One of the most often memorized verses in Scripture is Matthew 6:33 which reads:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
This comes at the end of a section of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus it talking about trusting that God will meet the believer’s needs. Jesus is saying that rather than worrying about food and clothing, we should seek God’s rule in ourselves and others and seek to pursue his righteousness.
Due to the fact that Jesus felt the need to highlight this concept in his sermon, I am confident that I am not the only one who needs to be frequently reminded about the priority that I should have.
The verb “seek” is a command. Jesus is not making this optional for the believer. And we are not only to seek but to seek first, before anything else. Jesus’ reign and sovereignty on earth should be my first priority. But truthfully, I often function in a way where Jesus’ kingdom is not my first priority.
I often fall into the trap of pursuing what I think will provide for my physical and emotional needs. This, despite Jesus telling me that I don’t need to worry about these things.
When I fail in prioritizing Jesus’ reign, I find that I focus on the wrong things, and this misplaced focus strains my relationships, especially with those closest to me. My stress level goes up, and I put stress on those around me.
Falling into this trap does damage to those around me and also does damage to me.
There is a part of me that feels that I should be able to stay out of the trap of misplaced priorities. After all, I’ve been a believer for a long time now. But alas, I frequently do indeed get this wrong.
But the feeling of “I should be farther along in this” is an error in itself. The whole point of the gospel is that my heart is sure to go wrong without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and his support in pursuing the right path.
The only way to recover from misplaced priorities is to repent and seek forgiveness for my selfish focus while trusting that God can heal the damage that I do to others when I fail.