As I prayed today, I thought about the verse,
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
It occurred to me that at certain points in my Christian life my mind and heart will emphasize the latter part of the verse, i.e. "and all these things will be added to you." But now as I think about the verse, and especially as I look at the verse in the context of the greater passage (Matthew 6:25-34, etc.), I see that if I emphasize the latter part of the verse then my emphasis is wrong. The whole point of the passage is that God cares for me so much that I do not have to worry about how he will take care of me. God does this so that I am freed to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
So, instead of concentrating on God's promise of provision in these verses, I need to concentrate on the building of God's kingdom and righteousness knowing that my provision will be provided by God. The difference between the two different mindsets is subtle but significant. I have to ask myself, "Is my passion to build God's kingdom and his righteousness, or am I more concerned with how he will take care of me?" Or another "self-analysis" question is, "What do I think about more often, God's kingdom and righteousness or my own provisions?"
Of course, not one of us can just "do this" with enough self-effort and self-discipline, and even if we did, I doubt that we would be pleasing in God's sight. If I discipline myself to not think about how much I am worrying about my life by thinking about building God's kingdom, then I have still missed the point.
It is only by God's grace through Jesus Christ that I can truly, without effort, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. And that is only because I truly do trust Christ enough that I do not worry about his provision because I know that he will provide, though I may not know how.
There is a wonderful freedom in this trust in Christ that allows one to be genuinely concerned with building God's kingdom and his righteousness. I want to experience this freedom more and more in my life. I thank my God that he is helping me to understand how much he loves and cares for me even through the hard times. As I understand this truth more deeply, I am freed to seek what he seeks, to value what he values, and to look at life through a biblical lens at little more often.