But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
Now that we are in the first month of a new year, I have really been considering what is most important in life. I am not concerned with New Year’s resolutions. I am more concerned with living my life in such a way that I keep important things at the top of my priorities.
Jesus simplified this when he said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” It goes without saying that in order to know about the kingdom we need to know the King of the kingdom. This requires an all in commitment to our Savior. The following words from the Apostle Paul exemplify this truth:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death (Philippians 3:8-10).
David echoed the desire to know God in Psalm 27:8 when he wrote, “When thou sadist, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, I will seek.” Notice- we are to seek His face- not His hand. Notice- we are to seek who He is- not what He can do. Why? Remember- Jesus said if we seek the kingdom of God all other things will be added to us.
God’s righteousness is the second part of what Jesus told us to seek. This is interesting considering what people considered right and wrong in the past and what people consider right and wrong today. This can be especially obvious in the church world. Many years ago it seemed the church considered nearly everything to be wrong, or at least, questionable. Sadly, the pendulum has seemingly swung to the opposite extreme. The question can be asked, what is right? Obviously, our sense of right and wrong is flawed. The truth is- God’s righteousness is what matters.
The Apostle Paul addressed the problem of righteousness established by people verses the righteousness of God in the following verses:
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bare them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God (Romans 10:1-3).
Notice the phrase: have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. In our seeking His righteousness, we must also be willing to submit to His righteousness.
This can be simplified by determining in our hearts to follow God’s Word in matters of holiness. If God’s Word says do this, we do it. If God’s Word says don’t do this, we don’t do it- or, if we are doing it, we quit doing it with the Lord’s help.
The sum of it all is we have to put first things first. When we truly desire to be fruitful Christians we must be intently involved in seeking God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.