Recently, I had an hour-long phone call with a good friend. We were discussing a struggle he was dealing with and he was expressing how he had finally reached the end of his rope with this specific struggle.
He simply wanted to know what to do.
He was tired of falling back into the same problem, he knew Jesus was supposed to be the answer, but he couldn’t seem to gain any momentum for change.
As he shared his heart, I empathized and shared some of my struggles, but he continued scratching his head on how to tackle his issues.
I gave him several practical tips and boundaries to set, but it still came back to the question of, “What should I DO?”
I understood his frustration because I’ve so often felt the same. I mean, what are you supposed to do when you don’t know what to do? I didn’t want to give him some cliche verses and tell him generically to just “trust God.”
At the same time, I do believe that while most problems are psychological in nature, most solutions are spiritual.
As I processed his problem, Matthew 6:33 came to mind. I started to share that verse with him and I immediately became concerned at how impractical it was going to sound.
“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…” —What does that really mean? What exactly is God’s Kingdom? How is seeking it first supposed to change anything?
I tossed those questions around in my mind and refused to accept yet another Bible verse at surface level.
As I read and reread the Scripture the word “seek” jumped off the page.
I started thinking about it and realized the nature of the word “seek” is inherently mysterious. In fact, “seeking” clearly implies that you haven’t arrived at a conclusion.
It means searching, and yes, even stumbling, around in the dark.
What makes this idea of seeking God’s Kingdom even more difficult is that God’s Kingdom is invisible. And not only is it invisible, we’re often seeking in the wrong direction because of how we were taught about the Kingdom of Heaven.
For most of my life I was told to always do good “down here” so that I’d be ready to go “up there.” But what I’m realizing is that “seeking God first” isn’t so much about getting up there, it’s about waking up to see Him down here.
As followers of Jesus, we’re not seeking the summit of a mountain grabbing at success along the way, we’re fumbling our way through the dark learning from our mistakes along the way.
This is why pressing into God’s presence is not automatic or easy.
That’s also why I’m sure the word “seek” is used in this verse — it’s a process, not a formula. It implies you DON’T have it yet and that it’s going to require some searching and stumbling around in the dark.
What I’m trying to learn to be OK with is doing all that seeking in the dark FIRST, without necessarily seeing the “progress” or the “light at the end of the tunnel” when I want to see it.
As I continued the conversation with my friend, that’s ultimately the ”measure of success” I suggested he strive for. Not for perfection, but for more awareness of God’s presence. Instead of spending all his energy trying to modify his behavior — to spend it leaning into the Presence that changes everything.
While that kind of advice can seem so impractical and illogical, I think that’s where we’re supposed to let faith take over and trust God’s Spirit is moving, even if it’s just inside of our heart.
Today, if you’re in a season of not knowing what to do, I suggest starting here:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”Matthew 6:33
I can’t promise you that you’ll get all the answers you want, but I can promise you that you’ll experience a Presence that will be with you as you figure it out.