First Things First

Matthew 6: 33

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.

In my Bible, this statement is in red. How does that affect you? In reality, the entire Bible is Jesus speaking to us, but still, there is something impactful about knowing Jesus taught this. Of course, Jesus was talking about seeking God’s kingdom. Provision is in the Father. Jesus was saying that we shouldn’t need to think about food and clothing or any of the other necessities of life. God knows we need those things. Jesus was trying to show people that their task is to seek the Father and the Father will provide. Can you honestly believe that with your heart?

Perhaps you have trusted God for something and not received it. What did that do to your ability to trust Him? Sure, you love Him, but do you trust Him to provide for you? Do you believe He will? If we are honest with one another, we can say that many Christians, many of our contemporaries do not actually put their faith in God’s provision. We have been taught to work for a living, not believe for a living. The mere reading of that statement confounds the mind. What else would we do but work for a living? We know no other way to approach life. Further, it is hard to rely on what we cannot see and touch and what we cannot affect with our own effort, because we have learned to rely on ourselves. This verse requires a different approach, and it is challenging.

None the less, one can see how this verse could be one of the most important scriptures in the New Testament. It is the basis for learning how to live as we ought. It is fundamental. That is to say, it is this scripture which forms the foundation of our Life in Christ theology.

This verse could, and probably should, be the first verse on any list of verses. Whether we need healing, have a bill that needs paying, a relationship issue or something else, this is the place to begin. Seek first, it says. Start here. When we begin with seeking the Father, He then leads us to other verses and to resources we need for our situation.

I cannot find the words to make this verse stand out in volume and magnitude to the degree it should. The beginning of all things is to seek the Father. God wants to be our provider. He is the source of all good things. We must invite Him though. If we will seek Him first, then He will show us the way and give us what we need.

This, literally, could be a weeklong teaching but we are not going to indulge ourselves to that extent. Here are some of the questions that still need consideration. What does it mean to seek God’s righteousness? In short, it means His way of doing things, but there is a whole book chapter there, so please ponder this further. Second, how does one seek God and His kingdom? Are they the same thing? Let me give you a small tidbit on this. First, it is not the same for all people. The question underlying this one is how do you connect with God personally? It necessarily requires slowing down your physiology and your mind so you can hear Him. After that it might involve praise, prayer, Bible study, simply reading the Bible, word studies and more. Some people sing, others even dance. My way is reading my Bible and praying, but that does not mean other forms are not valid or that my way is the only way to seek God. If you don’t yet know how you best connect with Him, then that is the first question I would seek Him about. Ask Him. Just get alone and speak right out loud. “Father, what is the best method for me to seek you? What is the best way for me to find you?” Then, listen. One of the best tools for capturing what you hear is paper and pen. Simply write down what God’s response is. Then look back at it later. If He shows you scripture, make sure to write down the citation so you can go back to it.

Seek the Lord, His kingdom and His methods. Seek His ways first. This is the number one best piece of advice I can give you regardless of the situation you face. He has the answer. He has the way. He has means to an end that you cannot even fathom and that might, frankly, surprise you. This one verse is a doorway to the blessing of God. Seek Him in all things and be blessed.

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.