Seek Ye First

Seek Ye First

Life is full of daily choices and decisions. What should I do? Where shall I go? What should I say? How should I act? How should I spend my time, my energy, and my money? People’s true hearts are reflected through the decisions they make, despite what they may claim or express. Their choices reflect their priorities in life. People of the world seek pleasure, money, fame, ease, etc. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

It should be and must be the priority of Christians to put the things of God first—above all else. It is an unfortunate reality that many people who name the name of Christ are pursuing the things of this world, and the things of God are not primary. The lives of Christians should be defined and identified by their pursuit of Christ and His righteousness.

There are necessary things that we all must attend to in life. We need food and clothing, and it is important to spend time with family and to take time to sleep and work. Before teaching to seek first the kingdom of God, Jesus acknowledged these necessities. “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:31-32). Jesus was not teaching that we should neglect these things, but He was teaching that we should not worry about them because God knows our needs and will provide for us. He was calling for His followers to make God the priority and to place the things of the Lord above all else. He promised that all these other things “shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33b).

For a Christian to find the joy and reality of victory in serving God, the things of the Lord must have preeminence.  Nothing is wrong with having dreams, plans, goals, and purposes, but all these things must be consecrated to God and sometimes even laid aside or deferred in order for God to have priority. There is nothing more important than our eternal souls, and we must place value on caring for those souls above the things of the world.

In every decision that is made, it would behoove us to ask ourselves, “Am I putting God first?” Many Christians would justify and rationalize their decisions and choices and offer excuses that Jesus Himself called out in Luke 14:16-20. Some explain away their lack of commitment and dedication to the things of God: I have some property that I need to go check on, I have some oxen that I need to prove, or I have just married a wife. The list goes on,  yet is God your priority? Are your choices indicative of that?

Lawful things that are not sinful often take up our time and attention. Christians must place God above these lawful things, for as a snare, these cares of life will choke out the spiritual fruit if we are not careful. Jesus said to “take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with…cares of this life… For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35).

Are we seeking God first or are we putting priority on lawful things? We must seek God first and allow Him to guide us in where we live, whom we marry, and what we do for a job. Those lawful things should be secondary. Many people are seeking first the riches of this world. While it is not wrong to have money, it is wrong to let the pursuit of it be primary and the things of God secondary.

When Christians seek first the kingdom of God, they give God the best of their time, their money, and their talents. Daily, time is needed to read the Bible and pray. If we neglect that, something else has priority. When it is time to worship and fellowship with the saints, are we there? Are we seeking first the kingdom of God? What is taking first place when there are financial needs in the work of God, and yet we are spending money on ourselves,  saving for the future and not sacrificing financially?

The priorities of a true Christian are radically different from those of worldly people. Paul taught the congregation at Rome: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).  This generation needs a renewal of their minds to understand that seeking first the kingdom of God is more than a theological statement; it is a practical reality. ■