There is no secret combination, just an order. We don’t have to do this and then do that and then come back around again and do it again. We just have to put first things first. When first things are first, the rest is done. The combination consists of only one move, and that move is putting the first thing first. The rest just happens and we just benefit from the provision, protection and promotion that follow that first thing.
There is a pendulum that swings back and forth between God being prosperous and God being broke. There is one end of the swing that says He will make all of your dreams come true and you’ll live in big houses while driving nice cars. Just believe and receive. The other end of the pendulum is a hopeless, fruitless vow of poverty and self-deprecation that doesn’t resemble good news in any way, shape or form. The poverty side hates the prosperity side and the prosperity side scoffs at the poverty side.
There is no need for definition, declaration or decisions based on the two sides. There is just a need to decide what comes first. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us that we don’t need to worry about life, food, or clothes. The stuff we need doesn’t warrant worry. Jesus tells us that our Father wants to give us all this stuff and all we need to do is “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
So what about the times that all that stuff doesn’t seem to be being added? Where is God and His promise? There are a few possibilities as to why we aren’t realizing that promise:
- We add to the list. When we add our wants to the needs that Jesus promises, we create an expectation which isn’t part of the promise. When we create an expectation, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Wants aren’t needs, they are a trap.
- We substitute “seek” with “sought.” Seeking is present tense and never-ending. Seeking is born out of craving. With no craving, or desperate desire, we won’t continue pursuit.
- We’ve moved onto second. When we count second as important, it becomes primary. First is always first and never gives way to second. When family, mortgage, job, vacation, ministry or whatever else become the focus, first has been overthrown in a coup.
- We mistaken the Kingdom for church. The Kingdom is the invisible beyond the visible. It’s the spiritual reality of Heaven on earth, or the void thereof. It’s not religion and it’s not being good or knowing things about God. The Kingdom is the manifest presence of the King. Nothing else will do.
- We think righteousness is something we can do. Righteousness is bought and paid for by the Blood of Jesus and we can’t be good enough to add anything to it or bad enough to diminish it. Righteousness is our identity in Him, not our behaviors that we think will make Him happy. When we forget or mistake or forget who we are, we strive to be who we think we ought to be.
Each of these things are in the first part of the promise, not the second. The second part, that is His provision, is certain. The first part, which is our understanding and agreement, is the condition that precedes the recognition of His faithfulness. He’ll do His part every time; meet Him where He is, not where you want Him to be. There is plenty where He is.