Matthew 6:31-34 New King James Version
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
During a small group Bible Study one night a friend once told me he set his alarm for 6:33 a.m. for a stretch of time during his teenage and young adult years.
He would wake up, put his feet on the floor, see his alarm, and immediately be reminded of Matthew 6:33 and his absolute need to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
To me, it was a pointed example, in one way, of Matthew 6:33 in action.
The question to me then was what impact would it have on someone, anyone who did not know the meaning of “the kingdom of God” (at the time – me) and “His righteousness” and did not know how to “seek” them?
The myriad of ideas floating around about the Kingdom of God is evidence that the devil has successfully deceived millions of people about the true meaning of the Kingdom of God—the center of Jesus’ message.
Even to this day, Satan actively obscures the heart and core of Jesus’ teaching, leading many sincere Christians to confidently say the Kingdom of God is the warm, fuzzy feeling people experience when they “invite Jesus” into their lives.
Yet God’s Word testifies that Jesus preached “the gospel of the kingdom of God”—not just a message about Himself, but the good news of a literal, world-ruling government to be set up on this earth (Mark 1:14).
So, just what is the Kingdom of God, and how does one go about seeking it?
What exactly is “His righteousness”?
What “things” will be added to us if we prioritize seeking the Kingdom and His righteousness?
What does Matthew 6:33 say that believers should do?
Matthew 6:33 is a foundational scripture that directs our focus and attention to what God considers to be the most important goal a person can have.
In order to weave this critical verse into our own lives, we need to have a biblical understanding of its core concepts.
“But Seek First the Kingdom of God”
The New Testament has much to say about the Kingdom of God, but one of the most memorable visions of God’s government replacing human governments can be found in the Old Testament book of God’s Prophet Daniel.
In Daniel chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar, the ancient king of the Babylonian Empire, dreamed about a great image or statue—presumably of a man—with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay.
But as the dream went on, the image was eventually shattered by a cataclysmic stone (Daniel 2:31-34).
Unsure of the dream’s meaning, Nebuchadnezzar turned to the prophet Daniel for its interpretation.
Under God’s inspiration, Daniel explained, “You [Nebuchadnezzar] are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron . . . and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others” (Daniel 2:38-40).
According to Daniel’s interpretation, the statue represented the rise and fall of four great, successive empires.
These empires, or kingdoms, have been identified in history as the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, Greco-Macedonian Empire and the Roman Empire.
With this understanding in mind, notice what Daniel said about the symbolism of the stone that came and broke the image:
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44, emphasis added throughout).
This kingdom that “stands forever” is the Kingdom of God, a literal kingdom with territory, subjects, laws and rulers just like the other great empires.
The Kingdom of God will be:
- Set up here on earth (territory).
- Ruling over and serving human beings (subjects) during Christ’s millennial reign.
- Governed through God’s commandments and statutes (laws).
- Ruled by Christ and the saints (rulers).
The Kingdom of God is not figurative nor is it another way of saying going to heaven, as many passionately argue.
It is the very real government of God to be established here on earth at Christ’s return.
Those who will inherit God’s Kingdom are called the “saints of the Most High,” they will “possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever” (Daniel 7:18).
To “seek” that Kingdom is to have a strong desire to enter it—a willingness to go to any length to do so.
Matthew 6:33 tells us that this must be the main priority of a Christian’s life.
“And His Righteousness”
After instructing His followers to prioritize the Kingdom of God, Rabbi Jesus added that they also need to prioritize not just any kind of righteousness, but “His righteousness” – His righteousness meaning God’s righteousness.
What is the biblical definition of God’s righteousness?
Psalm 119:172 says, “All Your commandments are righteousness.”
Take careful notice that the verse does not say “a few” “some” or “half” or “two thirds” “three quarters” “nine out of 10” (excluding the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy), but rather it says “all” of God’s commandments.
Understanding the biblical definition of righteousness, this verse could read: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and obey all His commandments.”
Unfortunately, obedience is a very unpopular message in a society where people are obsessed with the idea of freedom to do whatever they please, no matter how much harm that kind of liberty may pose to themselves or others.
The result is people who lack self-esteem, self-respect and lack any respect for any authority figure and contemptibly refuse to yield one inch to that authority.
Many of the laws of the land—let alone God’s laws—have become more of a suggestion than anything mandatory.
They’re viewed as something that is optional for those who “feel” like obeying.
People nowadays bristle at the idea of someone else telling them what to do.
Yet the Bible is replete with scriptures that prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, obedience to God’s law is absolutely necessary to be a true Christian.
Here is one of the plainest of those scriptures: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).
For those who follow the clear teachings of Scripture and value obedience, there is a special blessing in place.
Take extra careful notice of Revelation 22:14: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”
The blessing is entry into the Kingdom of God.
That is the reward for those who seek God’s righteousness.
Righteousness and the Kingdom of God are inextricably linked together!
“And All These Things Shall Be Added Unto You”
To know what this part of the verse refers to, we have to examine the context.
Matthew 6:25-32 New King James Version
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one [a]cubit to his [b] stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [c]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
In verses 25-32 Jesus instructs His disciples not to fret or be anxious about the physical necessities of life.
