For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:32-34 NKJV
Living in a metropolitan city can cast illusions that make their rat race seem so alluring. We are engulfed by instant gratification, driving capitalistic monoliths that prize temporary profits over treasures of eternal value. Some of us may even end up trading our souls in for such pursuits; we start our journeys pursuing happiness, success, health and wealth only to find them fleeting from our fingertips as we end up stressed and burnt out.
I used to be concerned if I would ever be qualified enough to excel, read enough books to reach the required level of knowledge, or gathered enough experience to be of corporate use. Even while studying for my Business Degree, I was surrounded by inspirational examples of success and sought to chase them. While they are important, and I’m not discrediting their values and contributions to societal progress, I just gravely misunderstood my priorities and the order of process on a personal level.
God already knows all our needs, and they are no different from the needs that the world seeks. As long as we live in a fallen world, the world will twist and make opposite of what God intended. The world, my past self included, is selfish and focuses on doing good to be good, trying so hard to bear the fruits instead of growing their roots, obsessed with the micro before the macro, trying our best to serve just so that we could be served, speaking first before listening, trying our best to bless in order to reciprocate their blessings, and pouring out all our love just to feel loved.
Thankfully the ways of God are always higher than man and have been our intended path since creation; when we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, every need we seek will be added unto us.
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17 NKJV
God wants us to prioritize His righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit before we venture out into the world because as believers, we no longer need to chase what we can naturally attract.
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Luke 17:20-21 NKJV
When we believe in the finished work that Jesus accomplished on the cross, and accept Him as our savior, everything we need to prioritize is already within ourselves. We can start embracing the righteousness, peace, and joy within us, because Jesus paid for all that with His life, through God’s grace. When we have Jesus, we have everything.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
Adam’s sin as the first man was so powerful that it plunged all of humanity and the entire world into sin, he exchanged the righteous state that man had with God for sin. The price to pay for sin is death. No matter how much good we do, us sinners can never regain that righteous state with God unless it is paid with life through the shedding of blood. Now even though we deserved to die, Jesus loved us so much and embodied God’s grace by choosing to come down to take all our sins upon Himself, exchanging our sin for His righteousness.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 NKJV
When we believe in Jesus and exchange our sins for His righteousness, no amount of sin can make us sinners again. Just as how God saw us as sinners no matter how much good we did because of what Adam did, God now sees us as righteous no matter how much we sin because of what Jesus did. Just as how no amount of good can save us from death before, the righteousness Jesus gave us through His grace meant no amount of sin can rob us of His salvation.
We have become a new creation in Christ Jesus, and I would always be forever grateful for what Jesus did on the cross. When we believe that we are no longer condemned of sin because of what Jesus has done on the cross to save us, we can live a life of rest by letting go of everything and surrendering them to God.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17 NKJV
Only after receiving Jesus and believing in His finished work are we able to receive the Holy Spirit. We are now made free from the law of sin and death, also known as the ten commandments. Where we needed to look at a set of rules to follow before, we now have the Holy Spirit guide us from within. We no longer look outside ourselves to fulfill the ten commandments, but live out our life as led by the Spirit inside us. We are no longer abiding by a set of laws, but living out the holy and righteous person that God redeemed us to be.
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Matthew 7:17-18 NKJV
The two main themes of right believing and living a life of rest taught by Pastor Prince have proven themselves to be wisdom revealed by the Spirit because of the fruits produced by their truths. I believe that parents, educators, and society should prioritize this in the lives of those under our care; an education of Jesus teaches us the fundamental principles of our creator, and that lays the framework to learn everything else about His creation.
And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.”
Genesis 42:36 NKJV
Now despite having chased the Word of God and treasuring Jesus in my heart, I’m still living with my parent in an HDB flat, take public transport, am single and just started building my career (correct as at this date of writing). There are occasions where I feel like Jacob, living in a land of famine, full of lack, lost his favorite son and about to lose another; I don’t see the supply manifesting in my physical world, and it seems like everything is against me.
…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV
However, it is especially during these occasions of overwhelming emotions where it becomes imperative for me to confess the Word. These negative emotions are merely signals of the troubling thoughts running through my head, and we have been blessed with the ability to catch these thoughts, lift them up to Jesus, and exchange it with what His Word says about our life.
