January 18

Seek Ye First

Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Mark 10:29-30 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

What’s the secret to happiness? Or success? Or the good life? The world is desperately looking for “the secret” to many different things, and a multitude of words have been written about finding the “secret” to anything from job interviews to good sex.

God has a “secret” for us as Christians, too. But it’s only a secret in that it isn’t as well known or well understood as it could be: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [food, clothing, etc.] shall be added to you.” Is it really that simple? Yes, it is!

But let’s break it down: The “Kingdom of God” here has sometimes been translated “His kingship over you,” which is not inaccurate but is woefully incomplete. Seeking the Kingdom is advancing God’s formation and extension of His Kingdom on earth, which is invisible, as distinct from the world as Oz is from Kansas, and is the mind of Christ and the heart of God put into action on this earth.

His righteousness refers, of course, to our character, which needs to and will change continually as we are “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).

Every Christian does these things already to some extent or another. So what is the key difference between those with “OK” Christian walks and those that are thriving in God? Seeking these things first. Many Christians want to guarantee the houses, clothes, cars and retirement packages of this life, and then with what time, money and energy they have left, they may serve the Lord. God is a gracious God and will reward all our service to Him. But the secret to great joy, peace, and “spiritual success” (in God’s eyes, of course) is seeking His kingdom and righteousness first.

This is a major step of faith for any individual, of course. It’s never been easy to do, and it calls for changes in every area of our life. But the Lord knows how to guide us through this process if we are willing to let Him lead in this area. But don’t be deceived: there is no other path than putting these things first.

There are two kinds of Christians in this world: those that put His kingdom and righteousness first, and those who don’t. What’s really first in your life?

Prayer: Father, help me to put Your kingdom and righteousness first. Show me the path by Your Spirit, and help me past my fears, stubbornness and love of the things of this world. Thank You for the grace that leads us.

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