"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." — Matthew 6:33
Sequence seems to be a thing of importance when it comes to the matters of the heart. Works never come before grace because we need the grace of God to work. Forgiveness never comes before repentance because only the humility of admitting and turning from our sin heals us.
Another important sequence that Jesus emphasises is the sequence of things of God and things of this world. Often we find ourselves wanting first the things of this world — the things that come from God. Everything in this world was created by God for our own good, but in our brokenness we have put too much emphasis on starting with the things of God.
I grew up in a business background, and one lesson I was taught is that you always have to start with the end in mind. What's your goal? What's your mission? What would you want to achieve for others? Too many business people start with what they want to achieve for themselves—money, fame, fortune and other things. But these things were meant to follow only when entrepreneurs widen the bottomline.
It's no different in our life pursuits. What is our goal? The goal is the glorious kingdom of God, not the things that come from God. The danger with starting with the blessings, favour and provision of God is that chances are we will stop there. We won't go beyond the "things added to us."
That's why Jesus makes it a point to emphasise how we are to seek first—not second, not third, not last—the kingdom of God. We are to seek His will, His attribute, His calling, His desires, His presence and His voice, and then let everything stem out of that.
If you were to take a look at how your daily schedules look like or even how your long-term plans look like, would you be able to honestly and confidently say that God is the starting point as much as He is the finish line?
The key is to start with the cross—the mark of our complete victory in Christ. Without the finished work of Jesus, we would not be able to achieve anything. It's easy to forget that considering it's a 2,000-year-old message, but it never gets old. The power of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection can and will work in our hearts to realign our values and make it new. When Jesus comes, we become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The only way to the Father is Jesus, and as we fix our eyes on Jesus and rely on Him, we will seek God first and not be distracted by the things from God.