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The Goal of the Christian

Updated on October 16, 2014
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Bronwen was a teacher for over forty years. Degrees include School Librarianship, Psycholinguistics and Theology, and Applied Linguistics.

Matthew 6.33 (In the Karen Language)
Matthew 6.33 (In the Karen Language) | Source

In a Nutshell

In Matthew 6.33, Jesus says it so simply and yet so profoundly:

'Seek first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.'

The goal of the Christian is in that brief sentence quoted by Matthew.

That was the theme of the Karen refugee Mothers' Union Camp this year, and again I was honoured to be asked to speak to them. There wasn't much time to get it written and the workshop sheets completed for translation so I could have them in time, but we made it!

So here it is!

The Background to the Text

This morning I listened to the weather forecast, then looked at the clothes in my wardrobe. I thought,

"Oh, dear! What will I choose to wear? Will it be too hot for my new blue jacket? Would my purple outfit look good enough?"

That's what we women often do, isn't it?

It reminds me of Martha and Mary. Martha was always worrying about things:

"Would the food be good enough for Jesus and His friends? What should I give them to drink? Why doesn't Mary come and help? She could at least set the table."

Window in a Jerusalem Garden
Window in a Jerusalem Garden | Source

Stress and Anxiety

Jesus understood how people can be stressed and anxious. He knew how they worried about what to wear, what to cook, or would things be good enough for the guests?

Does it help if we allow ourselves to worry? Is it good to get stressed about something like our reputation in the community? Perhaps we want other people to think that we're the best cook, that we make the best food in the church. Is it wise to worry about our reputation, what other people think, or is it more important to be concerned with preparing food that is healthy, nutritious for our friends.

Attitudes like this can lead to problems that Jesus wants us to avoid.

He says, "Don't worry! Don't be anxious!"

List of Needs
List of Needs | Source

Making Priorities

Often there are things we think we need and things we think we must have. We can't have everything, and it wouldn't be good for us if we could, we'd probably get in a terrible muddle.

On this path of life we need to decide on our priorities, the things most important to us.

Here is a list of what we might need or want. I would like you to decide which six things are your priorities and number them.

(When this was done, we discussed which things the ladies found most important. They realised that some things were what they would like to have, but they were not essential. There is a difference between needing and wanting. We can't have everything and we need to prioritise.)

Seeking God's Kingdom

The first part of the theme this weekend is 'Seek first the kingdom of God.' It's the most important thing we can do - to seek, to look for, to strive to find the kingdom of God. Jesus tells us to work hard to know more about God's kingdom and to become part of it.

Mary chose to learn about God's kingdom. Jesus said she had chosen the best thing (Luke 10.42). it's best for us, too, but He did not mean that we should just sit around and let everyone else work while we wait for Jesus to come back.

The Kingdom of God

So what is the kingdom of God?

It includes everyone who loves God. Jesus told us God gives us choice. How can we choose to be part of the kingdom of God? We can only become a member of God's kingdom if we are born again. In John 3.3 Jesus said that if we are not born again, we cannot see the Kingdom of God.

Can we see this Kingdom? Not now, there is no 'outward show'(Luke 17.20). It's not something we can see like our food and shelter. It is inside our hearts and it is spiritual. It is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14.17).

Seek His Righteousness

What does being righteous mean? It means being right morally, being justified before God. Jesus tells us we should seek God's righteousness, to become right, as God is right.

But God is perfect, and we are not. We all do wrong things. This is called sin and it separates us from God who is so holy.

The only way we can be right and justified before God is through putting our faith in Jesus and accepting His sacrifice on the cross so God can forgive us for our sins (Romans 5. 1-9).

So our first priority should be to learn more about God and to have faith in Jesus.

Beside the Sea of Galilee
Beside the Sea of Galilee | Source

Having Faith in Jesus

Do I really have faith in Jesus? What kind of a Christian am I?

Perhaps we can answer this by thinking about our pets. Have you ever noticed the differences between a cat and a dog?

A Cat

A cat demands to be waited on and it always wants to be the centre of attention.

It tries to make it's owner do what it wants: give it food, give it a warm lap to sit on.

If someone else offers it food, it will go to them instead.

It does not think about others, only about what it can get for itself.

