Shelby G. Floyd
In order to have a successful life, every person must have some priorities. Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught his disciples that God demands first place in their lives. There is not one person that gives God first place in every area of his life. Therefore in order to pursue this goal, we must grow spiritually and do our very best to give Christ top priority every day.
In Matthew’s account of the gospel Jesus said to his disciples, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6: 33). When we analyze this statement there are several things that are very obvious:
1. Obligation. We are commanded to seek, to search, to look, and to expend energy and effort to find what we are looking for.
2. Object. Christ tells us what we are to seek. We are to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The kingdom of God and the church are one and the same. God’s kingdom is a monarchy and Christ is king. It is a spiritual kingdom with Christ reigning in the hearts of his people. In seeking his kingdom one must also seek the conditions of entering that kingdom. The gospel plan of salvation is how God treats us as righteous when in fact we are not. It is through faith, repentance, confession and baptism that we obtain the justification that comes through our Savior Jesus Christ.
3. Order. There are many things that each one of us must seek in our life here on earth. But none of them are as important as seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Therefore Christ gave us the priority that this pursuit must hold in our life. It must come first and foremost before all other things.
4. Conditional promise. If we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, Christ has promised that all material blessings that we need and that would be good for us will be thrown in for extra measure. God always keeps his promise if we will do our part.
Therefore when we do our part God will keep his promises to bless his children. The Bible declares, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). David, the Royal Bard of Israel wrote in the Psalms, “Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.” (Psalms 34:9).
To illustrate how God promises to bless his people, notice the question that Peter asked Christ and the answer that he gave in reply:
Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:28-30). Also in God’s dealing with his people of old, he promised to take care of those who had their priorities right.
The line of kingly succession during the united kingdom of Israel was Saul, David and Solomon. Solomon was very humble and did not feel up to the task. When he make his requests to the Almighty, God noticed that he had his priorities in the right place:
1 Kings 3:5-14
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
Surely the author who wrote the following words had the statement of Christ in mind when he charged his disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
God must be first in everything
In prayer and praise and song
First in our hearts, to do his will
Amid life’s busy throng
He will not take a second place
Nor in a corner dwell.
“With all thy heart and all thy soul”
“And all thy mind,” as well
His righteousness, and not our own
His kingdom grand and fair
The soul that puts God first in life
Will banish whirly care
The peace of God shall keep each heart
In Christ we shall rejoice
Until we see him as he is
And here his loving voice
–Hazel A. Dillehay
Therefore, let us who love God, put “first things first!” When we do that everything else will fall in line.
Copyright © 2016 Shelby Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142