What Kind of Life are You Building?
Matthew 5-7 is a recording of the greatest sermon ever preached, and last week we looked at Jesus’ climactic conclusion where he says, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock...” (Matt 7:24) The words of Jesus are the solid foundation for our lives. We must build our lives upon the Word of God. And in the body of his sermon, Jesus tells us what kind of lives that we should be building: lives that seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. He says:
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you (Matt 7:31-34).
If we are not careful, our lives can become a steady stream of one trivial pursuit after another. This is the way of the world - chasing the next pleasure, possession, or need. Jesus says that they run after all of these things, but then he says, “Not so with you.” Our lives should be different. We should have a heavenly pursuit. He calls us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” In other words, we should be busy seeking to build his kingdom and not our own.
So how do we do that? How do we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? What does that look like in our day and age? We can’t be like the disciples and literally leave our jobs like they dropped their nets and physically walk after Jesus. So what does that look like today? We do that by making the church a priority in our lives because the church is the local manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth. So we seek first the kingdom of God by making the church the priority in our lives.
But what about his righteousness? How do we seek that? We seek first the righteousness of God by making holiness the priority in our lives. We do this by believing the good news that Jesus died to make us holy, and then by living a life that is consistent with what Jesus has done for us. Paul says, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ...” (Phil 1:27) We seek first his kingdom by participating in the mission of the church to spread the gospel, and we seek first his righteousness by believing that same gospel and living in a way that is worthy of it. In other words, we seek first his kingdom and righteousness by living a gospel-centered life. Is that the kind of life you are building? Are you devoted to the church and our mission of taking the gospel to a lost and dying world? Or is your heart more devoted to building your little kingdom - your palace, career or hobbies? Are you pursuing holiness by God’s grace? Or running after the pleasures of this world?
Jesus died for us so that we would live for him. And his love and care for us are what sets our hearts free to seek first his kingdom. In this sermon, Jesus reminds his disciples that their heavenly Father is the one who abundantly provides for the birds of the air and even the grass of the field, and he cares for us exponentially more. He knows our needs, and he has promised to meet them. Jesus cares about our lives so that we don’t have to. And this side of the cross, we see the depths of his love and care. Paul says, “He who did not spare his Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32) Jesus died so that we would live for him and seek first his kingdom and righteousness. So, let’s build our lives on the gospel and live in a way that is worthy of the gospel.