Sunday, December 2, 2012

Seek First the Kingdom of God

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever (2 Peter 3:18).

We want to mature in Christ. We need our growth in Christ to abound. Three essentials must be present in our lives and taking priority over everything else: prayer/communion with God, the study of the Word of God and fellowship with other believers.

First of all, prayer is our time with Jesus. If we know that we can come to Him anytime and receive from Him His grace and forgiveness and lovingkindness, we will be seeking Him everyday. This time with the Lord, through His Holy Spirit in our lives, is so sweet and empowering. Lay your burdens at His feet and trust that He knows everything happening in your life. Just spend some time with Jesus, away from everything else. Don’t leave His presence until you’ve heard from Him and have His comfort and peace. Many times the Lord speaks through our worship and through His Word, so use your Bible and worship in prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Secondly, reading and contemplating God’s Word is what helps us to be sure that our beliefs and views of Him and Scripture are founded on His truth. We are also able to hear from God more easily and accurately. We must be born again by faith in Jesus Christ to fully understand the Bible and to hear His voice in our hearts because “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).” Pray that the Holy Spirit Himself will teach you His Word. The amount of growth and the rate of maturity will be directly linked to the amount of time we spend in God’s Word learning from Him.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:1-3).

Finally, fellowship with other children of God in the Lord and in His love. Along with our time with the Lord in prayer and study of His Word, fellowship in Christ helps us to grow in grace and knowledge. We receive encouragement and strength as Christ reaches out to us through His body.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:18-21).

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:14-16).

By doing these three things first in your life, every day and every week, before all else, you will begin to experience new and powerful growth in your walk with the Lord like never before. Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (your needs) shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”

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