But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
If there is anything that concerns a family man, is how to make sure he earns enough to provide for his family. He wants to make sure that there is food in the house, that his children attend good schools, that he provides accommodation and that they enjoy the basic things in life. Sometimes this can be a burden in the mind of who is concerned.
In the Old testament based on the provisions in the law, prosperity was covered. God would make sure that they were blessed enough to meet up all their needs. But there was something involved!
It was contingent on your ability to be faithful and keep the law. So if you saw any rich man in the Old Testament, he was probably Righteous in terms on terms of reckoning with the demands of the law. His self-righteousness was a ticket to the blessing of the Old covenant.
That explained why most of them were cold and not compassionate. If you wanted to enjoy life, “Go and pay your own dues”
When Jesus told them to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, he wasn’t telling them to be very committed in the activities in the temple, be faithful to pay all their offerings and tithes, keep every word of the law. They were already doing this as Jews. I believe we have grown up thinking that seeking the kingdom is our performance for God and the church we belong.
Seeking the kingdom was a total departure from what they had known as Jews. Seeking the kingdom was going into the place that the Messiah they had longed expected was to bring on earth. How were they to enter this kingdom?
14Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1)
The same verse is also echoed in Matthew 4 before Jesus told them in chapter 6 to seek the kingdom. They needed to repent. What is repentance in this regard?
The Greek word for “repent” means “a change of mind” and that definition is universal throughout the New Testament. When the Word speaks of repentance it is talking about man changing the way he thinks or the way that he views a situation.
He was bringing them to understand God as the father who was interested in their welfare. Not only is He interested but also committed to provide as a shepherd over the pasture. He started by presenting a God cares about us having the things of life. He wants us to have all these things. In fact, He wants all these things added to us.
He tells us that the way these things are added to us by the father is by us seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Therefore, our number one priority every day is to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Seeking our righteousness would mean the things we do and our performance to gain the blessings through our efforts. He was speaking to the roots of their life as Jews. If you want to enjoy the goodness of the father without struggle, labour to enter His rest.
He was also pointing to the establishment of God’s kingdom that would manifest from the advert of the New covenant. The early Church looked forward to the coming of the new [Kingdom] age. As they were taught by Jesus they knew that, with the visible end of the Old Covenant system, the Church would be revealed as the new, true Temple; and the work Christ came to perform would be accomplished.
This was was a vital aspect of redemption, and the first-generation Christians looked forward to this event in their own lifetime. During this period of transition, the apostle Peter assured his brethren in their trials that they were “protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). They were on the very threshold of the new world, which was God’s kingdom on earth.
The Righteousness Part?
But what is righteousness? Righteousness is not right behavior. It is right standing with the Father. It is the clearance of all your guilt, which makes you able to stand before God. It is not something you get through right behavior. It is a gift from God. Paul calls it “the gift of righteousness”. (Romans 5:17) And to “seek” this gift is to be conscious of the fact that you have it, to confess that you are righteous in Christ.
What was Israel’s problem? They were trying to get this blessings by seeking their own righteousness.
“Dear brothers, the longing of my heart and my prayer is that the Jewish people might be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for the honor of God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand that Christ has died to make them right with God. Instead they are trying to make themselves good enough to gain God’s favor by keeping the Jewish laws and customs, but that is not God’s way of salvation. 4 They don’t understand that Christ gives to those who trust in him everything they are trying to get by keeping his laws. He ends all of that.” (Romans 10:1-4)
So this righteousness we are told to seek is not right behavior, but right standing before God, which comes to us as a gift when we receive salvation. At the cross, Jesus didn’t just remove our sins, He also gave us His righteousness so that today, we can come boldly before the throne of God and receive freely everything that He died to give us!
So today, if you want to provide your family with the good things in life, be assured that your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. Just seek His righteousness, not your own righteousness, and “all these things shall be added to you”!
Don’t depend on your performance for the good things in life but rejoice in His grace towards you.
Believe it is at work and that you are now His righteousness therefore He is adding the things that gentiles are pursuing into your life.