What’s your most common process? To come to God as King expecting his provision first, or to try to figure it out on your own and then when nothing else is working, to turn to God and ask for his help?
My guess is that for most of us it is the second answer: to go to God when we’ve exhausted all our own resources. For those that say they go to him first, it’s most likely because they’ve lived a life of the other way and finally knew that it works far better just to trust God to provide in the first place.
Why is this? If we think back to the Garden and Adam and Eve, we remember that they were tempted to believe that God was holding out of them; that basically, he had a provision that he wasn’t sharing with them. We are tempted to believe that lie as well, because if we can stop believing that God is the provider of all good things; materially, financially, relationally and spiritually, then the Serpent has pretty much succeeded. The thought has become so deeply ingrained in us now that we barely notice that it is present.
Jesus spoke this out to the crowds who followed him, “Seek first the kingdom and it’s righteousness, and all these things will be added onto you.” Or the NLT states, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
So, that’s it? If we seek to live a kingdom lifestyle like Jesus, we will have everything else? What does that include? Does it include a fulfilling vocation? Does it include sufficient income? Does it include healthy and happy relationships?
What does the context before Jesus’ stunning statement include? The fifth chapter of Matthew includes all kinds of teachings on relationships and how we are to live in them. The sixth chapter of Matthew is entitled, “Money and Possessions.” Jesus’ kingdom seeking statement ends the sixth chapter as if to say, “Here is the key to a fulfilling life of healthy relationships and financial provision.”
It comes out of a priority of putting Jesus’ ways first, not after! Do you see the rub? We like to create our life and then fit Jesus’ priorities in around them. That isn’t what Jesus is teaching us, however. He wants us to discover his way of living life and then watch how he brings the rest to reality.
Missio Lux followed the worldly way this past weekend. Faced with the reality that our Celebration was scheduled over the Super Bowl, I decided to reschedule the Celebration, rather than challenge people to make a choice between the Super Bowl or the Celebration. There’s a good list of reasons why I made the choice, but digging deeper, I think I was unwilling to take the risk of having an empty room because people prioritized a football game (albeit the largest watched show on television history), over worshiping Jesus. We can rationalize our choice by saying “the Super Bowl only happens once per year,” but it is still a choice to put the worldly choice first.
Digging even deeper, was it more important to me to have a room full of people rather than to seek an amazing worship experience of the King? Would a few people have had a much deeper worship experience because we prioritized Jesus first if we had met over the Super Bowl? We won’t know the answer for this year; but the questions are definitely provocative.
What about you? Where are you consciously or sub-consciously choosing to put the world’s way first, and then fitting kingdom life around them?
Are you trusting your hard work at your employm
ent to get you the bonus or are you praying for Jesus to show you how to seek first his kingdom at work?
Are you trusting your vitamins, work out regimens and facial creams to help you to live a healthy lifestyle and look great, or are you seeking Jesus’ kingdom in a lifestyle that creates health?
Are you trusting your studying and testing patterns to win you the highest grades so you can go to graduate school, or are you seeking Jesus’ kingdom in your academic pursuit?
The list of opportunties to live a kingdom lifestyle with kingdom priorities never ends. It is the challenge of our lives as kingdom people!
This week, sit down and evaluate your days. Pray through them and ask Jesus to show you areas where you have misplaced priorities. When he shows you, ask him to help you make the shift from a worldly focus to an intentional kingdom focus. Watch and see how what happens. Journal it as a kairos moment and after you have reflected on it; tell someone else! Share how Jesus is taking us as disciples on the adventure called Life and making it intensely satisfying because our lives are aligning through seeking the Kingdom of God first!