“Seek First…”

Matthew 6:33  33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

As 2023 begins, it offers a fresh start – or at least a “reset” on life in some ways.  These words of Jesus invite us to reconsider our priorities – and that’s important to consider at the head of the year.

This exhortation comes at the end of teaching his disciples about anxiety, fear and worry.  We’re in the latter part of Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount.  This is the seminal sermon for any disciple.  The entire message summons us to a radical and distinct kind of heavenly living, amidst a fallen world.  This theme bellows immediately in the Beatitudes (5:3-12).  Jesus’ words here shatter conventional ideas who is indeed “blessed.”  Each line recalibrates our expectations who will inherit God’s Kingdom. 

Jesus continues by teaching us a kind of righteousness unlike the Pharisees.  It is not external.  Rather, it is based on a genuine, intimate, daily relationship with God as our Father (5:20, 24, 28).  This kind of righteous living begins at bottom of a person’s soul.  The result is no room for superficiality and hypocrisy.  God is to be our supreme allegiance, and the center of our desires.  Every aspect of Christian living is to flow from there – our returns of love to God’s love for us.  Practically, this means we pray, give and fast in secret because those acts of piety are to be unto God alone – our heavenly Father (6:4, 6, 18).  This is the taproot of spiritual life for every follower of Jesus.

These realities should alter our experience of anxiety, fear, and worry, while living in this fallen world.  Jesus encourages us in verse 26, “Look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?”  Every bird’s every meal, every flower’s detailed adornment, in every corner of the globe, points to God’s omnipotent care.  “How much more will He care for us?” yields an obvious answer! (6:30).   “Therefore,” Jesus says, “do not worry!” (6:25, 31, 34).  God’s care frees us from being totally devoted to just survival.  We can put the constant strains of life in proper perspective.  Instead, we can “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  The very top priority in our lives, can be living for His kingdom and righteousness.  We trust Him to provide our needs along the way. 

With the New Year is an opportunity for a “restart” or “reset” on what we’re doing with life.  Consider re-evaluating your priorities.  Where are you spending most of your time?  Is your best time given to seeking God?  Are you giving worthy time for the worship of God?  What activities or commitments are the least important in light of Jesus’ command here?  Can you get rid of some?  What goals can be put further down on the list?  What goals should go up on the list of your priorities?  What are your foremost desires and wants?  What aspects of “seeking first His Kingdom” or “seeking first His righteousness” should you be investing in for 2023?  If you’re a follower of Christ – this is what matters most.  Trust the Lord in this…and see what He will do.  May 2023 be the year of our closest walk with Him yet!

Thanks!  See you Sunday,

Pastor Dave

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