“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Ever noticed how this verse is often used as a “magic spell”? I do it. If I am particularly stressed about a situation and realize that I have not had “sufficient” time with the Lord (whatever that means). I recite this verse. My thinking is quite selfish. I deduce that the best way to get what I want in that instant, is to read a verse or two, pray, then miraculously expect to receive what I was wanting in the first place. And, I have the nerve to get angry when it doesn’t “work”.
In a recent experience, the moment I felt anger rise up, another passage jammed its way into my mind “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but you don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you do ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” James 4:1-3.
I wish I could say that my first response was repentance. It was more like “God, how are you going to call me out like that???” Then, I laughed. And eventually repented.
He was right (not surprisingly). My seeking God, His kingdom and His righteousness is to come from a desire to know Him and please Him. It is to come from a place of wanting to love Him with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. Not in anticipation of the things I want Him to do, but, in gratefulness for what He has already done. I love that the passage in Matthew begins with His reminder to look at the lilies and the birds and His care for them and how we are more valuable to Him. They have done nothing to earn His care. He does it because it is His character. He knows what we need. He says to me, you take care of getting to know me, loving me, seeking my heart for you, I’ll handle all the “little” stuff. So, the seeking isn’t a magic formula after all. It comes from a place of trusting God to handle my life, while I handle enjoying Him.