Will God Really Give Me Everything I want if I seek Him?
“Seek first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added unto you.”
This is a phrase that we hear thrown around a lot; whether by a well-meaning believer advising someone to seek God or in other places where we try to encourage people to come to God.
But there is a problem with this quote, a fundamental one:
It is wrong. Why? Because we have quoted the scripture so much that we have shifted a few words around and lost its meaning.
To find the true meaning, why don’t we go back to the text itself?
The first thing we would want to do is read that scripture in context because a lot of times, we abuse scriptures when we just pick a verse out of context to suit our own ideas and philosophies, when in actual sense, our ideas and philosophies should be suited to scripture.
The scripture in question began with Jesus admonishing his disciples not to be concerned about their basic needs. He talked about feeding and clothing and why we, as believers needn’t worry about having them because our Heavenly Father is capable of providing for us.
“So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:31-32 – NIV).
So if we look at the scripture in context, we understand where Jesus was coming from; He spoke from the angle of our basic needs as human beings – feeding, drink, clothing etc. He said our concern really should not be these mundane things but we are to:
Seek first the kingdom of God
What does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of God? A kingdom refers to a realm of authority of a person/state, in this case, God. The kingdom of God is a place where God has full dominion, a place where His will and pleasure is established. So, for us, seeking the kingdom of God first means giving God first priority in our lives.
It means placing God’s will and purpose first. It means that when we get on our knees to pray, we are not thinking first of how our desires can be met but how His desires (in our lives or others) can be met. Whatever we do, our first priority becomes God. It means that we would not weigh God in a balance with other things and those things take higher positions.
…and His righteousness…
The righteousness of God goes with His kingdom. We cannot seek God and His kingdom and then choose to leave His righteousness playing tag behind us. It just doesn’t work. Wherever God is, His will must be established or He isn’t there.
…and all these other things shall be added to you
So what ‘other things’ was Jesus talking about here? Your basic needs! A lot of times, what we quote is ‘every other thing’. But Jesus DID NOT say ‘every other thing’ will be added unto you. He did not promise that when you seek Him all you want will be given to you. NO. He only promised to give you WHAT YOU NEED.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33 – NLT)
The problem with believing you will get ‘every other thing’ is that you reduce Christianity to being about ‘if I follow God, all will be fine and dandy.’
And that is what the prosperity Gospel preaches but the truth is, all will not always be fine and dandy. God will not give you a million dollars, a great job and good grades because you chose to seek Him. What He does promise to give you is WHAT YOU NEED. A need is different from a want or a desire. You will not lack what you NEED because you chose to seek God. It is a PROMISE you can bet your life on. He is responsible for taking care of your needs.
But as for EVERY OTHER THING? It may come, but it is not a compensation for seeking God and His righteousness because the truth is, God is more concerned about giving us Himself than satisfying our selfish desires. Yes, there is a blessing that comes with seeking God but that is not the aim, that was not what Jesus was talking about here.
We need to stop holding God to promises He did not make. There is a lot to be said about kingdom prosperity and all that, but the truth is God’s priority, as far as your life is concerned, is not material things but your soul. He cares for you more than you even care for yourself because while you are busy chasing shoes and money, He is chasing the oxygen, the very life that will sustain you.
So, stop for a minute and focus on what God focuses on.
Do not allow your life become wrapped up in what you can get from God, do not be a thief who seeks the gift and leaves out the giver. Don’t let your sole aim and purpose in life be about living the ‘good life’ but let it be about living the ‘God life’ – becoming like Jesus.
It’s been a while since ‘Forgiving God’, I know. But all that hiatus has been for a good cause, I promise. Just keep your ears open.