Summary: A lesson designed to encourage better Christian living.
FOCUS FOR THE NEW YEAR
INTRODUCTION: At the close of last Sunday morning’s lesson we posed the question, "What will we do with our lives in the New Year?" There are many possible answers. Continue life as usual – work, sports, family, vacation, pay bills. Most if not all of those are routine in our lives and should come as now surprise. But they are physical answers. What about the spiritual? We are familiar with the words Jesus speaks in Matthew 6:33 – quote text. In speaking them Jesus addresses a problem every man, woman and child faces – what do to with life. The answer He provides them, and us, is two fold.
I. SEEK THE REIGN OF GOD IN OUR LIVES
A. Control – life is all about control, at least for many of us. Self-determining, self-preserving, self-motivating – these are the terms that dictate the actions of many a man. Society demands those things in a person if that person is to succeed and being social animals we adopt the social mentality.
B. Jesus challenges His audience, and us, to let go of self. In the text of Matthew 6 Jesus is addressing the problem of worry, and not just any form of worry but rather the form of worry that is tied directly to self-determination and self-direction.
1. The question is posed, "How many of you by worrying can add one cubit to your height?" The answer is none. Jesus goes on to question the rationale of worrying about clothing, food, etc. A question is implied here: "How can any of these needs be solved by a self-consumed life?" The answer again is none.
2. Human life is not determined by the things we own nor are the problems and needs connected to human life solved by individual effort. It is solved by the power of God living in our lives. This is what Jesus teaches when He says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God…"
3. "Kingdom of God" as it is used here literally means the "Reign of God." If we want our problems solved and our needs met we must submit to His guidance. He must be allowed to live large in our lives, to present in every step we make, every decision we make and every action we undertake.
4. He must become our King. We must allow Him to rule our days and take command of our lives from sun up to sun down.
II. SEEK THE WILL OF GOD FOR OUR LIVES
A. "The Strong Willed Child" was a very popular book a number of years ago. It gave hope to many parents who were attempting to raise a son or daughter who was unyielding to discipline and instruction. Some of us can understand that dilemma quite well.
1. Unfortunately some children never out-grow that Strong Willed child stage. It continues into their adolescence and their adulthood. These are the ones who must always have their way in every thing. Never relenting, never bending, constantly serving their own will and their own ways. (Bible says they are serving their own lusts)
B. In Matthew 6:33 there is a second portion to the Lord’s command. Jesus says that we are not only to seek His Kingdom/His Reign but His Righteousness. This means that if we intend to have God living large in our lives, helping to meet our needs and solve our problems, that we must also bow to His will.