What should be our top priority once we repent and are baptized?
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness …”
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24 Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
American King James Version×).
God wants us to put obedience to Him and seeking His righteousness and His Kingdom ahead of everything else in this life. Our commitment to serve Him wholeheartedly, however, may present us with difficult choices. Paul explains: “… All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:12Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
American King James Version×). Therefore we need to evaluate, ahead of time, how strong our commitment to God is so we will be prepared to make the choices He wants us to make.
Does God promise to help those who trust Him when they face difficult choices?
“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
American King James Version×, NRSV).
God tells us that “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all” (Psalms 34:19 Psalms 34:19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
American King James Version×). For an excellent example of God delivering His faithful servants from a crisis, be sure to read “A Stirring Example of Faith,” page 13.
How does God respond to those who refuse to trust Him?
“Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies … But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:29-33 Proverbs 1:29-33 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoever listens to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
American King James Version×).
Our commitment to God is necessary (Mark 8:34-38 Mark 8:34-38 34 And when he had called the people to him with his disciples also, he said to them, Whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
35 For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
38 Whoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
American King James Version×). He tells us, “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2 Isaiah 66:2For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, said the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.
American King James Version×, NASB). His response to us depends in large part on whether we trust Him, whether our faith in Him is solid.