A Dog

A dog is faithful, it always tries to please its owner.

It tries to protect its master if danger comes.

Even if a dog's master goes away and it seems as if he is not coming back, when he returns the dog forgives and remains faithful.

Are we like a Dog or a Cat?

What kind of a Christian am I? We need to think about that.

Are we like the dog and remain faithful to God even when trouble comes?

Or are we like the cat and only think of ourselves and our own comfort? Do we always want to be the centre of attention? Do we try to make other people do what we want them to do? When we pray do we ask God to do what we want?

We need to look deep into our hearts and decide on our most important priorities.

"All These Things Will be Given to You."

We all think about what we would like to have, what we want to do, where we would like to be. Is it just wishing for things that won't happen? Should we think that way?

Sometimes people go to church because they think that if they believe in God then He will keep bad things from happening, that God will make them rich.

God will not give us everything we want, but He has promised to give us everything we need if we become His children and we ask Him. It may not come at once, but His timing is perfect.

We have talked about personal choices and priorities, our goals and the path we take as a Christian. May God bless you as you make the right choices and find the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Galilee in Winter
Galilee in Winter | Source

© 2014 Bronwen Scott-Branagan

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    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      'Seek first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.'

      Such a simple directive, but so hard for weak humans to follow.

      Excellent Blossom!

    • profile image

      mours sshields 2 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Amen! So true!

      Marcia Ours

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Wonderful hub. Just beautiful. When you were talking about Martha I was thinking, " You know, Jesus would be just as happy with hot dogs, beans and koolaid as he would with a pot roast with all the trimmings. Martha was missing the point, but Mary wasn't. It's the dining with him that's important, not what the fare is. It brings to mind the passage where Jesus says "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Dining means intimate fellowship. But you offer so much more. Thanks for making my day.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I think of that conversation of Jesus' about Mary and Martha pretty often. I chide myself for putting so much time into earthly chores; worrying about what someone else will think when it clearly tells us there that Jesus didn't worry about a clean dish! So I am sure He is saying that time could be better spent with Him.

      Great reminder. ^+

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wonderful hub Blossom, the cat and dog comparison is a good one for types of Christians. I like to think I am a dog, but this will make a lot of people think deeply. voted up.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      WillStarr: That is so true. It sound simple and easy to follow, but it's not!

      mours asshields: I agree!

      lambservant: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. When we offer hospitality we have time to listen to each other and we gain so much more than we give.

      Jackie Lynnley: Sometimes it's hard to get the balance right, isn't it? There's always so much to do that we can be so taken up with doing things that we forget about the joy of spending time with Jesus.

      Jodah: Woof! Yes, I'd much prefer to be a dog, but somehow there's often a mee ow lurking around.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Beautiful presentation. The illustration of the cat and the dog really brings home the message of the importance of our faithfulness to God.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I hope I'm a dog person! This is so well written, as always, and it makes us think carefully. You've given knowledgeable examples and, in fact, highlighted a good way to live.

      Ann

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      The message from the kingdom of god.. it's so clear and i am a dog person and I like how you use the cat and dog illustration to share your message

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I like cats better than dogs, but I think I am more like the dog. I don't demand a lot of attention from others, and I try to be faithful. Forgiving is probably the most difficult part of the Christian journey, though, we think we are justified in being upset or offended when someone does something we do not like or agree with. Setting aside these feelings takes prayer and humility, and a willingness to allow God to do justice rather than us forcing it upon someone.

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 2 years ago from On planet Earth

      Hello Blossom my friend

      Seeking first the Kingdom of God is most important , because all other worldly things will pass away but the gift of God is eternal life and when we serve Him we get that gift.

      I love your illustration of the cat and dog, what you said about cats is true i personally isn't fond of them. Dogs however are truly grateful animals even more than human beings who have fallen so low because of sin. Too many times we forget the scripture that says God will not withhold anything good from them that walketh uprightly . We sometimes groan and moan over the things God does not want for us instead of letting go and letting God. I am trying to let God do all my doings , because i cannot do it alone . He is my friend and my comforter " What a Friend i have in Jesus all my sins and griefs to bear" God has never ever forsook me. He promised never to leave me alone.

      I hope all is well by God's grace with you.

