Jesus said, "But seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6: 33).

This passage is simple and its message plain. Its words contain the essential characteristics of discipleship. Let us look closer.

First: -- There is something of importance that must be sought. It is the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The kingdom can be defined simply as God's rule in our lives. His righteousness has reference to the pattern of right living that He exhibits Himself and that He expects of His people. Simply put, God wants us to live by His standards, not our own. Many have sought their own way in religion and in life to their own destruction (Prov. 14:12).

Second: -- There is an effort to be put forth. We must seek His kingdom. One does not become righteous merely by living close to someone who is righteous. God does not take a man by force and make him live right. We have the power of choice. We must exercise our own will and self discipline and choose right above wrong, God's way above others. Faith without obedience is useless (Jas. 2:20).

Third: -- There is a priority to observe. "Seek first His kingdom..." There are a lot of important things in life, important choices we make; the career we choose, whom we choose to marry, and how we spend huge chunks of money in the purchase of homes and automobiles. But no choice is so significant as the priorities we observe. As important as family and friends are, nothing should come before the Lord in our lives. The truth of the matter is that, in pursuit of God's righteousness, man must make an honest living to provide for his own. Further, God expects man to meet the wide spectrum of needs found in his family -- the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. But, in all of our duties God expects us to be guided by His righteousness and be subject to His rule.

Fourth: -- There is a blessing to be enjoyed. "And all these things shall be added to you..." The context of this verse is talking about the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, and shelter. God has never unconditionally promised riches and abundance to His people. In fact, both scripture and personal observation demonstrate that godly folks often live in humble circumstances. There are exceptions, but modesty and moderation is the general rule. I might observe along with David that, "I have been young, and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread" (Psa. 37:25 NASB). The promise that God holds out to all of those who will seek Him is this: "I will not leave you alone. I will be there to meet the real needs of your life."

The beautiful message of this verse and its context is that God will never fail the seeking soul. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matt. 5:6).

Author Unknown via The Jackson Drive Reporter, Dec. 31, 2006.

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