The question still remains as to what are the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Greek word for kingdom is basileia, which denotes the territory subject to the king’s dominion. The English word kingdom is the shortened version of just that—the king’s dominion. Are we to spend our lives in expanding the territorial property of God? Though there have been mistaken Christian interpretations of this verse, we are not called to expand the enterprise of the church through acquisition and procurement. After all, the psalmist says of God, “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness, You have founded them” (Psalm 89:11).

Then what is implied with seeking the territory of heaven? God is not in need of land as much as He is in need of the hearts of humanity. “ ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you’ ” (Luke 17:20, 21). Romans 14:17 says, “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Making God first, last, and best involves putting soul-winning motivations above personal ones in our decision making. When choosing elective classes for our degrees, we should have an evangelistic eye to see where we can expand the kingdom of God, rather than the expansion of something else. When choosing a house to live in, it is the mind of expanding God’s kingdom into hearts that should motivate us rather than equity, mortgage rates, and resale value. The ultimate reason for raising our children should be for their salvation as well as the training of new soul-winners for the kingdom rather than just mere biological and sociological dynamics. Choosing an occupation should involve strategizing the most evangelistic potential rather than annual income and career building.

Not only does Christ mention the expansion of the kingdom of God, but He also equates with it the reproduction of His character, or His righteousness, in us. Whatever we decide to do, we should ask, will it develop Christ’s character in us? Will it facilitate the production of the fruit of the Spirit in me? Will I be able to share my Lord and Savior’s spirit with those around me?

Most Christians know exactly how they want to live their lives and want God to bless them to achieve that. But God’s vision is much larger: He knows how He wants us to live and wants us to bless Him to achieve it.