In Matt. 6:33, Jesus was talking to His followers about how God provides for His own who trust in Him when He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
I often wonder these days how many people take these Words of Jesus seriously. Those of us who believe His Words must understand first of all that His righteousness is revealed in the Bible. Romans 1:16 Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’”.
To be able to trust in the righteousness of God for salvation, and His providing what we need in this life to live and to serve Him, we must have our priorities straight. We must seek His righteousness first as our number one priority, because only His righteousness can save us from sin and provide for us the things we need to glorify Him. And we must seek after it where it is revealed: in the gospel, the Bible. We must love the Truth in the Bible more than anything, including money.
Messed up priorities cloud one’s understanding of the Bible, which is why both Jesus and Paul warn us about the pursuit of material wealth (Luke 16:13; 1 Tim. 6:8-10). It is not a sin to be rich, but it is a sin to have messed up priorities. It will keep a person out of heaven. Putting one’s own will first in any area of his/her life causes one to hear only what he/she wants to hear, and to shut out the Truth. It will cause one to pick and choose favorite Scriptures and even twist them to mean what he/she wants them to mean, leaving this person blind to the Truth. This is what Paul was writing about in 2 Thess. 2:9-12. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the Truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness”.
Do not make the mistake of getting caught up in the debate over who the “Lawless one” is, or was. Nobody knows, and it will cause you to miss the point behind what Paul is telling us. We must love the Bible and put it first in our lives. It is the Word of God. It is the Truth. We must love it enough to continue to study it so we can know God’s will for us. It must be first in your life. The ultimate result of putting your own will above God’s is delusions about what His will really is. It will blind you to the Truth in His Word. “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness”, and be content with what you have as the result of your own labor, and He will provide.
Timothy Sundlie - Evangelist for the La Crosse church of Christ