Food, water and clothing and shelter will always be the very basic must-haves for our very good health and happiness as long as we are living human beings.
But prioritizing any single one of these things or all of them over a disciplined life of prayer, study, obedience and a close relationship with God would be a potentially dangerous misallocation of our focus and attention upon our God.
In reassuring fashion, Jesus reminded His disciples,
“Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ . . . For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”
“Father” is a fitting description of our loving God!
God could have designated Himself using any number of titles, but Father communicates His authority, strength and, most of all, His tender love.
The Sermon on the Mount can, in some ways, be seen as an explanation of why God is called our Heavenly Father.
Again and again throughout Matthew 5-7, we vividly see God’s function as our ultimate provider.
Recognizing God’s commitment to protect and look out for His children is what this part of Matthew 6:33 is all about.
Again, please take careful notice of Matthew 7:9-11:
“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
The point is, God always knows.
God always sees.
God is not blind to our needs or desires.
God promises to provide for the physical necessities of this life if we prioritize His Kingdom and His righteousness.
Please look to these life transformative scriptures and claim God’s promises if you have been seeking God with your whole being but find you are struggling to make ends meet and are overwhelmed with life’s demands.
What Does Matthew 6:33 Really Mean?
In a nutshell, Matthew 6:33 serves as every Christian’s marching orders.
Our ability to seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness can be hampered if we become entangled with the cares of this life.
Nonetheless, diligently, prudently, regularly practicing spiritual disciplines like fellowship, and prayer, Bible study, meditation and the occasional fast can help refocus our minds, support the notion of reprioritizing on what matters most.
As much or as little we strive do our part to make our relationship with God our highest priority, God will surely do His part to provide for our every need, which is something we can count on.
This means always putting Him first in our lives, even the first few moments of our day.
He is the One who graciously woke us up, gave us the breath in our lungs, and provided us the opportunity to live another day.
He deserves our fullest possible measure of devotion the moment our eyes pop open, even if it is a mere “thank you, God” before our feet even hit the floor.
Intersecting Faith and Life and Matthew 6:33
As we strive to figure out life in the great information age, we are bombarded with an infinite measure of opportunities to fill our time and our minds with many things that can so easily replace our time of fellowship with the Lord.
The information available to us, literally at our fingertips, at all times, is a wonderful gift, but that mobile device we carry around in our purses and pockets can also be a mobile distraction that follows us everywhere we go.
Although our cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. are not evil, I do believe we need to be extra cautious as to how much time we devote to them.
We need to be more aware of where we are directing our focus.
We need to be attentive to what is “moving in” and capturing our attention.
Perhaps you may not have an issue with technology distracting you from the Lord- that’s great!
Stay strong and become an accountability partner for those around you who have easily pulled away from the things of God because of the ever-increasing information age.
But if you are like me (a stay-at-home/work-from-home, caregiving retired person,) you are finding yourself with limited time to spend with Jesus in prayer and the Word, I challenge you to prioritize seeking out the Lord if there is some way you can arrange in your schedule to allow better time management.
Also, ask Him if perhaps He would like for you to prioritize a fast (technology, that is) something which could be causing a division between you and Him.
Prioritize devoting specific time every day to spend some quiet time in quiet fellowship with God and reading your Bible, without your cellphone or iPad within reach- to “turn them off” during that time and perhaps put a timer on the most-used apps that you access throughout your day.
Be thankful for the benefits of the tools and global connections that technology brings us, but also do not allow this technology to rob you of your connection to Jesus – un-connect technology for a while, refocus, reconnect with the Lord!
Always keep the Kingdom of God and His righteousness at the forefront of life.
“But Put God First” — That is the life-changing meaning of Matthew 6:33.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Sovereign Majesty, God and Ruler over all creation, since the beginning of time you have been our Provider, our Refuge, our Shelter, Defender, Protector and Redeemer. Your covenant with the human race, is from everlasting to everlasting and all that we possess and will ever possess, comes from you. Father, we have sinned greatly against you, but being a God of Righteousness, you have exhibited and manifested your steadfastness and faithfulness which prevails forever, through which we are saved, when we turn all of us over to you with fervent hearts and complete trust.
Your unshakable promises reflects your perfect attributes, for whatever we do in our arrogant and sinful nature makes your incomprehensible compassion more evident, proving you will never abandon us, will rescue all who are lost. Jesus has revealed to us the honor and glory of his Father, and we have the assurance that you will never leave us orphans, but have, through your plan of Redemption and Eternal Salvation, obediently fulfilled by Jesus your only Son, made us citizens, co-heirs of heaven.
By our deep faith, our belief, our resolve to focus on you and to obediently follow your Divine Providence for us, knowing that you have provided and taken care of all our needs, we concentrate on studying the right path to heaven, and promote your kingdom in the world, to bring hearts into subjection to your Will. We seek only your Holy Grace and hope to bring others to the obedience of faith, for we need not worry about the things of this world, since you have bestowed upon us all that we need and our only hope is in beholding your beatific face and be added to the ranks of the elite of your kingdom, in blessed, in highest possible exaltation of Jesus’ Name. Amen
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.