“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
To seek means to go after, to strive for, to pursue or to aim at. What we are to go after, strive for and to aim at is the Kingdom of God or Jesus’ rule in our lives. The idea is Jesus’ rule would be seen in every area of our lives. To strive for Jesus to rule in every area of our lives will require us to prioritize our lives around this goal.
If you are like me you when were taught priorities you were taught a list like this, God, family (spouse and kids), work (job), money. For quite a while I thought that this was the way that you were supposed to set up your priorities. At this point in my life I no longer think that this is correct. It’s not so much that this list is wrong or it is out of order. It’s more that to set this list up in this fashion seems incomplete.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV) Everything we do, down to eating and drinking, are to be done for the glory of God.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17 NKJV) Think about what this is saying. Whatever we do in word or deed, we are to do as representatives of Jesus Christ. Every single word we speak is to be spoken as a representative of Jesus Christ. Every single thing we do is to be done as a representative of Jesus Christ.
I doubt any of this is new information to many people. What I want us to see is how this connects to the idea of prioritizing our lives. The list we looked at earlier isn’t a bad list. These are the things that are in our lives and are important to our lives. Since these things are in our lives and important to our lives they may still make up our priority list, but not in a compartmentalized way. Here is what often happens.
We have this list, God, family (spouse and kids), work (job), money and what we tend to do is build a compartment for each thing on our list. I have my God compartment. I have my family compartment. I have my work compartment. I have my money compartment. Rarely do these compartments crossover to where one impacts the other. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Instead God is to be an active and integral part of every aspect of my life. In fact it is God that should drive what I do in every aspect of my life.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1 NKJV) Paul is begging us to devote ourselves to God because of all that God has done for us. While we know this, I think we often misunderstand how far this devotion is to extend. One of the things that helped me really understand this is Eugene Peterson’s translation of this verse in his paraphrase The Message.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (Romans 12:1 MSG)
I love this because it is exactly the idea here. It’s not that have a God compartment in my life and that I am sure to give it priority attention every day. It’s that my life is one big compartment and Jesus rules all of it. What I should be doing is seeking to find out what Jesus wants me to do in each of these areas of my life and then do that. This will require us to prioritize our lives because if we were to be honest most of us don’t seek Jesus’ will in many of these areas of our lives. When I prioritize my life around seeking Jesus’ rule in my life things will change in each one of these areas of my life. Even the way I look at these things changes.
A God compartment becomes, What does Jesus want me to do in my relationship with Him? When Jesus rules in my life I will try to find and do what He wants me to in regards to my relationship with Him. Does Jesus want me to start a daily quite time? Does Jesus want me to start a daily time of prayer? Does Jesus want me to increase quite time or my prayer time? Does Jesus want me to tell someone about Him?
A family compartment becomes, What does Jesus want me to do in regards to my family? Does Jesus want me to work on loving my wife as Christ loves the Church? Does Jesus want me to work on taking better care of my husband and children? Does Jesus want me to start a family worship time? Does Jesus want me to put more effort into training up my children in the way they should go?
A work compartment becomes, What does Jesus want me to do on the job? Does Jesus want me to see my job as a way I can serve Him? Does Jesus want me to work for my employer as if I were working for Him? Does Jesus want me to treat my coworkers better? Does Jesus want me to put others ahead of myself on the job? Does Jesus want me to treat those who work for me with more respect and dignity?
A money compartment becomes, What does Jesus want me to do with my money? Does Jesus want me to give to missions? Does Jesus want me to work toward getting out of debt? Does Jesus want me to trust Him and quit stressing over money? Does Jesus want me to buy groceries or pay a bill for the family down the street that is financially struggling?
Do you see how things change when we prioritize our lives around Jesus’ rule in our lives? As I read Scripture this is the way it’s supposed to be. The whole of our lives is to be lived under Jesus’ rule and in seeking His will. What really bothers me about this is that this isn’t as evident in my life as I want it to be. It kills me how much I seek Stacy’s rule and Stacy’s will instead of Jesus’ rule and Jesus’ will. This is something I’m determined to change this year. If we are going to seek Jesus’ rule in our lives we must start by prioritizing our lives around this.
What area of your life do you need to work on this the most? How are you going to work on it?