“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:32-33 CSB
I have a confession to make, I’m trying to find verses for our devotionals that aren’t the everyday ones. I’m finding it fun to find new verses on the same topic, but not as well known. Saying all that, I feel like this is a well known verse that gets overused and taken out of context. This verse is one I’ve been trying not to use, but today is the day the Lord has made, and this is the verse He’s given me.
The Gentiles are us in this verse, things are worldly needs: food, drink, clothing, the basics. The “things” are not new cars, big houses or large bank accounts. We misinterpret this verse if that is what we think “things” are. We assume when the scripture says, “your heavenly Father knows that you need them,” that means new car, big house, large bank accounts. That is not the meaning at all. This verse is simple saying, God knows we need to eat and wear clothes, that is all we really need to live on this earth. We think we need more than that to be able to live, we’re wrong. I have had so many conversations about this with people, I always get frustrated. I want to scream, “Take your eyes off of things and put them on God.” Focusing on God is always better than any “thing” you will have here on earth.
But “things” are captivating, they are a temptation, I struggle just like everyone else. That is why I’ve been using this story in my life when I get tempted. I saw it on Facebook the other day. An old man is being tempted, so he looks up to the sky and says, “Lord I need Your help, Your territory is in trouble.” I had to think about this statement at first to understand, but I realized the truth in it. We are God’s territory, when we’re being tempted, we’re not alone. God is with us in our temptations and can help us avoid them, if we cry out to Him. My problem is I don’t cry out to God enough in my temptation. When I’m tempted to focus on “things,” instead of God, I just need to tell Him that. He’s got my back. The tough part is realizing when you are focused on “things” or being tempted. Often we don’t even know we’re doing it when we’re doing it. I know I don’t for sure. But the older I get the more I’m able to recognize it and avoid it. Recognizing temptation is why I love to give, when I give things away they don’t have a hold on me. Whether I give money, or “things”, it releases me of their hold on me, it helps me keep my focus on God.
If we are going to be happy where we are, we need to understand this. Understanding life is not about “things,” but about God, is how we will find joy in the midst of sorrow (Psalm 32:7 NIV). We will find peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7 NIV). We will find strength to rise like eagles and soar (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). We will be happy with what we have.