“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
WHAT BLESSINGS ARE INCLUDED IN “THESE THINGS” THAT WILL BE ADDED WHEN WE SEEK FIRST GOD’S RULE AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS? When He made this statement, Jesus was speaking of temporal needs like food and clothing. But doesn’t the principle of putting first things first apply even to “these things” that are of a spiritual nature? Even when the blessings that we seek are spiritual, we must not seek them for selfish reasons or personal benefit. God is not to be sought for what we can get out of Him; He is to be sought for what we long to give to Him. We were created to enjoy a relationship that revolves around Him, not around us. Only when we get this priority fixed in our minds and seek God first will other things fall into their rightful place.
Although spiritual blessings are higher than temporal ones, they are the same in that they come to us indirectly as we seek God, not directly as we seek our own desires. The example of happiness is a good one. It is a much sought-after temporal blessing, but ironically, it eludes us when we pursue it for its own sake. Instead, it comes to us indirectly, as a by-product of contributing to others’ happiness. And spiritual blessings, at least in this regard, are no different. The strength we desire doesn’t come by focusing on our own needs, however spiritual those needs may be. These things are by-products of focusing on God. If we’re obsessed with ourselves (Are we getting the help we need with our problems?), it’s not likely that we’ll find what we’re looking for.
A. W. Tozer once wrote, “Selfishness is never so exquisitely selfish as when it is on its knees. Self can turn what would otherwise be a pure and powerful prayer into a weak and ineffective one.” Our prayers must not be self-centered, but God-centered. It is when we’re weak that we’re strong. We find ourselves when we forget ourselves. Having been made for the purpose of showing forth His goodness and His glory, we find our lives when we lose them in His. When we seek Him first — not His blessings, but God Himself — all “these things” will be added to us.
“Live out your life in its full meaning; it is God’s life” (Josiah Royce).