Sunday, August 17, 2014

Seek First

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.      Matthew 6:33  NKJV

I suspect that most of us, in one way or another, receive instructions of some kind most every day of our lives.  Instructions are a guide to help us accomplish a goal in the most efficient and productive way possible while avoiding the pitfalls that follow from a lack of direction.  Who among us has not at one time or another thought we could assemble something, or perform a task without following the instructions and paid the price for our overconfidence?  Eventually, usually from painful experience, we learn the lesson to follow the guidance received from instruction.

In this passage from Matthew, our Lord was giving instruction to His listeners concerning the priorities they should have as true believers.  His instructions to them were to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”, while having faith that God would not only see, but provide for their other needs.  How contrary to what the world would advise are these instructions from Jesus to His believers?  How many of us spend time every day laying out plans which revolve around providing for our own needs by our own efforts rather than following the advice given us by our Lord?

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.       Hebrews 11:6-7  NKJV

Have you ever considered the possibility that your actions are displeasing to God?  In these verses we are told that “without faith it is impossible to please Him”.  We do that by setting aside our own priorities and making our first priority to actively “seek Him”.  How do we do that?  I think most of us have experienced the emotion of falling in love, or at the very least believing we are.  Did that emotion cause you to alter your daily life?  Did your priorities suddenly change?  I think we can all think back to that time and agree that it had a profound effect in our lives.  Here are three ways I believe we can show we are seeking God first.

Seek to know God.

“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”           Exodus 33:13  NKJV

In this prayer, Moses tells the Father that his desire is to “know” Him.  The Hebrew word for know is “yada’” which is translated; to learn to know, perceive, discern, distinguish, to know by experience.  Obviously this is not referring to a casual friendship, but rather a deep, serious relationship where Moses wants to understand how God thinks, what He wants, and how best to serve Him.  This is an example of a desire to totally commit oneself to understanding God and His ways in order to please Him by doing only those things which we know He would approve of.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.    1 John 4:7-8  NKJV

Seek to experience the presence of God.

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.       Psalms 27:8-9  NKJV

How important is it to you to spend time in the company of someone you love?  Most of us can relate to, and understand the desire to spend time with the one we love.  In this passage we see exactly how important it was to David to spend time in the presence of God.  The desire of his heart was to “seek” the face of God and to experience a relationship where the possibility of separation was so frightening to David that he literally pleads with God not to hide his face from him.  How much time do you think believers should spend with God compared with the time spent on other relationships?

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.                 1 Peter 2:1-3  NKJV 

Seek to see God’s glory.

[[A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.]] O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.            Psalms 63:1-3  NKJV

When I think about the glory of God I think of two things.  The first is what happens in the Bible whenever someone experienced the glory of God firsthand, and that is that they immediately fell on their faces in worship to Him.  The presence of the Glory of God produces worship, and I can think of no other desire that shows a believers love for God than the desire to worship Him.  The second is that those who experienced His glory firsthand had an immediate change in their physical appearance.  Have you had the opportunity to observe the change in someone when they think they are in love?  When we as believers seek God’s glory, it will reflect in our outward appearance.

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.          2 Corinthians 4:6  NKJV

Do you “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”?  Is your relationship with Him the most important relationship you have?  If so, that love should be obvious to everyone we come in contact with.  How?  Our desire will be to study His ways until we know exactly what He would want us to do in any situation.  We will want to spend as much time with Him as we possibly can in order to experience the love He has for us.  Most of all as we seek to worship Him we will reflect His glory in such a way as to show the world that the love He has for us is a life changing love which is available in no other than a personal relationship with Him through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Romans 14:16-17  NKJV

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