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Righteous Resolutions

The delicate beauty of the snowflakes reflect the beauty of righteous resolutions.
Photo Credit: Mark Shutt

(By Angela Watson)

It’s a new year, a time for celebration and new beginnings. At this time, many are thinking about resolutions, goals, and plans for everything we want to accomplish this coming year. For several years, I’ve been using PowerSheets to help me set my yearly goals. If you are not familiar with that tool, it is an intentional goal planner to help you make what matters happen. 

As I’ve been going through the prep work, I’ve been challenged by the words in Matthew 6:33 from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

This combination of seeking God and His righteousness is not our natural state. Romans 3:10-11 tells us, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Our human nature tends to want to do things our way, to think we know what is best. Since the garden, we’ve been trying to figure things out on our own.

When I think of the righteousness of God, I think of salvation, that the grace of God justifies us through redemption in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24) and that we have access to righteousness through our faith in Him (Romans 3:22). These verses all point to when we first receive God’s righteousness, but Matthew 6:33 tells us that we need to keep seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

What does it mean to seek His righteousness after our redemption?

This phrase, His righteousness, is defined in Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible as the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved by God. 

A clearer picture emerged as I traced the pathway through the preceding verses in Matthew 6. In verses 25-32, Jesus tells the people not to worry or be anxious about their lives; specifically, He mentions what we will eat and drink and the clothes we will wear. Jesus reassures them that just as God takes care of His other creations, the birds and the flowers, how much more can we trust Him to care for us as His image bearers whom He has made to be joint heirs with His Son?

Earlier in the chapter, Jesus tells the people that what they focus on is where their hearts will be, and He warns us not to gather treasures here on earth; those treasures won’t last. Instead, He calls us to gather treasures for ourselves in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). These treasures will endure if our hearts and minds are focused on eternity (1 Corinthians 3:11-13).

It’s often easy to set goals based on what we want to accumulate or achieve, and those goals are usually good. 

But I began to wonder if my goals would be different if I set them with a focus on seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Would they be less about things that will affect only my time on earth and more focused on goals that will reap rewards for now and eternity?

Continuing further back through Matthew 6, it all came together. In verses 9-13, we find the Lord’s prayer, which says, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” 

Seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness means aligning ourselves with God’s will. It’s bringing His kingdom’s power and strength into our earthly lives, storing our treasure in heaven, and not being anxious about our temporal needs, because when we focus on what matters for eternity, God will supply the rest.

I pray that as this year begins and we make our plans and set our goals, we will seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness with a view of eternity, that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and the desire to hear those words “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).


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