bread that He gives for the life of the world is His own flesh (v. 51). This really puts the Jews in a tizzy, and Jesus tells them quite plainly, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (v. 53)
Therefore, the food and drink in the Kingdom of God is Christ Himself. We eat and drink of Him. The Father gives Him freely to His kingdom people, and we have no cause for want or weakness. Christ is our nourishment.
Clothing is another pretty basic need, even in the Kingdom of God. Again, Jesus asks us why we are so worried about it.
“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” ~ Matt. 6:28-30
So, as kingdom people, what do we wear? What is the garb of this Kingdom of God? I believe the apostle Paul can help with this one.
- Romans 13:14 – Paul says to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” In other words, we live by Christ (Gal. 2:20), we live out Christ (Phil. 1:21), and we thus magnify Christ (Phil. 1:20).
- Ephesians 4:22-24 – Paul says to “put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteosness and holiness of truth.” (V. 24) This new man is the likeness of God, or according to God. We take of our old garment, the old self or man, and we put on the new man – Jesus Christ.
- Colossians 3:1-11 – Paul again says to put on the new self, or man. This new man has characteristics that are completely other than our old man. This new man is a person – Jesus Christ.
We could go on and on with many different things Paul says to put on, but they all point back to one person – Jesus Christ. Christ is the embodiment of the full armor of God (Eph. 6), the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5), love (1 Cor. 13), faith (Heb. 11), hope (Rom. 8), and any other thing you wish to separate from Him. Therefore, Christ is our clothing in the Kingdom of God. We wear Christ. Again, the Father gives Him freely to His kingdom people so we have no want for what to wear. Christ is the nature of the Kingdom of God. Christ is our clothing.
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~ Matt. 6:31-33
If we are kingdom people, then let us live as kingdom people. Let us not be concerned with what we will eat or drink, or with what we will wear. We have a heavenly Father who called us and chose us to be in this kingdom, and He will provide everything we need for living in it. All we “need” to do is continually seek His kingdom and His righteousness (both Christ), and He will not only give us all of that, but all that we need will be added to us. Amen.