Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
As Jesus taught this to His disciples, I can’t help but wonder if they were reminded of their living conditions as they traveled around without a bed to sleep in, gleaned wheat as they walked, and had only what they could carry with as they followed Jesus. I could imagine it would have been easy at times to feel hunger pangs and wonder if they’d reach a town soon to buy food, or to look at their sandals and clothes and wonder how long they would last with the continual journeying they were doing as they followed Jesus. Yet, Jesus told them not to be anxious and to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
What does seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness look like, and how can we be effective in doing it?
Jesus gave us the example in Himself as He lived here on earth, leading up to the cross. Now, I know that can sound a bit cliché and over simplified, and God doesn’t call all of us to live without house and home, traveling around for His Name’s sake, but He does with some. Would you be willing to do that?
Seeking His kingdom and His righteousness starts in the heart before its ever seen outwardly in action. God leads us through trials and tribulations to refine us and lead us in paths of righteousness, and when it has had its full effect, that refinement makes you shine for all to see His glory. The thing is, we can’t grow from these trials and tribulations, actually being refined in this process unless we’re abiding in Him while we’re going through it.
It’s a natural human reaction to be fearful and angry when trials come our way, to question it all, and to pull away from God as we try to work things out on our own. Yet that’s the very thing God is working to sift out of us through those trials. God is love (1 John 4:8) and perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), and we know the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). The answer to our peace from anxiety, faith over fear, and walking in righteousness is God Himself. Jesus is literally always the answer to everything we could ever face.
When you abide in Jesus, your problems will still be there, but they move from center focus to peripheral view – out of focus and moved to the side.
When you abide in Jesus, you’re seeking to be a faithful and fruitful servant to our Almighty God, allowing the Holy Spirit to empower you to do good works.
When you abide in Jesus, you’re trusting that He is bigger than your problems and is refining you through the fire you’re passing through.
When you abide in Jesus, you may not have everything you want, but He takes care of your needs.
When you abide in Jesus, you’re living an abundant life of freedom in Christ.
When you abide in Jesus, you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I do know that if you abide in Jesus and seek first His kingdom and righteousness, you can have victory and walk in newness of life. Jesus Christ loves you!
Ponder this…the biggest obstacle you’d ever face in your life was how to reconcile with God after the huge chasm that your sin created. Yet Jesus Christ provided Himself as the sacrifice and He bridged that gap for you, allowing you to be reconciled to God. How much easier it is for God to handle whatever it is you’re facing today and provide for you through it. Trust Him, abide in Him, seek His kingdom and righteousness, and watch Him provide your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:19-20)
I hope this song encourages you as you seek the kingdom of God first!