But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well
Immediately preceding this phrase, Jesus had just taught about not worrying. He is teaching from the mountain, and he begins to teach about how we must not worry about our material needs. He points out how the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air are all looked after accordingly, so how much more God will look after us. So Jesus, preaching the sermon on the mount, preaches for us not to worry about our material things.
This beautiful phrase right at the end of the fascinating and relatable teaching often gets over looked by the reader and preachers. Yet this one phrase summarizes the entire point of the passage and the goal of the Christian life; that Christ should be at the center of our lives then everything else will fall into place.
So often our society preaches empty messages that, although are alluring, do not hold up when tested. Society loves to teach 'liberal selfish self-indulgence' and a total and complete freedom which are real temptations we all face, however, they are just that, temptations. These ideas surrounding us try to place other things, objects or people at the center of our lives and fill us in the moment but can leave us empty at the very end. Not to mention, the liberal selfish self-indulgence, is entirely focused on the material goods around us; it treats people as objects, phones as fundamental to existence, life as a threat, tradition as a memory slowly fading, and vices as virtues.
Yet as Christians living in this world, we are called to place Christ in the center of our lives. We are called to say no to the materialism of this world, and focus on Christ and his kingdom. When we do this, everything else falls into place. However, this requires a profound level of trust that we place in Christ. A trust that allows Christ to truly live at the center of our lives; and that we let go of our worries about our future ways.
This strong, and unique trust we place in Christ, requires us to let go of our connections to the world, and focus purely on the next. Jesus reminds us also that "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world" (John 15:19). Since Christ has called us out of this world, we are called to let go of the connections and attachments now, and focus on him, and truly fall in love with him. Trusting God requires us to let go and presupposes that we desire Christ. The other day, I came across this quote " God isn't asking you to figure it out, he's asking you to trust that he already has." He is not calling us to trust him for no reason, but rather because he has it all planned out.
In his teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, Christ is teaching us to seek the kingdom first, above anything else. Let the first thing we search for me the kingdom, and make the kingdom the center of our focus; the object of our fascination. Let us so be compelled and determined to make Christ the center of our lives, for when we do things will only get easier, stress will depart, and all things shall be ours.
Seek first the kingdom, and truly make Christ the center of your life today!
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