Posts Tagged Matthew 6: 33

Kingdom Living

Matthew 6: 33            GW

But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.

This quote from Matthew may be familiar to you but it takes on a different nuance when read from the God’s Word translation. It comes at the end of a talk Jesus gave on the birds of the air and flowers and how God meets the physical needs of all His creation.

God knows we need clothing, food and shelter so we really do not have to pray about those things in the first place. That is Jesus’ first point. If God clothes the flowers with such beauty and feeds all his creatures, will He not also care for you? We have become so smart and so independent that we get the idea it is up to us to meet our needs. No way! That’s God’s job and His delight.

You have probably heard the version that reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” The GW version essentially translates righteousness for us and also answers the question, “What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God?” Righteousness is not the holiness doctrine we sometimes make it out to be. Holiness is good, I am not arguing that but righteousness has more to do with right standing with God. Another way to think of it is doing things God’s way. The GW version points out that seeking God’s kingdom has to do with concerning ourselves with the things God is concerned about. Meeting our needs is not on that list. Those are automatic fulfillment orders for God. Frankly, our need fulfillment really isn’t even our business. So Jesus’ second order of business here is that we should set our sights on Kingdom business. We are to seek out God’s direction on what He would have us think about and work on just as if He is our boss. We seek to do the things God wants AND do them His way. That means we will have faith projects instead of works projects.

Many of us try to fulfill righteousness through works projects. It is also how we attempt to meet our own needs. As we seek God and His way of living, all those “things” we need are just automatic. They exist in His kingdom. So when we put them aside, focusing instead on Kingdom goals, God’s inverse logic takes over. We get all that is in the Kingdom, but we also get the things we need in the world even though we forego seeking them. Seek God, and all else will be added to you. And, may I say, don’t even bother Him with the mundane things of life. Sure, you want to tell Him what you want but focus 99.9% of your time with Him seeking His mind and His thoughts. He knows you need food, don’t waste your time together telling Him you need food. Ask Him, if you want, what food He wants to give you. He may surprise you, though, because He thinks differently than do we. He may begin talking about feeding you with His Word.

Seek God. Put your mind on what is going on in God’s Kingdom. Talk with Him about Kingdom goals. You will have fun and enjoy all the Kingdom benefits too.

One Thing

Luke 10: 40 – 42

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

I seem to come back to this verse every year or two. There is a gold mine here if we can unearth it.

I want to show you another translation as well. This is from the Passion translation. A friend of mine shared this translation with me. If you are not looking at it, you may want to. “The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”

The disciples were staying at Mary and Martha’s house. Martha was busy trying to serve everyone while her sister, Mary, parked herself at Jesus’ feet and listening to him. Martha was incensed that Mary was enjoying Jesus’ presence when there was so much work to be done. What did Jesus say, though? He honored Mary’s pursuit of the one thing, which is, of course, him.

The word for us today is that we need to do as Mary did, seek his presence, listen to his voice. All of the other stuff are just distractions which, like Martha, pull us away from Christ. I know I often get mentally wrapped up in all the things I think I need to do and all that is going on in my life. I have learned to write down the to’ do’s so that my mind can be free. I have also discovered that many of the things that seem important at the time don’t actually matter at all. Some of the things I fret about getting done would go unnoticed if I didn’t do them at all. The One Thing, the thing which is important, is seeking Jesus. It’s not just about spending time with him. Many of us translate that into reading our bibles which is possible to do without Christ. No, the one thing is seeking his face and actually spending time increasing in relationship with him.

Matthew 6: 33 reads, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The things, both material and non-material, which you need, are in him. He is the answer, so all answers are in him. Don’t seek the answers, seek him. When you do, you will have the answers. You will also find the material you need to build your dreams, take care of your family and give to others.

These are such simple verses, simplistic even. Yet, I think the wealth of revelation in them could radically change our lives if we could see the truth in them. There truly is only one thing which is important. When we set our hearts and minds on deepening our relationship with Jesus, when we seek his presence, then many of the other things take care of themselves. He is the power which fuels our day. Put the one thing in place and all the other things will fall into place.

The Cure for Anxiety

Matthew 6: 33

But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.

Many of us are familiar with Matthew 6: 33, but let us look back a little today. The New American Standard Bible has titles for many sections of scripture. This section is titled “The Cure for Anxiety.” I have verses highlighted in here as do many of you but today I wanted to attempt to look at it with new eyes. So I began reading right after the caption, which begins in verse 25. Of course, Jesus is speaking here so in my mind I translated that as, “Jesus is going to teach me how to be free of anxiety.” Alright, I will sign up for the class.

