Passage of the Day: Matthew 6: 33 … But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
My Journal for Today: Today’s pronouncement by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount is a simple but powerful promise wrapped in a simple, but powerful, exhortation; and for those who look for equations and formulae for living, here is a formula for our receiving God’s providence to meet our needs. Paraphrased, Jesus states, “Christian, if you go after the things of My kingdom and My righteousness as your #1 priorities, I’ll make sure that you have everything you need.” However, I’m afraid we Christians all too often forget (or ignore) this powerful formula in our lives; and we go after our own priorities above those of God’s, and then we complain, thinking that we are entitled to God’s best.
The Apostle Paul, when you read about his exploits in Acts 20: 22 – 24, had his priorities straight according to the teachings of Jesus above. Historically, here was Paul, called to Jerusalem and facing many potentially life-threatening dangers; and Paul says in verse 24, “…I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” Now that’s putting God first; … and that is seeking the Kingdom of God even in the midst of life-threatening circumstances. This was exactly the attitude to which Jesus exhorted His followers above in today’s focus verse.
When we, as believers, finally internalize this teaching and command from Christ, we will set aside our selfishness, our greed, and our pride for worldly things. And we’ll jettison the lusts of the flesh as well; and like Paul, we’ll be driven to seek after God and His righteousness. My Pastor and friend, Dr. Ernie Frey, has called this attitude a “holy discontent.” And that’s an apt term to describe the continual tension between what we want and what we need. It’s the battle between our sin nature and our Holy Spirit converted heart; and it may be resolved somewhat as we go deeper into a more abiding and intimate relationship with Christ; but I’m afraid my interpretation of Scripture has us involved in such battles until we are with Jesus in heaven.
And so, we are continually confronted by the Holy and perfect truths of Romans 8: 28, 1st Corinthians 10: 13, 2nd Corinthians 12: 9, 2nd Peter 1: 3 - 4, as well as the great commission in Matthew 28: 19 – 20, where we are challenged to move forward for God’s kingdom, knowing and believing that God will give us all we need to do what He calls us to do. This is, and should be, our “holy discontent,” driving us ever onward, in spite of our selfish desires, to focus on God’s MAIN THING – know Him and doing His will.
An again, as Matt. 6: 33 declares, if we can keep the MAIN THING always the MAIN THING, Jesus promises HE will always provide us with what we need. So, on this last day of this month’s devotionals, no more need be said about God’s providence and our stewardship than that. We just need to believe it and live it as Jesus lived it; and He’ll take care of us in the process.
My Prayer Today: Lord, I seek You above all! Amen
Blogger’s Note: Well, that’s my last devotional from John MacArthur for this month. Now it’s on to a different topic from Strength for Today in September. This will cover our relationship with God, the Holy Spirit. Personally, I can always go deeper in that relationship; so, I hope that you may be led to join me in this quest for enlightenment by God’s Spirit, Himself, as I seek to go deeper in my understanding of the One Who is my Advocate before the throne of God.