Our current culture is thrown into crisis. Injustice abounds. And. . . everyone has their own solution to the problems. Some people think the government should step in, others believe the government is already overreaching as it is. Others even believe we should do away with all government and order altogether. For Christians, the Word of God is our supreme authority. How do we respond to this current crisis?
I’ve been anxious, I can’t sleep
Worthless worries, burden me
I hunt the sun, chase the wind
Till my tired spirit spins into the groundWhen I try to take control
Fear and terror grip my soul
I need joy, I need peace
I need rest I need relief
I look to you, and you teach me toSeek your kingdom
Seek your righteousness
King’s Kaleidoscope opens their song Seek Your Kingdom with this verse. The song is a reflection on a passage within the Sermon on the Mount, specifically Matthew 6:25-34. Christ reflects on anxiety and uses two lesser to greater arguments. Christ looks at areas of everyday worries: the food we eat and the clothes we wear. Without food, we cannot continue existing. But, if God cares for the birds and gives them food, how much more will he provide for us?
See the ravens, they can’t farm
They don’t have silos, trucks or barns
But our God sees their needs
And he loves them and he feeds them everyday
Clothes are something we could exist without, but ever since the Garden of Eden, humanity in it’s shame remains covered. Christ’s point here is that God not only cares for the bare necessities of his image bearers, but also for their wants. Not that this is some sort of “name it and claim it” text so you get what you want. The sermon in it’s whole is to be transformative of the hearer’s desires (cf. Matt. 6:19-20).
If anxiety about food and clothes proves lack of trust in God, how much more does being anxious about our current crisis? The global viral infection, the injustice, the political turmoil are all real and should be dealt with in wisdom. But, that must not neglect the Christian’s responsibility to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
What are some implications of this passage?
1. Stand up for God’s Law
Post-modern man has done away with God’s law (and really any history that could potentially go against “their truth”). It is currently in vogue to stand up against certain injustices in culture, which is good. Injustice should be stood against. The Christian must, however, ensure the issue he is standing for builds God’s kingdom. Political and societal utopia apart from God is impossible. Yet, that’s what many people are attempting to build. When you voice your opinion on anything ask yourself, “How does this build God’s kingdom?”
2. You cannot fight every battle
People get angry when you speak up about certain injustices. People get angry when you don’t speak up about certain injustices. People may even get angry when you breathe. Regardless, certain people pressure themselves to speak up against every injustice in society. In fact, you could say, they’re worried that they might’ve missed something. We’ve already discussed the root of anxiety: not trusting God. Originally one thinks, “I must speak up about this so society will change,” which is good and true. That morphs into, “I must speak up about this or society will never change.” This statement ultimately shows an attitude of little faith. Not trusting that God is sovereign in building his kingdom, but ultimately you are the sovereign one to effect change will certainly lead to many sleepless nights.
God has given you the desires of your heart. Do not let cultural persuasions dictate what injustice you stand against. Rather, what has the Holy Spirit laid in your heart? What particular injustice do you desire to end above all else? The world may tell you your wrong for wanting that to end, Christians may tell you to focus on something else; gauge your decision on the Word of God and fight for that injustice to end.
3. Build God’s kingdom, not your kingdom
Above, I mentioned people voicing their opinion on injustices in order to change society. In reality, we know that every person’s intention is not so pure. Some voice their opinion on injustice so they seem wise. Some voice their opinion to build their self esteem (I mean who in their right mind would dis you for standing against an “in vogue” injustice? a Nazi?). Some voice their opinion to avoid ridicule (e.g. “How dare you not say anything about . . .”). Often, their opinion also has to be voiced quickly in disobedience of James 1:19.
A Christian must be vigilant in avoiding sinful motivations for standing against injustice. This temptation can be avoided by seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. An old saying is, “He’s so heavenly minded, that he’s no earthy good.” Certainly, in some dualistic fashion, certain well-intending people have so focused their intention on God (I would argue wrongly) that they neglect society around them. I think of the pastor who lays down his life for his sheep, but neglects his family. Such things should never be. One who rightly seeks first God’s kingdom cannot also neglect the orphan and the widow. If they do so, they only seek aspects of God’s kingdom convenient to them. Although we cannot fight every injustice well and may end up focusing our battles on one particular injustice, disobedience to God’s Word is unacceptable.
4. Hope in God’s Kingdom
Society in a fallen world will always have injustice. A defeatist may take that statement and decide to give up, but that is not the intention. It’s a reminder that our hope is not in out government, our society, our battles, or our opining on social media; rather, our hope is in God’s kingdom. One day, Christ will return and will deal with all injustice righteously. He will make all wrongs right. He will wipe away every tear.
In ancient wars, people tried to get gods on their side of the fight. Even today, well-meaning people may think, “How can I get God/Christians on my side of this culture war?” The Christian instead must ask, “Am I on God’s side?” For a long time, Christians have ridden on the wave of moral majority, and now we’re on the shore. Politics and societal norms are rapidly changing. We can no longer ride cultural waves and assume they please God. We must look to his Word and be set on His firm foundation.