Jesus began to speak and for seven verses he attempts to reveal the Father’s mind and heart about our needs by showing us examples from nature. Jesus gives us picturesque examples so that in our minds eye we can visually follow what he is teaching in regards to anxiety. Then you hit verse 32. Allow me to quote it for you, “For all these things the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” I don’t know how many times I have read that verse but it stopped me in my tracks today. Without saying it aloud, Jesus declared that I was acting like the Gentiles. “Hey wait, I am not a Gentile. I am a child of the King. Why am I acting like them?” All of a sudden it felt like my worry and anxiety about the material things in my life was an insult to the goodness of God. What Jesus was actually saying is that we do not need to worry about the things the Gentiles worry about because we have a Father who loves us and who has taken on the role of provider.

When you look at a teaching, a speech or a book, you find that the author wishes to make a point at that conclusion is found at the end. However, it is supported by the evidence and examples which come before. Good writers and speakers give you a topical sentence in the first paragraph which is usually a restatement of their conclusion. Jesus absolutely lays out this entire topic in just such an organized fashion. I immediately began going to the end of the section to find out what his conclusion is but I like his opening. In verse 25 he tells us, “For this reason I say to you do not be anxious for your life.” He then uses the remaining verses to illustrate this reason. As we close in on the end of the passage we discover the reason we need not worry about our material needs is because “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6: 34) Isn’t that good? Jesus goes on to teach the practical side of this message. He tells us to seek God, seek His kingdom and righteousness and all the things of life will be added to us. That is simply putting all of this in to practice. Don’t worry, instead – seek. That is the cure for anxiety, knowing that you have a heavenly Father who loves you and will care for you. Seek Him and let Him worry about all that “stuff.”

How many of us have (and are) seeking the things, worrying about the things we need: clothes, food, drink, tuition, car etc.? I know I think of those things but Jesus is telling us point blank that is how the Gentiles act, and, hence, not how we should behave. We have a heavenly father. We need to learn how to seek His kingdom and allow Him to be “Father.”

Maybe we can all think about that today as we go through our day. How do I seek God’s kingdom? How do I seek His righteousness? Meditate on that as you have that morning cup of coffee or as you drive to work. The revelations could change your life.

Lastly, let me share with you Jesus’ final thought on the matter, his wrap up conclusion, if you will. “Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” You know when you see the word “therefore” that someone is making a conclusion. In other words, because of everything he said in verses 25 through 33, you should not be anxious. Stay in this moment with Jesus rather than casting your concerns forward. Stay ever present and connected with him and with the Father and you will have no need to ever be anxious. That’s good news!

The Seeker

Matthew 6: 33


But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.
One encounter with God can change your life forever. Having an encounter with God is worth everything. There really is nothing greater than a touch from Him. But how do we find god in our everyday lives? We must seek Him. When we seek Him, we find Him. In Him is the answer to every question we have as well as every need. Our job is to seek Him out and it is His job to provide us with the resources we need. Everything we need, want or desire is in Him. Seek Him with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength and he will give you the desires of your heart. He will be everything you need or want. His touch will fill your heart and heal your hurts. This type of seeking requires commitment and surrender though. If you will be determined to seek Him out, you will most definitely find Him. Seek Him in His word and through your prayers. He will be found by you.

Seeking

Psalm 34: 10

But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

Matthew 6: 33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Christians do not have to run around seeking after “things,” even things they need. In Philippians 4: 19 God promises us he will provide for our needs. Our role and function in this relationship we have with Him is to seek Him. It is His responsibility to provide for our needs as well as everything else. The above verse says we will not lack any good thing.

I do not say this is always an easy thing to do though. The cares of the world come and choke out the Word that was planted in our hearts (Matthew 13: 22). But take a care. Put your effort and energy into reviving that Word in you and sow the Word of the living God into your heart and He will be able to move on your behalf to meet your needs and your desires. Seek Him! Seek Him and don’t worry about the things of this world. You will choke on the cares of this world. And there is no point when it is His good pleasure to give you those things you want. Seek the Lord. Seek His face continually. Let your energy go into seeking him. “I will be found by you” says the Lord as written in Jeremiah 29: 14. Seek him and you will find him and every good thing will be added to you in His name.

