January 18, 2019 ● 19-06
Matt. 6:25: For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; not for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Matt. 6:33: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
1 Pet. 5:7: casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
Matt. 6:33 contains a key phrase: SEEK FIRST. According to some Greek language lexicons, the word “seek” means to, “pursue, strive for with the purpose of obtaining; to go after something with absolute focus and purpose; and to be very deliberate”. The word “first” means primary, of supreme importance before anything else. To “seek first” means that whatever the pursuits in my life are, my primary pursuit must be to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ – this is what it means to SEEK FIRST.
I am constantly reading books on preaching and public speaking because I want to be the best preacher God has called me to be. But even before studying preaching I must be seeking the kingdom, seeking growth in Christ, seeking a deeper and stronger walk with the Lord because without that, any preaching that I do will be worthless. If you are a Sunday School teacher, you want to be the best teacher and the best prepared teacher you can be for your class and for the glory of God. But before you can prepare that lesson and before you can teach you have to seek the kingdom of God in your own life, or your teaching will be worthless.
Seeking the kingdom of God fuels everything we do; seeking the kingdom of God is the foundation, the baseline, and the lifeline to everything we do. If we are not seeking the kingdom of God FIRST, then it doesn’t matter what we do for the Lord, we will be ineffective. If we are not seeking a deeper, closer, stronger walk with God, then we will not have a proper perspective on worry and anxiety. Seeking God’s kingdom first puts everything into perspective.
I know there are some people who are not morning people. I have discovered in my own life, however, the morning is the best time to spend time with God. Spending time with God, in His Word, and in prayer is the best way to get your entire day oriented towards Him, to seek Him and gain perspective for the day ahead.
If I am seeking the kingdom of God as first priority in my life, then these issues such as food and clothing, potential causes of worry and concern, will be put in their proper place. If you were to read Matt. 6:25-34, you would discover that Jesus taught these three truths about worry and anxiety: life is more (v. 25), you are worth much more (vv. 26-30), and seek God’s kingdom first (vv. 34-35).
Let me give you and example about putting God’s kingdom first from my devotion time as I journal through the Psalms:
PS. 126:3: the Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.
I am glad and praise God for what He has done, and I am glad and praise God for who He is. Seeking God’s kingdom as of first importance in my life means I am thankful and grateful for how God provides, but I am more thankful and grateful for who God is regardless of what He has done. Seeking God’s kingdom makes me more thankful, more grateful, more joyful because I understand who God is and what God knows about me and about God’s ability to provide.
Worry borrows from tomorrow, and you have no idea what tomorrow holds. Worry often makes problems seem bigger than they really are. Worry will rob you of your joy in serving the Lord. Worry and anxiety mentally takes you off somewhere other than where you are, and those around you who love and care for you wind up losing out because you cannot engage with them.
Let me share with you two more equipping points about being kingdom focused instead of focusing on worry and anxiety:
- Make sure the necessities in life (food, clothes, etc.) do not become obsessions in life.
- Simply ask yourself, “Why am I worrying? If I am truly seeking God’s kingdom first, then I know God has it under control.”
Maintaining a kingdom focus is a daily necessity if you and I are going to serve the Lord in a way that honors Him. Worry and anxiety are the bandits of our thoughts and our attitudes. I want to encourage you to let God’s Word equip you to be kingdom focused so that worries and anxieties will not be larger than they should.