      ~~~ Shalom & Peace be unto you~~~

    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Excellent write on a ttopic we all should take to heart.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Hi Blossom. Cool Hub. I like the dog or the cat idea. Funny and 'cool.'

      So right about the Kingdom. God speed!!

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 2 years ago from USA

      Very nice Blossom! You are right! :) Worrying is a waste of time! God will always provide...He always did and always will! Trust=Faith. Amen!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      MsDora: Our faithfulness is so important. Thank you for your lovely comments.

      Annart: Thank you! It is a good way to live and a great goal.

      Frank Atanacio: It is so clear - and straightforward and simple, but not always so easy to follow.

      denise.w.anderson: Forgiving can be so difficult, even to forgive ourselves when we do really stupid things. How blessed we are to have Jesus as our intermediary between us and our holy God. Thank you.

      LadyFiddler: Seeking God's Kingdom is the most important goal for the Christian and when we do that we naturally follow the rest in faith. I love that slogan: Let go, let God. succinct, but not so easy to obey. I love that song, too, and often sing or whistle it when I walk my little dog. Thank you for your blessing - may our Heavenly Father bless you richly, too.

      Fiddleman: Thank you so much - that goal is for me as well.

      Manatita44: Love your comments! Thank you and blessings.

      schoolgirlforreal: Worrying is a waste of time, but how often we succumb. Keeping a journal is a great thing to do, then we can look back and see just how much our Father provides for our needs. It can certainly be a faith-builder!

      I'm glad I could come back. I meant to add my apology for not responding to other people's hubs. I'm still having trouble with my computer but a third phone call today brought some results and they're going to monitor it for a week. Hope they can find out why I'm not receiving messages!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful sharing of what your theme was for your engagement. I am sure many got a lot out of it as did I. As long as I am seeking He is here with me. And that is how I choose to spend my time.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 2 years ago from USA

      @Ericdierker,

      Yes, it's a great way to spend time...in peacefulness and joy!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Ericdierker: Thank you so much. I hope that it was helpful for those lovely ladies who have been through so much. I love your comments.

      schoolgirlforreal: It is a great way - the best - for spending our time.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I like your reference to the personalities of dogs and cats. Cats do seem a big indifferent to life and how they treat people. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 2 years ago from USA

      Yeah, cats are def selfish! Dogs are better!! But cats are kinda easier to take care of. :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Beautifully said Blossom--your faith is like a light!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      teaches12345: Thank you for your comment. Sorry I've been so long in responding, I've had lots of trouble with my computer, but hopefully all is well now.

      schoolgirlforreal: That's true. I love little kittens but the trouble is that they grow up and kill the wild birds.

      AudreyHowitt: You dear HubFriend, thank you so much!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is a wonderful hub and thank you for reminding us what is the truth in this world. You have illuminated that truth to us.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      In truth, I think we all have a little bit of cat and a little bit of dog in us most of the time. Jesus set an example for us and all we can do is do our best to follow it. And thank goodness we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. And the Bible says He will never leave us nor forsake us. We serve a wonderful Creator. This is well done and I'm sure your speech was a great success!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      suzettenaples: Thank you. There can be so many diversions trying to pull us in opposite directions.

      Ann1Az2: Yes. That is so true - and aren't we blessed to have Jesus' example and the Holy Spirit to guide! I pray that it was helpful to the lovely ladies there who have been through so much. Bless you for your comments.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I love the comparison between the dog and the cat. Very thought provoking hub, thank you for sharing.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Blossom, what a great reminder this hub is. The part about how we tend to worry, and ought to not be like that, really spoke to me. It doesn't help thing! We do need balance. When I was reading, the two greatest commandments also came to mind. The combination of seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, loving God with everything we have, and our neighbors, all ties together.

      It seems life is flying by, and is so precious and relatively short compared to everything. What an awesome reminder to put some serious stock into what gave us our life at all in the first place, and to make our time more well spent. Possibly even affecting things for eternity, because so many don't know God personally, or believe in him, etc.

