Sunday, May 19, 2013

Seek First

"But seek":  to pursue with all our heart, mind, and soul.  This is a response I’ve acquired naturally through my driven personality in many areas of my life, and yet it has not come so easily to me when it comes to God.  To seek a career with all my heart, mind, and soul – sure, I did that for eight years with a grueling and intense focus that could not be thwarted by any obstacles that stood in my way.  I jumped over them like an Olympic hurdler running for the gold.  To seek a home with all my heart, mind, and soul – yes, I did this also with nearly two years of unwavering focus as we looked through house after house after house with no success.  Again all the mounting obstacles did not stop me from continuing to pursue that dream.  I pushed through them like a plow moves aside the snow on a highway during a storm.   But then to seek the things of God, His Word, His truth, His will – in this I’ve floundered over and over again.  Like a fish that’s trying to swim back into open water when it’s been caught by the fisherman’s hook, I have been hung up on the simplest of obstacles that have been cast my way by the world and through the schemes of the devil, struggling and fighting to swim back into those open waters where the freedom of God so patiently and lovingly awaits me.

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” ~Deuteronomy 4:29

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” ~2 Chronicles 7:14

"But seek first": to put above all else...

In reference to the Macedonian churches, 2 Corinthians 6:7 says: “And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.”  Have you done this with the Lord – have you put Him first above all else in your life, or do you fall into the category of “the expected?”  There have been times in my life in which I could’ve answered yes, I put Him first - praise God!   But those times haven’t lasted eternally as God does.  “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  -1 Timothy 1:17.  Yep, eventually and inevitably I fall among “the expected,” where He’s pushed down from that number one spot over and over again.  Just like a number one hit falls from the music charts when the next new and exciting song releases, he has fallen to number two, three, and maybe even lower on my priority list at times. 

"But seek first his": not ours or the world’s, but God’s alone.  All too often, “His” has been replaced by “mine” and/or “the world,” as if this swap is somehow better or at least equal.  But in truth these alternatives cannot possibly stand up to the job.  In truth, these substitutes for the all-knowing and all-powerful God are as ludicrous as swapping out steel with playdoh in the construction of a bridge - one that we’ve placed our trust in as we frequently travel over it in order to safely cross the expanse of the deep waters of this life. 

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” ~Isaiah 55:8

“He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” ~Proverbs 28:26

“Do not deceive yourselves.  If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” ~1 Corinthians 3:18-19a

"But seek first his kingdom": God’s word, His truth, His work; all that makes up His heavenly realm; is eternal – unlike this world.  Though it can be found in this world, it is not part of this world.  It is above all things of this world. 

“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.” –John 18:36a.

“His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” ~Daniel 4:3b

Where the world is consumed with sin, His Kingdom is filled with holiness and righteousness.  Where the world is drowned by darkness, His Kingdom is refreshed with His light and Spirit. 

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and on Earth is yours.  Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” ~1 Chronicles 29:11

Can His kingdom be seen through you, or is it the world that is magnified through your words and actions?  This is yet another tough question that the Lord has laid on my heart to be examined in my life and the answer captured there has been equally difficult for me to swallow, for like a picture taken at a crime scene used for evidence to charge the guilty, my sin in this world is what’s been exposed to me upon examination.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness": a quality of Christ that God desires to grow in us; one that is given by God and is to be sought after through faith, not in our own strength; a willingness to obey and serve and do what’s right according to God’s Word, not according to the world’s standards; a quality that is necessary in order to do the work of God’s Kingdom.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~2 Cor. 5:21

“…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”  ~Philippians 3:9

“For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.” ~1 John 2:16

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things": food, drink, clothes, plus all the things of the Lord – His Kingdom, righteousness, etc. - all that I’ll ever need and more.  When Mathew 6:33 is read alone, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” we’re left to wonder just what are these “things” it’s referring to and why do we need to seek God first in order to have them?  Well, did you know that this verse is included in a whole section of verses in which their main topic is worry?  When you read the surrounding verses, Mathew 6: 25-34 (go ahead and do that now if you need a refresher), it quickly becomes obvious that these things are the everyday things of our lives that we have a tendency to allow our worry to consume us over.  Now it’s all becoming clearer, but let’s continue on with breaking down the verse before elaborating further… 

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will":  promised; guaranteed by God.  Notice there is no might or maybe to be found in Mathew 6:33.  It’s just “will” plain and simple, and God’s Word tells us that what God says He will do, He accomplishes: “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” ~Isaiah 55:11.  What a powerful statement!  How awesome is it that we can count on God to do what He says?!  How refreshing is this after all the broken promises and let downs we experience through this world?! 

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given": – bestowed graciously and abundantly by God.  God is a giver. 
He has given us the earth - Psalm 115:16
He gave us His Son – Isaiah 9:6; John 3:16
He gave us His body; His life – Luke 22:19
He gave us the Holy Spirit - Romans 5:5
He has given us grace – Ephesians 4:7 
He gives us peace – John 14:27
He gives us strength – Isaiah 40:29
He gives us a new heart – Ezekiel 37:26
He gives us all this and so much more!  We serve such an awesome and gracious God.  What has He given you lately?  What can you add to this list?

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.": you - Katrina; you - insert your name here! If you notice, Mathew 6:33 doesn’t say anywhere, “to the deserving,” or “to the perfect,” but rather to me and you, just as we are.  Thank you Lord!  If you’ve been buying into the deceit of Satan, believing that you aren’t good enough to accept all that the Lord has given you, take a moment with me to listen to this song and press into the Lord…just as you are.  (click the link below, and when you're done listening, hit your "back" arrow to rejoin me in closing)

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~Ephesians 6:12

As I’ve pressed into God through Mathew 6:33, the underlying truth that I’ve learned is that when we seek God first in our lives, this opens up the flood gates of His giving, bringing us to a place where all the things that we used to worry about, are now given to us freely and abundantly, thus reducing our stress in this life greatly.   That is an awesome thing!  But even more awesome than that is how He’s used this verse mapping activity to grow my eagerness to just be with Him, in His presence, in His unfailing love.  I’m beginning to truly understand what it means to delve deeper into Him and His word  and through it I’m discovering, not only a deeper relationship with the one who created me, but also an indescribable peace and joy in my heart.  While in my sinful nature, I may still be inclined from time to time to sing to another tune, I’m so thankful that He is the classic love song of my life in which I will always turn back to – the melody that will be playing in my heart for all eternity.

~Lord, I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands, but let me hold unswervingly to the hope that I profess, for you who promise are faithful.  (Psalm 119:10; Hebrews10:23)


  1. Love your new blog layout! This is a very thorough breakdown of Matthew 6:33! I've been struggling with the "things" and "will" aspect of this verse. Time is running out for me to get a job (I have less than a month now). I believe God is using this circumstance as a lesson in faith and trust. I loved when you said, "As I’ve pressed into God through Mathew 6:33, the underlying truth that I’ve learned is that when we seek God first in our lives, this opens up the flood gates of His giving, bringing us to a place where all the things that we used to worry about, are now given to us freely and abundantly, thus reducing our stress in this life greatly." Keep up the awesome work you're doing on this blog!

    1. Thanks Bree! I can relate to struggling with "things" and "will." Im praying for God to open the right door for you at the right time, and in the meantime to provide you with abundant faith and peace while you're waiting.