“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” — Matthew 6:33 (NASB95)
What a familiar verse this is to all of us. It is short, sweet, and makes a lot of sense. The problem? We don’t follow Jesus’ advice given in this verse. In our study of the two kingdoms in which we exist (the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of heaven), we have stressed the fact that now that we are Christians, we no longer live for the worldly kingdom but for the heavenly kingdom. We are charged to live in this world but to not be of this world. Note: Not even Jesus is suggesting that we join Christian orders and escape from this world. He is telling us that we need to live heavenly kingdom lives as we live in this earthly kingdom.
Jesus tells us to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” The main priority of our lives should be to pursue our relationship with God. We need to continuously pursue His heart and will for our lives. We need to make sure that our citizenship in His kingdom is secure. How do we do that? We must also pursue His righteousness. God has a righteousness to offer us that is different from any other. It is a righteousness that He freely offers to each of us out of His divine goodness and grace. It is the righteousness God requires of all of the citizens of His kingdom. It is His requirement, and it is His gift. This gift can only be obtained by those who faithfully receive the righteousness won by Jesus in His death and resurrection. We could, and we should, spend the rest of our lives seeking and pursuing God’s kingdom and the righteousness that secures our citizenship in His kingdom.
Then Jesus says, “and all these things will be added to you.” What things? First and foremost, His righteousness and citizenship in His kingdom. Although that should be enough, He promises that for those who seek first God’s kingdom, His providential grace will supply all they need for living in this world’s kingdom. This verse is surrounded by a complete conversation of Jesus on the topic of worry. He tells us that we have no reason to worry about clothes, food, house, children, health, etc. But we do! Why? Because too often we reverse the message of Jesus and pursue the world’s kingdom first. When we do that, all we are left with is worrying that we might or might not get what we need. Only with the proper emphasis on God’s kingdom first can we see that God is the One who works in our worldly kingdom to provide for our needs. Obedience to Jesus’ words here is vision-correcting. By properly seeking God’s kingdom first, we are blessed to see all that He offers us there and also to see how He works in this world to supply our every need.
May we always seek His kingdom and His righteousness first!