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::Devotional:: ‘Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness’

February 4, 2010

What are the basic essentials of survival in this life?  I mean when you get right down to it what would we need, bare minimum, in order to survive on this earth?  Well, if you’ve ever watched Survivorman or Man vs. Wild you’ll probably come up with the quick answer of food, water, and shelter right?  Afterall, that’s what those guys spend all their time working on in those shows isn’t it?  Those essentials should be the top priority in life.  Should they be?

When Jesus began his earthly ministry he called men away from their professions to join him.  Fishermen, tax collectors, just every day Joe the plumber type men were called to minister with him.  As he gathered the men, the disciples, together for a briefing on what it would be like serving with him he gave them instruction on the priorities of life.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Matthew 6:25

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:31-34

Was this a major concern on their minds?  Of course it was. They had just left their jobs to follow Jesus.  In the verses prior to this passage Jesus spoke to them about letting go of the security found in money.  He said you cannot serve both God and money.  Another words you can’t pretend to serve God and depend on his provisions while still holding onto your own financial lifeline.  In fact, the word used for money in that passage is actually a word that represents the personification of wealth, sort of like saying the money-god or devil.  In other words serving God as a slave to the money-god doesn’t work.  Jesus said “either you will hate the one and love the other, or [you] will be devoted to the one and despise the other” in Matthew 6:24.

The solution Jesus gave to them knowing that this would be a pressing issue on their mind was to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  The word that is translated as “kingdom” is not actually a physical kingdom.  In other words, Jesus was not telling the disciples to seek first the actual kingdom of God.  The word means “kingship” or “dominion over”, the literal rule he has over us.  Just as interesting, the word “righteousness” means “the way in which a man can attain approval by God” or another way of saying it might be “the state of him who is as he ought to be” according to Strong’s Concordance. Make your top priority, even before food and clothing, the seeking of God’s rule over you and his approval.

Jesus promised that if the disciples would do as he had said, if they were to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, then God would provide for what they needed.  Their worries over food, drink and clothing would be taken care of by the provisional hand of God.  Sound crazy?  Remember, the manna and quail from the Old Testament?  Remember the feeding of the 5,000 + in the New Testament?  Doesn’t seem so crazy in that light does it?

That’s all well and good for the disciples right?  How do we apply this to our lives as Christians today?  Well, now more than ever many Christians have become salves to the money-god except we refer to it as debt.  I have my fair share and it is an ever pressing weight on my mind.  However, we can’t let our financial security be our determining factor in life.  In other words, if we find ourselves at a point where we say something along the lines of “I would follow the Lord and do this, but I just can’t financially afford to do it”, we might just be putting another priority over seeking the kingdom first.  Now the Lord doesn’t want us to be financially reckless, as he calls us to the responsibility of stewardship.  However, we should never allow our focus on finances to overcome our focus on faith.

Work hard in the occupation the Lord has blessed you with and do it in such a way that you bring glory to the Father.  Provide for the needs, not always the wants, of your family to the best of your abilities.  However, do it all under the Lordship of Jesus and seek to obtain his approval of you as you yield to the Holy Spirit who is fashioning you to become more and more like Christ as detailed in the scriptures.  Trust the Lord when he says seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given unto you as well.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-


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