      I also enjoyed your photos, especially the Sea of Galilee photos. I would love to see that place sometime. Thank you for sharing!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Efficient Admin: Thank you for your lovely comments.

      oceansnsunsets: Even when we know that worrying doesn't help, somehow we tend to do it anyway - even when we think that we trust in God and have a personal relationship with him. I've been so blessed in the places that we have visited in our long life-times and the photos remind me of those experiences, too. I love to share - thank you!

    • Joyfulcrown profile image

      Joyfulcrown 2 years ago

      This hub is a wonderful reminder of how good and faithful God is. He can be truly trusted at all times. Thank you for sharing this.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Joyfulcrown: Yes! He is faithful and can always be trusted. Thank you for your lovely comments. God bless you.

    • Mary Tilden profile image

      Mary Tilden 2 years ago from Monticello, California

      Beautifully written hub! It seems like Christians often forget Christ and their faith in Him as they pursue their own happiness. Sadly, this especially includes me in the unending pursuit of the dollar! Thank you for the reminder on what's important.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Mary Tilden: Thank you. Our God is so faithful. I think of the old song, 'Though we forget him and wander away, Still he is faithful wherever we stay.' We often seem to need reminders to be faithful to him in this busy, bustling world where so much seems to focus on earthly gain, when spiritual gain is so much more important. God bless you.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Well-written and beautifully expressed and illustrated, Blossom! I do not know how I missed this jewel here of such beautiful truths you have shared. So glad I found it. As Will stated, it is not hard at all, as He has already paid the high price for our sins.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, g+ and sharing

      God bless you.

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 2 years ago

      Thank for this hub of the subject of God's Kingdom !

      We must also consider another important meaning.

      Notice!

      Reference Bible Joh 18:36 Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.”

      New World Translation Mt 6:10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.( Which means a Government that will bring heavenly conditions here as well.)

      Da 2:44 “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom (Government) that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom (Government) itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite;

      Really the Kingdom pronounced and defined as a real government of power and rulership !

      That is why Jesus said his (Kingdom)Government was not of this world.

      Notice that satan owns these Kingdoms Governments on this earth now!

      Reference Bible Mt 4:8 Again the Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory,

      Mt 4:9 and he said to him: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.”

      Lu 4:6 and the Devil said to him: “I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it.

      These scriptures shows how the Kingdom of subject is a real Government and Jesus was saying we are to put this Kingdom Government interest first because it is our future of real happiness!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Wonderful hub and nicely presented. God takes care of everything if we just let him and thank him in advance. Stella

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      You have shared this so beautifully. God knows our concerns as well as He knows our needs. And the most precious thing is He loves us despite our failings. That brings me to tears at times...How humbling it is to know that I am so loved in spite of all of human failings.

      Voted up +++ shared

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      The Kingdom of God is Within you and no one else can get to it but you. It is where all the laws were put and all the answers are.

    • profile image

      mours sshields 2 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Great article! Pictures are awesome! Like the comparison between the cat and the dog!

      Marcia Ours

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Faith Reaper: Jesus has paid the price - and it's only up to us to accept the wonderful gift. Thank you for your lovely comments and may God bless you, too.

      Kiss andTales: Thank you for your interesting comments. Many blessings.

      ladyguitarpicker: That is so true, Stella, - and that involves our putting our trust in him. Thank you for your helpful comments.

      pstraubie48: Yes! Aren't we blessed that He just knows us so intimately, but it can be embarrassing when we can hide our failings from our friends and family, and even ourselves, but we can't hide them from Him. I'm so grateful for His love - and love Him so much!

      Lady Guinevere: That is true, but it can only be within us when we give our lives to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to build God's Kingdom there. So many of the answers are in the holy Scriptures of the Bible, too.

      mours sshields: Thank you, Marcia. We can learn so much from God's created world around us when we truly look. Lovely comments!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Beautiful words and great advice for those of us struggling with the worries, woes and complexities of this world.

    • Uzochukwu Mike profile image

      Uzochukw Mike 2 years ago from Oba

      I love this, all of us are making efforts as christians to make it in the kingdom at last.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Mel Carriere: Thank you, although I'm sure that we all struggle with the worries, woes and complexities of the world at times. It's just so great that we have a wonderful God to turn to. Blessings.

      Uzochukwi Mike: We certainly are! And won't there be rejoicing when we eventually reach the top of the hill and get there! What joy!

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