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:8-9 NKJV
Similar to Jacob’s situation, Egypt seems to have an abundance of food and wealth. My peers all seem to be enjoying so much success in their careers. Even the people of the world appear to be so blessed with all their material possessions and ability to generate wealth. Nonetheless, as long as I keep comparing myself and fixing my eyes on the world, I lose sight of all the blessings that are already in my life. I would not be able to realize that Joseph, Jacob’s own child, is Egypt’s prime minister responsible for their wealth and abundance. I would lose sight of how God is preparing the wealth of the world for His people. That is the wisdom that comforts me not to grow weary but to keep manifesting the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Spirit that is already within me.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27 NKJV
Jesus has already given me His peace to enjoy my current state of affairs. My heart no longer needs to worry, be troubled nor afraid of fulfilling my own needs. I can rest in the grace that He supplies to me every single day.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
The image that I constantly enjoy playing in my mind is that of God transforming me to be more like Jesus every single moment. Pulling out the roots of my imperfections from within, and planting the foundations of what is good deep within me. Every day, God is refining my unpurified ore, and crystalizing His beauty at my core.
For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:12 NKJV
There are times where I do not enjoy the refining process and resist the correction. But the Spirit within me is gentle and reminds me of how much God loves me, and that love alone is enough for me to lower my guard and submit myself to His correction because I know He only wants what is best for me.
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 NKJV
Even as I may presently lack the motivation to do what I need to do, when I humble myself and rest in God, He works in me both the desire and capabilities to do what He wants me to do.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
As a result of planting my roots deep into God’s grace, I would no longer need to forcefully nor hypocritically try to bear fruit. My goodness would not be fake or of selfish ambition, but genuine from my heart.
Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:4-5 NKJV
Even humans have a tendency to focus on the micro issues while overlooking the macro. We emphasize our minuscule imperfections instead of celebrating everything else that is wonderful about us. Akin to a company losing sight of their vision and spending so many resources on a minor lawsuit instead of focusing on their macro outlook and forging ahead with their major values. But as a result of receiving God’s macro mandate for our life, the micro and seemingly unimportant things of our life all start to fall into place, many of times outside of our conscious.
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:28 NKJV
Only after we let Jesus serve us, can we go beyond to serve others around us, and we can clearly see this in the life of Mary.
And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:39-42 NKJV
Unlike Martha who was trying to serve Jesus, Mary let Jesus serve her by sitting at his feet and listened to Him share the Word.
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
John 12:1-3 NKJV
From then, we see how Mary served Jesus by anointing His feet with oil before His crucifixion.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
John 19:25 NKJV
Mary served Jesus as she accompanied His mother to witness His death on the cross.
When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Matthew 27:59-61 NKJV
Mary served Jesus by accompanying His body to the tomb.
Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
John 20:1-2 NKJV
Mary served Jesus by being the first person at His tomb on Sunday, only to discover it empty, and informed Simon Peter and John about the empty tomb.
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
John 20:11-18 NKJV
Even when Mary wept outside the tomb of Jesus, she was the first person to see Jesus resurrected. And when Jesus commissioned her to spread the news of His resurrection, Mary finally served Jesus by spreading the word to the disciples about His resurrection.
“Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?””
I Kings 3:9 NKJV
Just as Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to His words, it is always important for us to hear Him first before we speak about anything. Solomon asked for a hearing heart before he started His rule, and we can ask for a hearing heart as well. That would keep us humble, and posture ourselves to hear from the Spirit and His messengers.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 NKJV
Whenever we lack the faith to speak into our lives, we need to go back to hearing the Word of God. It is through the continued healing of the Word that cleanses us daily and builds our faith.
““The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.”
Isaiah 50:4-5 NKJV
Only when we have been hearing His Word do we gain the words of a learned tongue, to speak a word in season, impacting the situation with its relevance.
For the Lord your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.
Deuteronomy 15:6 NKJV
Only when we have been blessed by God, can we go forth and truly bless those under us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16-17 NKJV
Only when we realize how much we are God’s beloved, can we love unconditionally.
Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
John 7:37-38 NKJV
Before we can pour out and love others, we must go to Jesus, our source and drink from Him. It is through drinking and feeding on Jesus does our heart then overflow with waters of living water, which we then lovingly impart to those under us.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…
Romans 8:28 NKJV
Writing this post has given me much joy as I learned to reconstruct what I knew to teach myself, and it reminded me of the priorities that are of the utmost importance in my life. This helps my tiny mind comprehend the vastness of His love for me. Even when I may not be able to see what God is doing, I know that God is always working behind the scenes, be it in my heart, or other people around me. I believe that my God is capable of setting up the right people and crafting the perfect situation while preparing me to move into the right place at the right time. Life becomes wonderful to live when I can rest in the knowledge that my God is steadfast, loving, gracious, faithful and true to His promises.