Matthew 6:33 (NIV) says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The key to living the abundant life God has for us is learning to make Him our first priority. Yet many people seek the “things” first, things like jobs, houses, cars or other material things.
To seek means “to crave, pursue, to make sacrifices to get, to go after with all of your strength and all of your heart.” It’s a mistake to crave and pursue possessions, believing they will give us the lasting peace, joy and contentment that only come from God’s presence in our lives.
Take a moment and ask yourself, “What am I seeking? What do I spend most of my time thinking or talking about? How do I invest the majority of my energy?” These are important questions you need to answer from your heart.
I remember years ago when I had lots of material things, but I still wasn’t very happy. Have you ever been there? Maybe you’ve wondered What’s wrong with me? as I did. Well, when I asked God that question, His answer was, “Joyce, you’re shallow. It’s time to step out into the deep.”
That was a wake-up call. I was a shallow Christian. I wanted the “fruit” of God’s Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience—operating in my life, but I wasn’t seeking that, so my “roots” weren’t very deep at all. I had it backward, as many of us do at times. We want the money, the house, the platform or whatever our “thing” is. So we pursue that rather than the true treasure of God’s presence.
Just as a tree needs roots to go down deep and spread wide in the soil for it to grow strong, healthy branches that can withstand the elements, Christians need to develop deep spiritual roots in Christ. Our lives need to be deeply rooted and grounded in the Word of God and in His love—not our “stuff”; otherwise, we soon find out when the storms of life come, our “things” don’t make us so happy anymore. That’s because those things can’t give us what we truly need. And it doesn’t matter how much stuff you have if you’re miserable.
Now, I’m not saying it’s bad to want nice things or to desire a good life. But we need to examine our priorities when it comes to those things. We need to learn to seek God’s face and not His hand. If we will seek His face, His hand will always be open to us, providing what is best for us.
If you’re wondering how to seek God’s face, it simply means you take time to cultivate a relationship with God, to get to know Him and trust what His Word says about who you are in Christ. And with prayer, Bible study and time, you will.
We are to pursue God in prayer, crave time in His Word and go after a relationship with Him with all of our heart and strength—even if it means sacrificing some of our desires. The Bible never tells us to seek things, but to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).
It seems that many times, we get it the other way around, going after possessions as if we’ll never have what we want if we don’t. But I encourage you to think about what it will be like at the end of your life. I know that’s not a pleasant thought, but do you really think you’ll be concerned about your stuff? Or do you think you’ll want family near?
If we are to be truly happy—with or without all the stuff—we must establish our lives in Christ and learn to trust God to fulfill our heart’s desires. As we pursue His kingdom and His righteousness, we will see what it means to be content in life. As the apostle Paul said, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11, NKJV).
The key is to pursue God. Seek His face and go after a relationship with Him above and beyond everything else! You will find that if you seek His face, His hand will always be open to you. So, learn to be content in your relationship with God—He knows exactly what you need.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times’ bestselling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and her newest devotional, Quiet Times With God (FaithWords). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.
This article was excerpted from the December issue of Charisma magazine. If you don’t subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.