Human beings go about satisfying their needs in a certain order of importance. In general, they prioritize certain needs first and then take care of other needs in light of those they hold most important.
Naturally, the top priorities are more basic needs like food, water, clothing and shelter.
When it comes to making decisions with what we’ll do with our time, money and energy; these tend to get taken care of before becoming motivated to satisfy other needs like emotional and spiritual ones.
This idea has been given a label in psychology called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”
Basically, he says that humans are naturally motivated to pay more attention to emotional and spiritual needs in light of meeting physical needs first.
When security is felt in physical needs, then more attention is shifted from those to other needs.
But here’s the thing…the secondary needs are always at the mercy of the primary needs. Why? Because we won’t let the secondary ones violate the primary ones.
If fulfilling a secondary need seems to us like it will put us at risk for any primary needs being met, we’re extremely prone to avoid whatever option life is presenting to us.
Prioritize Kingdom business
But then Jesus comes along and says this…
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the sky, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather crops into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more important than they? And which of you by worrying can add a single day to his life’s span? (Matthew 6:25-27)
How can we not worry about food and water? These are essential for our survival, right? But the very fact that Jesus said not to worry about these things means it’s possible not to, as He showed by His example.
Instead of worrying about worldly survival and obtaining things in the world that seem like they’ll provide a better life, he says…
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Now this doesn’t mean you don’t eat and drink and wear clothes (please do!) :). It also doesn’t mean you stop making money. It means those things are secondary instead of primary.
It means you make decisions about what to do with your time, money and energy based on Kingdom business and then accept the provision of survival needs in light of where that puts you.
Stripping the world of its power
Worry is simply power over your attention and pursuits. To not worry about these things means they’ve been stripped of the power to lure you into decisions that don’t serve the Kingdom’s purposes first. It means YOU have power over THEM.
How can you tell if you’re succumbing to the power behind the world’s system as an individual or as a church? You will feel a certain attachment that presses on you and weighs you down about life’s cares.
If you step back and take inventory of how you spend your time, money and energy; you will see they are primarily directed toward providing yourself stability and security with what you need to survive.
At the church level, you will see the primary concern be things like increasing reputation, growing in numbers, upgrading facilities, etc. A church might also pursue Kingdom business, but you will sense and see that it is secondary. It’s only in light of feeling physically secure.
The issue is if the pursuit of these things is distracting you from going about the business of the Kingdom. Are you prioritizing that over how you’ll be fed and clothed, or are you pursuing things of the world and then thinking about Kingdom business on the side? You might seek the Kingdom, but maybe you seek it second?
Detaching from the world’s pressure
Here’s what Watchman Nee says in the book Love Not The World about things in the world…
The Lord is warning us to beware lest we be unduly pressed with this life’s cares, that is to say, with anxieties regarding quite ordinary matters such as food and dress which belong to our present existence on the earth. For it is always a matter of where the heart is.
We are not to carry a burden regarding them that would weigh us down. We are to be in a true sense detached in spirit from our goods in the house or in the field (Luke 17:31).
The source of this is supernatural. Nee goes on to say…
These things are not in themselves wrong; the wrong lies in the spiritual force behind them, which, through their medium, presses relentlessly upon us.
Oh, that we might awake to the fact that whereas these things are so common and so simple, they are yet being used by Satan to ensnare God’s children into the great net of his world order.
What must be avoided is not the things of the world. You must avoid the power that lures you into being controlled by them.
Using the world for God’s purposes
As this post lays out, you were created to have dominion (rulership) over the things of the world to use them for God’s good purposes. You were commissioned to use them for what they were designed for. This is seeking first the Kingdom of God.
Instead, you can be lured into being dominated by them. Instead of using the world, the world can use you for its purposes.
This isn’t just worldings (non-Christians) either. Plenty of Christians are complacent and apathetic – which is the perfect condition for being used.
When you’re not on guard and proactively seeking the Kingdom, the power behind the world’s system will seep in and manipulate you to do its bidding.
Seeking first the Kingdom of God is running every decision you make with your time, money and energy through the filter of how it will first accomplish the Lord’s purposes, second your Jesus community’s purposes, and third your individual purpose within and in support of those higher purposes.
This is the sixth post in the Enemy Blueprints series. Go here to read the rest of the posts in the series.