Matthew 6:33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
As I had pointed out to me, a lot of commentators ignore the 'and his righteousness' and I do believe that part of that is because we as humans like to ignore the idea that Romans 3:23 explains so clearly "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Which of course means we need a saviour - salvation - a means to be righteous (right with God). But no one wants to acknowledge that, no one wants to admit that "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10). We want to believe that we can save ourselves.
I saw Interstellar recently and despite it being a fantastically looking movie one thing irked me: the concept of salvation as made visible by the film. It started off by saying that we need external supernatural powers to save us from death on a decaying Earth and then ended with circular logic, pointing instead to the idea that we can save ourselves. My inner alarm went off because no, we cannot save ourselves in the end. There is no human power capable of doing anything like that.
The problem though is that, in recognising this, some turn 'seeking his righteousness' into a religious act of purification. The ages-old idea of 'if I could only be good enough for God to see me as right'. But the only way for God to see you righteously is not by you changing yourself - not by you making yourself righteous. That's like saying you can clean up a filthy car with a filthy sponge and make it better than new. No, the only way to be righteous is for God to act and provide the means. And fortunately he does through Christ's sacrifice and the provision of the Holy Spirit.
So what does 'seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness' mean to me? Well it's a concept I'm starting to grasp and it revolves around my previous blog post about faith and in particular the concept of the trinity of faith, hope and love. I said that hope is the soul's anchor, faith is the active power of knowing God - of having hope - and love unites and binds everything together in perfect unity because God himself is love and he is One.
I'm getting closer now however to seeing that what it all needs to be about is a change of perspective. That the greatest sin I could ever commit is to reject the plans and promises of my God and my Lord - to put him to the side and do it alone. Sure none of us are perfect so we do mess everything up from time to time. However, seeking first his kingdom and righteousness is to place him at the center and say 'God I ask that you guide my path in what work I do, what university course I take, who I focus my attention on today, who I choose to love, what I choose to do with my money.' And when you start to do that? It means that the fear of the future and uncertainty begins to slip away and the things you desire and seek fall in alongside you.
All in all, in short: seeking a new job? Getting into trouble with the law? Wanting to find a wife or husband? Hoping to make new connections you can bring to Christ? Wondering what your purpose is? All these things are solved by the one thing in the world that is so simple and yet so difficult: to come to know him and his heart first and foremost.
I'll close this blog with two links to songs that I've been listening to a fair amount because they really contain those exact ideas for me. The first is A Little Closer by Group 1 Crew and the second is Mercy Me's Greater. A Little Closer really covers the idea of getting closer to understanding and knowing God more and more intimately in your life and Greater really explains the idea of God's power being alive and active as you understand more and more just who he is!