God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Seek God First

"Seek first [be concerned above all else with] God's kingdom & what God wants...."
Matthew 6:33(a), EXB

I want to share another Joyce Meyer devotional reading with you this morning.  It is based on Matthew 6:33.  I love how the Expanded Bible translates this verse.  Here is what Joyce has to say ...

"Have you ever thought, 'What is my purpose in life?'  Each of us wants to feel we have a purpose ... that we're making a meaningful difference in the world.

God has a purpose for each of us, & that is to do right & glorify God.

How do you pursue your purpose?  By getting up each day & putting God first. There are many other things we may be tempted to chase after ... job position, education, relationship, money, material possessions, & so on.  But too often when you attain these things your life is just as empty & unfulfilled as when you started."

If you are familiar with the Bible, then you have noticed that I did not include Part (b) in the above verse translation.  

"Then all your needs will be met as well [these things will be given to you]."

What things?  In this particular section of Matthew 6, Jesus is telling us not to worry about things ... what we will eat, what we will drink, & what we will wear.  Food, drink, & clothing ... daily necessities.  Unfortunately, some people take Matthew 6:33 out of context.  They mistakenly believe that God is telling them that if they will get up in the morning & say some prayers before they get out of bed, maybe read a chapter in the Bible as well, that God will honor them by giving them anything they want.  This, of course, is not what God is saying.  I did not include the last line of Joyce's devotional reading above because I think it sort of reinforces this mistaken belief.  

"God knows what you need & is well aware of your heart's desires, & He will grant them if you will just pursue your purpose by seeking Him first."

I'm certainly not more in touch with God than Joyce Meyer is, nor am I as well versed in the Bible as she is.  I am not sitting here on a high horse with a smug look on my face & a judgmental spirit in my heart when I say that Joyce should have thought a little more about this last line before she included it in this devotional reading.  I am not being critical of Joyce, I just believe that at the time she wrote it she maybe wasn't thinking how it might be misconstrued.  

God will give us our heart's desires when they line up with His will.  If our heart's desires are to get closer to Him, to obey Him, & to understand His Word as much as we possibly can, He will certainly grant us these things when we seek Him for them.  If, however, our heart's desires are literal things ... a new car, a bigger house, a new job, or a move to another state, for example ... then we are on the wrong track.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't ask God for these kinds of things, but He knows better than we do what's good for us.  We may be convinced that if we could only find another job or buy a bigger house that our lives would be happier, but God knows best.

My post this morning has not been written to bash Joyce Meyer, nor has it been written to say that asking God for things like homes, cars, promotions, or a week's vacation in Hawaii is wrong.  I have written this post to focus on Matthew 6:33(a) ... "Seek first [be concerned above all else with] God's kingdom & what God wants...."  It is my goal to just concentrate on this particular part of Matthew 6:33 ... to be concerned above all else with what God wants ... without expecting anything in return.  I want to do what He wants me to do.  I want to have what He wants me to have.  I want to be what He wants me to be.  I want to honor Him with the life He has given me. These are the things I seek.