Seek in Action

Persistence tends to pay off. By continuing to work tirelessly on a goal, great or small, progress will be made towards its successful outcome. Even if the progress is incremental, it still counts. I like to say, “If you push hard enough in the same direction, you eventually move that way.” The Bible establishes the same principle, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5). Careers have been reinvented, addictions have been beaten, fortunes have been made, and most importantly, sins have been overcome by applying persistence. In the most challenging of circumstances, it is encouraging to know that when we continue to apply our efforts on a focused goal, we have some direct influence on obtaining the outcome we seek.

So then, if we set goals – great or small – and if we can influence progress towards the successful outcome with a persistent effort, it is clearly important to start by setting the right goals! We cannot be tricked into seeking goals that might seem virtuous and good, but are actually void of true value. These kinds of goals are fools’ gold. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:21 that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This offers us a good starting point to test the goals that we have in our lives. Is the fulfillment of our goals measured by worldly means or spiritual? While there is nothing inherently wrong with seeking personal achievement in the world, these goals must not overshadow our spiritual achievements. As 1 John 2:15-17 proclaims, seeking worldly goals is temporary and if we have love for these accomplishments, we are misdirected. We need to love the goals that have an eternal and holy result. These are the kinds of goals that are worth our time.

We don’t have to look very far to find an example of a specific goal that fits this profile. Matthew 6:33 clearly and succinctly instructs us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….” It is an oft-cited Scripture because it is central to the life of a Christian. Yet, it can be challenging to comprehend the practical meaning. Certainly, the act of seeking the Kingdom of God involves more than paying lip service, and therefore requires that we put some real work behind it. Is the time and effort that we spend in our lives bringing us closer to inheriting the Kingdom of God? It is our job to find ways to respond to this question with an affirmative answer.

The best way to begin making progress towards seeking the Kingdom of God, and to continue once we have started, is to actively work on overcoming sin (compare Colossians 3:1-7). Doing this involves building our understanding of obedience, thereby continuing to learn and grow in righteousness. And, once we deepen our understanding of obedience, we are obliged to change our behavior accordingly. In addition, participating in the Work of God is important as well. Towards the end of Paul’s ministry when he was under house-arrest, he acknowledges and thanks several individuals by name, calling them “fellow workers for the kingdom of God” (Colossians 4:11). These individuals assisted Paul in his work, ministering to Christians in far-reaching corners of the world. In order to actively seek the Kingdom of God, we need to work on overcoming our sins, but also commit ourselves to the Work of the Church of God, whose commission is to preach the gospel to the world as a witness.

Our life’s work will find a successful outcome if we actively put a genuine effort behind targeted goals. However, we must choose our goals very carefully. If we choose a worldly goal, we may very well achieve it, but fail to find eternal life. By setting our sights on things above with a spiritual outcome and actively working at it, our success will be eternal.

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