What Manner of Man
(A weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ)
By Richard M. Eyre
WEEK 40: “SEEK YE FIRST”
The core of what Christ taught and what he lived is this admonition: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). As he spoke on the Mount, he turned the world upside down, elevating the low, leveling the high, calling for treasure in the heart (see Matthew 6:21), and telling those who thought they owned the world that they owned nothing. The true in heart felt the light and knew that moth and rust and time would take all their quantities and leave them, in the eternities, with only their qualities: qualities gained through the seeking, first, of the kingdom of God.
Christ couldn’t have really taught that principle if he had not lived it. But he did live it—so totally that we know he knew whereof he spoke. He sought nothing of the world; no mammon, no honors or recognitions or titles, no praise, no physical possession, no power, no comfort or ease.
He consistently, consciously, continuously sought the kingdom of God and its righteousness not only for himself but for all his younger brothers and sister. His goal—our eternal life and exaltation—was reflected in all he said, and, more remarkably, in all he did.
Throughout the ages, saints and sages have proposed discipline as the key to the highest realm of life: “Deny yourself.” Deny your own needs for the sake of someone who needs you. Deny the momentary pleasures for the sake of the longer term. Deny the easy and mediocre for the difficult and excellent. Deny the physical for the spiritual. Christ’s life is the maximum study of self-denial—not self-harm or self-apathy, but the denial of personal gratification, the denial of his life for ours.