Making it a practice to seek God first in the midst of the chaotic demands of daily life can feel like an impossible task. Yet God isn’t after our well planned routines; He’s after our hearts. In this article, Simone Griffin unpacks for us how to seek first the Kingdom of God and shares 3 practical ways we can begin today—and start living the abundant life He has promised us.
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I have fond memories of growing up in church and having a familiar routine during Sunday morning service. As a child, I was intrigued by the delicate, aged pages of the hymnals. I sat eagerly in the pews as we were directed to find the page numbers one by one and lift our voices together in worship. There was one song, “Seek Ye First,” that was particularly popular in the rotation of hymns. We’d sing these lyrics in harmony:
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Ask and it shall be given unto you
Seek and ye shall find
Knock and it shall be opened unto you
These lyrics are derived directly from Matthew 6:33, which states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
This raises the question: What does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of God?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
It’s easy to associate this Scripture with routines, like starting your morning with “coffee and Jesus” or a delightful morning quiet time. So what does seeking the Kingdom first look like in seasons where morning quiet times are impossible and an extended time in the Word is unattainable? How do we seek God first in the midst of the chaotic demands of daily life? A daily devotion and prayer time before sunrise doesn’t have to be our only answer.
When we look at this Scripture in context, we will begin to understand that Jesus isn’t after our well planned routines. He’s after our hearts.
Chapter 6 in Matthew is part of the Sermon on the Mount. During this entire sermon, Jesus is teaching His followers what it looks like to live a life following Him. He explains how we can be faithful in our relationships, our giving, our repentance, our pursuit of righteousness, and most importantly, in our devotion to Him.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus warns the people against placing their hope in earthly things. From there, He moves into teaching about anxiety and worry. He uses verses 25-34 to encourage them that worrying is unproductive and doesn’t change anything. It is in this passage that we find what it truly means to “seek ye first the Kingdom.”
Wisdom from Matthew 6
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34, NIV).
Seek Him First
I don’t know about you but these Scriptures make me feel seen and understood by God. Worrying about what we will eat and drink and wear seems like a part of my daily life. What will I cook for dinner? When will I be able to tackle the loads of laundry that appear to magically multiply?
Jesus is sharing some invaluable, timeless advice that can simplify our lives and bring us abundant peace if we truly believe it and live by it. In these verses, He’s showing us that worry often leads to hurry—an anxious mind, a busy body, and a life that is too full and too rushed to seek Him first.
HOW TO SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
If you’re in a season of desperately wanting to put the Kingdom first, but aren’t quite sure how to make this realistic for your daily life, I want to offer you three simple ways to put Christ at the forefront of your daily routine. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t involve two blissful hours of uninterrupted quiet time with coffee, candles, and a pretty sunrise.)
1. Consult God
As we begin our days, we can seek first the kingdom of God by simply consulting with Him. Consult, as defined by Oxford dictionary, means ‘to seek information or advice from someone with expertise in a particular area’.
God is an expert on our lives. One of His unfathomable character traits is that He is omniscient, indicating that He knows everything. Everything. He knows the temptations that await each one of us individually as soon as we open our eyes in the morning. He knows the phone calls we have to make each day, the hard conversations we have to have, and the emails we have to send to handle business. And He knows the joys and sorrows that we will experience with every sunrise.
With this in mind, we can simply begin our day by asking him, “God, what do I need to prioritize today? Will You be gracious enough to provide me with wisdom as I make decisions about how to utilize my time? Let Your will be done in my life today.”
Invite Him In
This is a plain invitation to God, welcoming Him into our day and acknowledging that He is sovereign over our schedules. If He is leading and guiding our day from the start, it doesn’t guarantee that we won’t have difficulties. However, it guarantees that we will have victory in the midst of whatever trial is set before us because Jesus is our daily Hope.
Ephesians 5:15-17 admonishes us with these words, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (CSB).
In the absence of consulting with God, we leave an open door to our hearts that the enemy would love to walk through. As a mother, I’d love my children to consult with me before they walk out into the world that is ready to influence them each day. I’d be thrilled by their desire for me to direct their paths. Our heavenly Father desires this same earnest seeking from us.
Let’s “make the most of our time” by directly asking God to reveal where and how we can best be used as we begin our days.
2. Converse With God
One of the great gifts we can be grateful for is the presence of the Holy Spirit. Because we have the Holy Spirit living within us, we have unlimited access to the God of the Universe! Praise the Lord that we don’t have to go to a holy temple to pray. We can literally converse with Him all throughout the day, regardless of the time or place. Why wouldn’t we be eager to take advantage of that opportunity?
In John 15:15, Jesus shares some good news with us. He says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus calls us “friends.” Can you wrap your mind around the magnitude of that privilege? How do you treat your friends? Do you neglect them and make them feel like an afterthought? Or do you confide in them so that they can rejoice with you and weep with you?
Seek Him As Friend
Consider the many ways we connect with our friends throughout the day. Even when distance or lack of time physically separates me from my friends, I find a way to chat with them about life. I text them or call them. I send them messages or comments on social media. And more recently, I use apps like Voxer or Marco Polo to be able to speak to them and share with them at any time of day if something is on my heart. I openly express my fears, my sin, my accomplishments, and my failures. And they are waiting to listen and make me feel seen.
Sisters, Jesus is a safe place. What a Friend we have in Him! Seeking Him as our first and most trusted Friend means that we run to Him in prayer before running to others for advice.
He has made it so simple, too. Whether we are driving around in the car doing a million errands, folding laundry, cooking, working, or exercising, He is right there whispering: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
3. Confess to God
Inevitably, we will make mistakes. Our sinful flesh will fail ourselves and our loved ones. But we have the gift of confession. Have you ever considered confession a gift?
God doesn’t encourage us to confess our sins for His benefit. He gains nothing from our confession. He tells us to confess for our own good. When we carry sin, it weighs us down. Guilt and shame are burdens that break us when we try to bear them on our own. We simply cannot bear these burdens and simultaneously live abundant lives.
1 John 1:9 promises us this: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus wants us to seek the forgiveness and redemption that He offers. He even reminds us in Romans 8:1 that, “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We don’t have to be like Adam and Eve who bottled up their sin and hid from God. We need to seek Him when we’re sinking in sin to avoid drowning.
MAKE IT A MISSION TO SEEK GOD FIRST
Friends, let’s re-evaluate what it means to seek the Kingdom of God first. Let’s throw away our excuses about the lack of time we have and the lack of quiet we have, and let’s make it our mission to consult God, converse with God, and confess to God as the anchor of our rhythms and routines.
Our lives are bound to be more rich as we fully incorporate Him into our days and our decisions. And as we chase after Him in obedience, His will for each moment of our lives will be made clear.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
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Awesome and timely! Thank you!
What wisdom for a new beginning in 2023! In all our seeking, may we seek HIM first!
Simone, I am so proud of you and humbled to realize I had a tiny part in your education. This article is beautifully articulated & written. I’m planning to use it for a devotion at my church circle. May Gos bless you Ana’s your family.
Blessings, Melinda Gulick