The Lord’s call from Matthew 6:33 implies that Christians must have the right priorities, seek God’s glory, seek his guidance, and live under his lordship.

Source: The Evangelical Presbyterian, 2004. 2 pages.

First Things First

Jesus calls us as individuals, families and congregations, as a denomination and nation to: ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you. (Matt 6:33) His words are a timely exhortation to get our priorities well and truly sorted out once and for all. In essence, His command is “put first things first”.

What Jesus commands is no small thing. It is not always easy to “put first things first”. Nevertheless, where there is a will God will always provide the way. If believers follow the Lord’s directive practically and not Just theoretically – if our constant, conscious and consistent objective is to obey Him then we will know a gracious, Spirit-wrought transformation in every area of life. God willing, our witness will be so much clearer and so much more effective.

Jesus tells us what we have to do to make this a reality. He makes it very plain that we must set right priorities and pursue personal godliness if we want to know God’s abundant provision and blessing.

Setting Right Priorities🔗

Until your priorities are properly set your life cannot be correctly ordered. If your goals in life are wrong then the whole purpose of your life will be defective. There are many things that believers need God to clarify but we shouldn’t need him to do so in relation to our first priority. We shouldn’t even have to think about it. It should come so naturally to us. After all, our Lord has told us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God”. Christ reveals that the Christian’s abiding priority must be God first in all things, at all times, in all places and in all company.

The word “seek” means to “actively pursue” – to go after with a passion. Being present tense its sense is continuously. The believer’s every waking moment must be spent continuously, actively and passionately pursuing the things of God’s kingdom. But to be able to do so you must be seeking the King of the kingdom – you must be seeking God. Come near to God and He will come near to you. (James 4:8) You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13) Note it is with all your heart, not some of it, not even most of it – all of it!

Only wholehearted seekers find God. If you say you are seeking God but cannot find Him the reason is really very simple, you are not doing so wholeheartedly. You cannot seek God in any old fashion. Jesus says you must seek Him first. “Putting first things first” means always putting God first ­ constantly, consciously, consistently putting Him above everything and everyone; above self, family, congregation, denomination and nation.

In Matt 6:30 Jesus points to the importance of faith as believers wholeheartedly seek the King and His kingdom above all else. Without faith the quest is pointless. “...without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:6) Faith, like a diamond, has many facets but the facet that most applies here is that faith is following the example of Jesus who always put his heavenly Father first.

  • God doesn’t ask for a piece of your life – he demands it all!
  • God isn’t interested in being second in command or competing for your loyalty or affection – he demands complete allegiance and absolute control. God demands that you respond appropriately; in the way that befits your heavenly Father who is your divine sovereign. Only if you respond in this wholehearted manner will you prove conclusively that the King and his kingdom are in fact your abiding passion and delight – your great obsession in life!

A kingdom is a place where a king rules and reigns. Seeking God’s kingdom as your first priority means desiring and actively pursuing his rule and reign over your entire life. There must be no exclusion zones or no-go areas. It is willingly submitting to Him everything you have, are and hope to be. When you set right priorities and your number one goal in life is actively pursuing the King and his kingdom at least 3 things must inevitably follow:

1. Bringing Glory to the King🔗

The Shorter Catechism asks the extremely pertinent question: What is man’s chief end? The answer is: “to glorify God”. That is your reason for being – that is why you are on this earth. Your whole purpose in life is not to glorify yourself but “to glorify God”. No wonder 1 Cor 10:31 states: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Herein lies the all-inclusive principle of Christian living – God must be glorified in all that you do.

2. Seeking the King’s Guidance🔗

Loyal subjects long to please their monarch. For them there is no higher calling than to know and do the King’s will. Each day you live you must ask your divine monarch the question Paul asked on the road to Damascus: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And having discovered His Holy will you must get on and do it. Knowledge of God’s will must lead to action!

3. Governed by the King🔗

Loyal subjects of God’s kingdom want to be totally controlled by their divine King. Yet some will ask: “Is this not a form of slavery?” In a sense it is. But the church is a theocracy not a democracy. The church has a perfectly benevolent dictator. Christians are under heaven’s direct rule but such divine government offers us the greatest liberty. It means we are free to serve God according to his perfectly holy will, under his divine protection. No wonder the Catechism answers not Just that Man’s chief end is to glorify God but adds and to enjoy Him forever. Obedience alone enables us to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Jesus shows us in Matt 6:33 that “putting first things first” means “setting right priorities”, i.e. always putting God first. Are you doing so?

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