“But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”Matthew 6:33
Today we face an alarming and saddening reality: marriages decades-old dissolve left and right. Couples marry quickly and, just as quickly, these marriages have broken up. Relationships have been destroyed and taken with them the emotional sanity of those involved. In short, humans have failed miserably in their romantic relationships. This scenario is not limited to a group of individuals who do not believe in lifelong marriages, quite the contrary. The same issue is rampant in Christianity. Despite this situation, people continue to believe in love and keep trying to find the perfect match with whom to live the elusive “happily ever after”. But if they really do everything to make their relationships work, why has the result been so disastrous? Why is it that even though they are willing to be together forever, in the end, they give up? What has been done or failed to do that has killed the love between spouses? Reflecting on these issues and finding the answers will prevent our relationships from failing as well and will enable us to help people around us.
A lasting and successful relationship requires work and effort. A set of specific actions and the cultivation of correct thoughts is necessary to form a solid base that resists difficulties. However, there is a basic and very profound rule, which needs to be observed especially by those who wish to be true followers of Christ. The basic text, written in Matthew 6:33, presents this rule. We read that, the Kingdom of God must come first and all other things will be added to us. Let’s consider this verse in detail.
1 – What is the Kingdom of God? The apostle Paul sums it up in a few words: “For the Kingdom of God is neither food nor drink, but justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” Romans 14:17. If justice, peace, and joy are fruits that the Holy Spirit generates in us, we can understand that the Kingdom of God is a set of principles and actions that must govern the lives of people who believe in Jesus. This reality becomes clearer in John 18 where Pilate calls Jesus the king of the Jews, and He answers in verse 36: “My kingdom is not of this world”. It follows that such noble characteristics are not natural to human nature, but yes, gifts given by God. The psalmist adds: “Because your Kingdom is an Eternal Kingdom, and your dominion endures from generation to generation,” (Psalm 145: 13). In short, a Kingdom that is one of justice, peace, and joy, that has the Holy Spirit, that does not belong to this earthly and sinful world, and that is eternal, is a spiritual Kingdom that has its center in heaven and is composed of people who believe in Jesus and follow him as their King.
2 – Seeking the Kingdom of God first? The apostle Paul speaks to us in a very clear and simple way: “[…] seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of the things that are above, and not those that are on earth” Colossians 3:1,2. That is, to seek the Kingdom of God, we need to think about it, imagine it, talk about it, meditate on it. In his conversation with Nicodemus (John chapter 3), Jesus added that to be part of that Kingdom there needs to be a change of mentality, a new birth, so that we become spiritual beings and do not walk in the flesh, that is, we do not focus our attention in passing and earthly things, but keep our eyes on heavenly and eternal things, as Paul said.
3 – What other things are added? It is important to emphasize a word in this excerpt: “[…] and ALL these things […]”. In this chapter, Jesus was talking about our concerns about wanting to be seen and praised, about clinging to material goods and worrying too much about what to eat, drink, dress and other things in life. And He says: “Surely your heavenly Father knows well that you need all these things” (v. 32), making it clear and exemplified that God knows all our needs. As humans, relating to other people is also a necessity, and for Christians, a commitment to marriage is a step on the Christian path. Therefore, Jesus also knows when this need exists in each of us, and He can not only fulfill it, but He wants to do so in the best possible way. That is why the Psalmist says (Psalms 37:4, 5): “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” And the confirmation of God’s desire to provide us with the blessings we need is clear in Jesus’ words in John 14:13 and 14: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Once again the words WHATEVER and ANYTHING indicate the scope of the promises, not limited to material or visible things nor only spiritual aspects, rather the totality of the human being in what is in accordance with the will of God: happiness, physical, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment.
And how can we apply this to relationships? It is simple, really: when we put God and our spiritual health first, earthly things will become resolved. Make Jesus your first and last thought every day, by praying, holding morning and evening worship together, reading the Bible and singing praises. Your day will be much more productive, happier, and lighter. Try it. If you are married, establish a routine with your spouse and do these activities every day, while also taking time for individual devotion and private prayer. God’s blessings will reach you and you will be a blessing in the life of everyone around you: your friends, your parents, your church family, your boyfriend/girlfriend, and your spouse.
God tells us that we don’t need to worry and obsess with what to do so that our marriage doesn’t end, that our relationships go well, or whether we will find someone to love. The promise is that if we are loyal to Him and faithful to serve Him, He will take care of our hearts, our affections, our relationships and give us the wisdom to maintain them. Purpose in your heart today, to seek the Kingdom of God first and enjoy all the blessings that will be added because He “[…] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think […]”, Ephesians 3:20.