by Brandy Webb
Often, when I start to worry, the statement, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God,” pops into my head. I read a lot of different versions of the Bible, but when it comes to Christ’s words in Matthew 6:33, it is always the King James Version that comes to mind. However, it doesn’t matter what version that we remember, what matters is if we are doing what Christ told us to do.
The first step, though, is to figure out what He meant by seeking the Kingdom of God first in our lives instead of worrying. I will be honest; I have been asking myself for years what it really means to seek His Kingdom first. I have finally come up with my own ideas and thoughts. They may not be exactly correct, but it is what I believe He meant.
I believe that we have to start in verse nineteen in Matthew chapter six to really establish the fullness of what He is saying. Christ starts off telling us to not store up “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven.” I know that many of us understand that He is warning us about getting caught up in worldly possessions to the point that we neglect our spiritual growth. Yet, He goes on to give it a deeper meaning, at least for me. Christ states “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). When we become so focused on acquiring worldly treasures, our hearts turn away from God and turn towards the world. We become earthbound rather than Kingdom-bound.
He then points out how our eye is a lamp to our body (v. 22), and that if it is evil our whole body will be evil and in darkness (v. 23). What I found in one of the versions of the Bible I like to read is that this is a Hebrew idiom. Evil eye means to be stingy, and a good eye means to be generous (footnote in TS2009 Version). So, Christ is definitely talking here about being greedy and focused on wealth.
I’m sure I am not stating anything that you don’t already know. I just wanted to build the background because it is very clear that Christ is warning us about becoming too focused on what the world desires. Wealth and possessions are not evil in themselves. God has and does bless people financially. The problem/temptation occurs when worldly “treasures” becomes what we seek and focus on first, thus turning it into a type of “god.” It is when we spend nights worrying about the lack of this “god,” also. It is when the pursuit of happiness means becoming wealthy rather than becoming a child of God.
Jesus knows that this world is hard, and He knows that we need provisions to survive. Yet, He doesn’t want “stuff” to become our primary focus in life. This is why He goes through and points out wonderful beautiful things in creation that do not worry about provisions, nor do they have the ability to provide for themselves. However, God still clothes them and feeds them, and if God is willing to do this for the least in His creation, don’t you think He will take care of us also (Matthew 6:25-32). Therefore, He states “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
When I read these words I start to see that the first step we must take in order to seek His Kingdom first is to make sure that our “eye” is focused on Him, keeping it clear, bright, good and full of light. The second is to make sure we are not trying to serve money and God because it is impossible to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Third, is to stop fretting about this life.
The third one is probably the hardest for me. I am a fixer. I like to fix problems, and when I can’t, I worry. Jesus is saying if you want to seek My Kingdom first in your life, you have to quit the uselessness of worrying about what happens to you in this life.
When we seek His Kingdom first, we acknowledge that it exists and that God the Father and Jesus our Messiah are real. We stand firm in our faith. We become courageous. We live lives that show the world that we aren’t afraid of what happens to us in this life because we know that there is a much better life for us around the corner. Seeking His Kingdom first is what helps us to face trials, tribulation, persecution, loss, etc. Jesus knows that it isn’t always easy to do, but when we fight the good fight of faith by keeping our eyes on the prize we allow Him to do the impossible through us.
I believe that seeking His Kingdom first, putting it priority number one in our lives, is the first step of walking in Christ’s footsteps. Jesus has warned us that to follow Him will not mean we will have an easy life in this world, but it will lead us to a life that will make all our struggles here so worth it.