But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
In my study life and feeding on the word, I have my favourites. For some reason, the old testament books of Moses, Kings & Judges, Psalms & Proverbs, books of the minor prophets and the letters from Paul are like my staple. They are power packed with stories, wisdom and learning that I can apply to my life.
If you look at things the way I do, I see the word truly as my spiritual food and these books could be my favourite fish – salmon, my favourite carbohydrate – bread 😊 whilst all other books are things I eat, like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower – I know they are good for me to live a balanced meal and provide nutrients I need them, so I eat them but do not necessarily like them. Sadly, for some reason the gospels have never moved me in a way the others do. I cannot say why, so I challenged myself years ago to study more and meditate more on the words of Jesus because after all, this IS the story of Christ, WHY I am a Christian (a believer of Jesus a follower of HIS words and ways). Have I done it? Nope! Again, one of my struggles.
But alas, I think I have a breakthrough. Once I find the root cause of why I do something, I can move forward. I realise I shy away from the gospels because Jesus was a revolutionary! He was not a respecter of persons, especially religious order. He challenged the way we think and reason; He challenged our hypocrisies and our self –righteousness; He spoke and no matter how great of a person you are, you would feel uncomfortable in one of the topics. He did this with love and kindness, yet his words cut through our hearts and convict us to bring about a change (if we are yielded, that is). I realise I stayed away out of discomfort.
Jesus created this stirring in me as he always does in Matthew 6. He spoke about many topics and doing things Gods way, namely giving, helping the needy, prayer, fasting, materialism, anxiety and God’s provision. This is a famous scripture reading. I could write many pages on the chapter, but I learned about the last phrase of this popular scripture we quote readily in a different way than before. We hope that when we seek God, he will give us blessings, almost in a ‘quid quo pro’ fashion. We were taught this growing up as Christians. Part of this is true, but though we say this, we still find ourselves praying for jobs, homes, cars, ‘prosperity’ as my country men like to say. We spend times in prayer and in anointing services, professing, confessing, even prophesying advancement and addition of ‘these things’ in our lives.
Friends, I need to say that these promises are a given, they will come, but they should not be and are not our focus! We need to get out of the prosperity mindset, fulfilling our desires and wants and using Gods word as tool for this sole purpose. We have literally taken things the other way around. We are praying first for added things and then seeking God and his righteousness second. This is the wrong order. God is a God of order – the process of creation was one of order; the building of the tabernacle was specific and one of order; His instructions to Moses, Joshua and many of the patriarchs of faith were specific and they followed order. Let’s not get it twisted, using the words of my millennial teenagers. Let us not be the generation that seek God’s hand instead of his face. Instead let us be like it was said of Moses,
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. (Psalm 103:7)
When we seek Him, he will show us His ways, we conform, and we are slowly transformed to become like Him, and amid this, we will see ‘these things’ added unto us in doses, measures as the Lord deems us fit to have and we are mature enough to manage. I will say no more, but ask yourself these questions:
1. What is your motive in following Christ? What are your expectations?
– Knowing Him, becoming more like Him, a desire to bring him glory? Or as a means to an end?
2. What makes up most of your prayer content?
– Prayer for things or prayers to know His will, to be refined and changed into his original design of who you are?
Pregnant pause!!!!This blog piece is for soul searching, challenging our beliefs and lives to shift and make changes. I speak to me as I speak to you. May the Holy Spirit guide us and give us grace to make required mindset changes. Amen.