But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
The "all these things" which our Lord is speaking about in this passage are those things that we, in our human state, are anxious about .... Will we have enough to eat? Will we be comfortable in terms of our living conditions? These are the material things which have little value when compared to our eternal state.
Just prior to this Scripture, in verse 32, Jesus tells us that our Father is already aware of the things we need. We shouldn't even bother worrying about whether he is aware or not ... He is! So Jesus tells us the most important thing we can do is, first, to seek the kingdom of God. I think He wants us to realize that unlike our earthly existence, which is finite and physical, this kingdom of God is eternal and spiritual.
This existence on earth is governed by our natural appetites and the influence of Satan. The kingdom of God is subject to His moral and just character and can be ours when we are "born again" into a new spiritual relationship with the Sovereign God of the Universe; who is Ruler over all creation, both heaven and earth. Therefore, our preoccupation with this mortal and imperfect life is futile and for naught.
While many of us understand this concept, I would venture that more than a few tend to ignore or forget the second part of Christ's counsel: seek also His righteousness. I'm afraid that, too many times, "born again Christians" accept that new spiritual relationship with God and His gift of salvation, and think they are home free. But Christ plainly tells us that this new relationship also requires us to seek His righteousness; to become more like Him. That means we should be trying to live our lives like Jesus would. I think we can all agree that that looks a lot different than our average daily lives.
It is not enough to accept the gift of salvation without consciously trying to live a moral and upright life, following in Jesus's footsteps. That means watching the language we use; making good decisions about the TV shows and movies we watch, and the books and magazines we read; and being conscious of our thoughts and actions towards others. That sounds easy enough, right? You might think all is well and good. You could even be saying to yourself, "I'm doing a pretty good job in all those areas."
But let me ask you a couple of questions. Did you notice that your elderly neighbor's lawn needed mowing, and did you offer to mow it for him; or just continue with your own plans? Did you see a young mother at the grocery store struggling to lift heavy bags into her car, and offer to help; or did you stroll on by? Were you tempted to read all the latest salacious gossip online or view photos that you know are not virtuous or decent; or did you choose to keep those thoughts and images from sowing their seeds of sinfulness? These are situations that we are all faced with in our daily lives.
So now let me ask you one final question: If you found yourself sitting side-by-side with Jesus on the couch as he surveyed every aspect of your life this last week, would you be confident, or would you be cringing? Yes, it is important to accept God's grace and look towards the hope of eternal life in His kingdom, but while we are still here on earth, we are not given a "get-home-free" card. We must also take the radical steps to live a more righteous life; to change who we are, to become more like our Savior. And it is a minute-by-minute, and day-by-day journey. It's not easy. But unless we commit to changing, then we are only half-way to God's desire for us.
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