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First Things First

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

There are certain struggles against the Lord’s commands that those of us in the affluent West are simply more prone to fall into, myself included.  The “rich young ruler” in Luke 18:18 comes to mind.  It is not the possession of riches that are a sin, but Jesus warns those such as we: in Luke 12:15, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  There are just that many more pitfalls which coincide with our worries.  We have more to think about and more to insure or protect.  The same is true when we are afforded more religious rights, speech, and other freedoms that the majority of Christians around the world do not share.

We are to care holistically for the needs of those around us, as Jesus also had compassion on those around Him, but we are to put first things first.  He taught the crowds “not to worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:25-34), and embedded in this section is to “seek first His kingdom” in v33.  The apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  This doesn’t mean that we are to be ignorant of all else, but rather, to prioritize the eternal things over the temporal.  That might take some thought, even in Christian circles, to reorient our minds and activities around the things of God.  It should be obvious to us that we need to be in communication with our Heavenly Father daily through prayer and time in His Word to better understand His Will on these things, and guide our hearts and minds daily.

I believe the Christian Church has always struggled with this, particularly since the Christianization of the Roman empire after AD312.  We were always given a clear mandate by Christ to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), but we get distracted by the lesser things to the point of failing to do the primary thing.  As Peter did, we take our eyes off of Christ Jesus, look at the wind and the waves, and start to sink.  We start to become preoccupied with the temporary things of this world.

 “Christians” or “Evangelicals”, are most often viewed these days by the media as a conservative political movement, a certain voting block, rather than a group that radically impacts the culture through sacrificial service, proclamation of His Gospel, and acts of love in the name of Christ.  “Evangelical” is no longer known for its primary meaning of a “Witness of the Gospel”, bearer of the greatest news the world could ever know!  Our primary calling is not to be the guardians of the moral code, as the Pharisees were, as they were the #1 object of Jesus’ rebukes, but rather the purveyors of life-changing Gospel Truth, which, through the Holy Spirit, has the power to transform societies as well.

My question is, “Are we as Christians being resented for the right reasons?  If we are being imprisoned, what is it for?  I think of Luke 21:12, where Jesus warns,  "they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.”  The reason Christians were being severely persecuted through the early 300s were because they were proclaiming the name of Jesus, His Authority to Judge, and His Gospel to all who would repent!  The Gospel of John makes it clear that the religious/political leaders  hated Jesus because He exposed their sin, which also served to undermine their authority.

It is in light of this warning that Jesus tells His followers “Do Not Worry”!  Why?  Why shouldn’t we worry when we live in a world of so-called “Gender “Affirming” Surgeries, the Supreme Court with its recent rulings, and millions of dollars being spent in elections against those who would prefer religious freedom?  In light of all these things, the Bible is clear throughout that we are not to “worry”, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t to be involved!  AS you fight, don’t worry!  As you vote, don’t worry! As you share God’s Word with those around you, don’t worry if you are rejected, scorned, or even attacked!

We do not worry because the scriptures clearly teach that God is on His throne, and He sovereignly establishes both governmental authority and rulers to accomplish His Sovereign Plan, which is ultimately good!  Yes, it takes much faith to believe it, but we are told in Romans 13:1, “there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” 

The “King of Kings” Nebuchadnezzar finally recognized this after being humbled by God, and he made this proclamation to his kingdom, “I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35  All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. (compared to His Rule & Authority) He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" (Daniel 4:34) 

Are you willing to move forward in light of this truth?  If not even “a sparrow can fall to the ground apart from our Heavenly Father’s Will” (Matthew 10:29), and if we are “worth more than many sparrows” to Him (Matt 10:31), can we not move forward in faith, and seek first His Kingdom?  All things WILL be accomplished for His glory, and the “good of those who love Him”! (Romans 8:28)


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