The kingdom of God:
Read Matthew 6:25-33
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
What causes us to be so anxious in life? It is estimated that approximately 20% of adults in the United States experience some type of anxiety disorder each year. Furthermore, approximately 1/3 of the population will be affected by an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. But what makes us anxious? While there are many reasons why people experience different levels and effects of anxiety, Christ points to the root issue: the fear we have about the future and our personal well-being. We feel anxious when our circumstances and trials threaten our dreams and aspirations. Of all the things we desire, the most critical are our desires for personal security, well-being, and the fulfillment of our dreams. When these things are threatening, we become anxious and worried. We become concerned about covid 19 and its long-term effect on our health, economic stability, and even the future of our country. We become anxious over the events in the news that create cracks in our security. We become worried when our dreams seem to be destroyed by circumstances outside our control. We live in fear because we feel so vulnerable.
In this passage, Christ does not address our feelings of anxiety; instead, he addresses the focus of our life. We are worried about the future because we are pursuing the wrong goals, and false dreams are driving us. When our lives become driven by present circumstances and future dreams, life becomes tenuous at best. Instead of controlling our destiny, we are daily reminded that our fate remains elusive and outside our control. This is not to say that planning and dreams are a waste of time and energy. On the contrary, it is part of our God-given nature to plan for the future. However, when our planning and ambitions our driven by our own desires rather than God’s directive will, then we pursue what we cannot attain.
What Christ seeks to rearrange is the underlying foundation for all our plans and aspirations. That which should ultimately be the driving force is the pursuit of His kingdom and His righteousness. When these become the focus, our lives are in tune with God’s redemptive plan for us, and his plans are secure and unchangeable. When our circumstances change, and our plans are altered, we can respond with confidence instead of anxiety, knowing that these interruptions are merely God’s redirection of our life to keep us on track with his ultimate purpose. To seek first his kingdom is to submit to his rule and be a part of his plan to bring all things under the headship of Christ. To seek his Righteousness is to seek to become like Christ, thus realizing his ultimate design for us, which is to reflect his image in us. When Christ states, “all these things will be added to you,” He is not saying that riches and wealth will come to us when we are in God’s will, but that these things will no longer matter. When we pursue the things of more excellent value (his kingdom and his righteousness), the things of lesser value no longer are essential; we discover that all our needs and dreams are ultimately fulfilled.
When you get anxious about the present or future, it serves as a reminder to adjust your focus. Instead of praying for your dreams and goals to be realized, ask God to change them to align with his redemptive purpose. Then we can have complete peace knowing that he will always answer this prayer.