How Do I Seek God First?
I find it interesting how certain years of my life are marked by certain verses or passages in Scripture. One year in particular, January 1st fell on a Sunday which means that December 31st also fell on a Sunday. That year, the sermons I heard both days were covering one verse—Matthew 6:33—and it is a good depiction of what my year that year looked like as I began the journey of learning what it means to seek God, His kingdom, and His righteousness, first. This verse has been one I have referred to over and over and have begun to see how it is applicable in many circumstances I face.
Matthew 6:25-34 occurs amidst Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Verse 33 comes after He encourages the people not to be anxious about what they are going to eat and what they are going to wear; rather to trust Him to take care of them because He cares about the details, therefore, He cares about them. Mathew 6:33 reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (ESV). While Jesus is specifically giving a way to overcome the anxiety in people’s lives they had about the physical needs they were concerned with, I think He was also giving insight into how to live our lives: Seek God first (Matthew 6:33; Proverbs 3:5-8).
If I am to seek God first, several attitudes in my heart have to occur. I have to trust that when I surrender myself to God and delight myself (abide) in the Lord, He will put desires into my life that are His desires. And my abiding with Him requires me to surrender myself to Him and trust that this time spent with Him is better than anything else I could be doing.
See how it all relates?
In order to seek first the Kingdom of God, I have to spend time with Him to know what His Kingdom looks like and what part I play in it (John 15:4-7). When I spend time with Him, my thoughts and desires are becoming more aligned with His thoughts and desires, therefore, He lets them come true because they are His plans (Psalm 37:4; John 15:7). When I catch a vision of His heart and begin to have Him transform my thoughts and heart (Romans 12:2), I begin to want to spend more time with Him. But I have to trust that His ways are better (Proverbs 3:5-6), knowing that surrendering to the Lord my idea of what seems right, and turning from evil, will be refreshing to my soul (Proverbs 3:7-8).
It all goes back to surrendering my heart and wants to the Lord and believing that Jesus is better. Is this something I struggle with hourly? Yes. Will I ever find surrender easy? No, not really. But do I have the Holy Spirit—which is the same spirit that raised Jesus from the grave (Romans 8:10-11)—to help me fight to believe that Jesus is better than what I want? Praise God that because of Christ, I do!
I have to believe that Jesus is better. When I believe—and I mean at a gut level believe—that Jesus is better, then I don’t worry about things because I know Jesus is better and He will supply what I need, when I need it, in the way I need it.
So friend, may we strive to seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, knowing that if we do that, everything else (physical needs, school, money, job, career path, relationships, future, etc.) will fall into place. And may we be so overwhelmed with God and His kindness, goodness, justice, wrath, grace, mercy, love (and more), that the things of this world won’t matter because we will be captivated by who God is and what He is doing in our hearts and around us.