Increase of Favor

Proverb 11: 27

He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, but he who searches after evil, it will come to him.

Here is another way to gain favor. Seek and go after those things which are good. If you look for evil, it will find you. If you look for the good things, the righteous things, then favor is going to follow you.

This is about a condition of our heart as well as a decision of our will. When we set our eyes and our hearts on God we end up seeking His righteousness. When we seek His righteousness, then all that we need will be added to us (Matthew 6: 33). Our Lord taught us that this is a clear way to relieve ourselves of anxiety. Pursue those things which are good. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude” (1 Timothy 4: 4). Seeking God necessarily means searching for goodness and kindness. The other proverb which speaks so clearly of favor is Proverb 3: 3 – 4 which tells us to bind ourselves to kindness and truth. When we seek good, truth or kindness we are in fact seeking God and His ways. Therefore, unmerited favor finds us.

If on the other hand we toy around with the things which are not of God’s kingdom, then evil will find us. And that is a clearer characterization of what happens because most of us don’t go out seeking after evil but rather we tolerate things that we ought not and we sort of play around with things that we know would not please God. When you play with fire, eventually you will get burned and this has happened to so many of us. We listen to a little music that we probably wouldn’t play if our pastor was in the room. We give in to some movies that we certainly wouldn’t want God to watch with us. A little of this and a little of that and we have paved the way for the things that we don’t want in our lives to come to us. We have all but sent an engraved invitation and then we act all surprised when things happen. 

We are little magnets and we are going to attract that which we set our eyes upon. That is exactly what Solomon was trying to get across to us. If we seek good we shall attract good into our lives but if we look over in the devil’s backyard he is going to make sure that we get what we are seeking. Seek goodness, truth and kindness, bind them around your neck and the favor of God and a good reputation with God and man shall be your prize.

Prayers for the Needy

Philippians 4: 19

And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Philippians assuring them that because they were meeting his needs God would take care of their needs. That is a good perspective from which to view our needs and our prayers. God meets our needs when we meet the needs of others. Still I suspect most of us spend a good bit of time praying about our needs. I noticed in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus gave “needs” one line; “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 11). When Jesus went up on the mountain to pray, what do you suppose he prayed about? I suspect he didn’t spend much time praying about the things he needed. I imagine he prayed for people and for his calling.

I think what God is showing me is that we need spend very little time praying about our physical needs. In fact, I am beginning to think we need not spend much time at all praying about any of our perceived needs for two reasons. First, Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you” (Matthew 7: 7). So ask and be done.

Secondly, I don’t think we really know what we need. Sometimes we pray (ask) for something that we want but don’t need. In fact, sometimes the thing we are praying for would destroy us if we received it. Take for example the Israelites who prayed and prayed for a king. God told them, “No” at first time saying that He would be their king. He told them that their desire would only lead them to ruin. They kept on and on until finally he relented (read this story in 1 Samuel 8). And if you know the story of Saul, the first ever king of Israel, you know that God spoke to them truthfully.

I think our prayer time is better spent asking God what we need. In other words, I think we should pray about ourselves rather than for ourselves. We need God’s revelation on what we need and it may well be something that He wants to do in our hearts. At least that is what I am finding. If we back up a little bit from Matthew 7: 7 where Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you,” and go to the end of Chapter 6 we find something interesting. Bear in mind that this is all one teaching. When Jesus spoke this it wasn’t divided into chapters so just a few moments before He said, “Ask and receive” he said, “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6: 33).

I believe this is what was happening in Philippi. The people had finally turned their hearts from seeking after their own needs and desires to seeking the kingdom. When they got back into a spiritual state, reconnected with the Holy Spirit within them they sent a gift to Paul for his support and maintenance. Then Paul said that their gift to Him would insure that their needs were met. You see, the Holy Spirit will speak to us about what we need in our lives. He will even lead our prayers. He will also direct our actions so that what we need will be provided for us. The Philippians didn’t send their gift to Paul in order to get their needs met, they were just connecting with God in their hearts. They were seeking the kingdom and the Holy Spirit led them to send a gift to Paul. In that act, their needs were met, as well as Paul’s. So, we need to seek God in our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to lead our actions. When we do we will not need to pray unceasingly for our needs and wants. They will become a by-product of what God is doing in our spirits. It seems then that the key to the kingdom is what we have all been told time and time again. Seek the Lord, our God and He will take care of everything else.