It can’t be denied that the chart-topping campfire praise chorus of the 1980’s was Kum By Yah, My Lord. And surely taking second place on the same song chart was the well-known hit, which was based solely on Scripture, Seek Ye First. Thirty years ago, if any church youth group in America gathered around a firepit, the students would undoubtedly end up singing both of these beloved worship choruses.
As a matter of fact, Seek Ye First was so frequently sung by my own youth group that, now, I can hardly read its lyrics (Matthew 6:33) from the Bible without the song’s melody accompanying each word. I wonder … Can any church-going child of the eighties speak or read Matthew 6:33 without his or her voice offering a hint of the tune? It’s hard to do; isn’t it, my friend? Many of us know this passage so very well. Matthew 6:33 has been a significant part of our spiritual walks, whether the verse was studied privately or sung corporately in worship.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Al-le-lu. Al-le-lu-ia
Matthew 6:33 (italics – my inflection)
God directed me to this passage just the other day, and during my fellowship with Him, the Holy Spirit tenderly convicted me. This verse is distinctly an imperative statement. It is a command! We are to be seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness. We are to pursue, desire, and strive for two specific realities within our lives: the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness. The kingdom of God and His righteousness – What does this mean? There are collections of commentary notes on these two pursuits, but for me, the meanings are most impacting when they are defined as follows: The kingdom of God is the rule of Christ in my life, and His righteousness is a sanctified life (the characteristic of Christ Himself). This verse admonishes me to consistently seek Christ’s rule in my life and a sanctified, set apart life as Christ lived before us.
I prayerfully considered these two spiritual quests – Christ’s rule and a sanctified life, and I began to see clearly that I had a lot of surrendering to do.
There is also rich meaning in another of the passage’s words – first. The charge is for you and for me to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Surrendering to Christ’s rule and sanctification within our lives is to be first – our first priority, our first passion, our first pursuit. And oh, how I have neglected that precedence.
Each day, my friend, God’s ultimate intent for you and for me is for us to seek, above and beyond all else, a sanctified life that is ruled by Jesus. That’s a big thought; isn’t it?
You may be like me, in that you wake up most mornings with the tasks of your day already set before you. You and I determine the priorities and goals for our day many times before going to sleep the night before. Some of these “plans for today” include tasks that are worthy, good deeds that will serve God and others. But, oh my friend, after considering Matthew 6:33, I had to ask myself – and you may need to ask yourself, as well – What is my first priority for today? Is seeking after Christ’s rule and His sanctified life my main aim for today?
Yes, I believe we can (and we are called to) go about our lives conducting good deeds. We can deliver the casserole to our aging neighbor. We can prepare a devotional for our study group. We can tackle the loads of laundry as “keepers of the home.” We can type a blog post that may encourage its readers to turn their thoughts toward the Father. But in and through all of our self-assigned projects for each day, there must be a calling and surrender to Christ’s commission …
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness!
Won’t you think on that with me today?