The Cure for the Cluttered Life

Title: The Cure for the Cluttered Life

Bible Book: Matthew 6 : 33

Author: Terry Trivette

Subject: Peace; Living, Busy; Life, Purpose of



In 2006, a psychiatrist by the name of Edward Hallowell published a book entitled Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap. In the book, Hallowell talks about realizing how busy his life had become when he found himself staying at a vacation home, and becoming angry at a rotary phone. He couldn't use his cell phone, and it irritated him to have to wait for the dial to return to start.i

Most of us can relate to the title of Hallowell's book. If we are honest, are lives have become "crazy busy." Every morning brings a new set of deadlines and duties that seem to demand more time than we have to give.

The cell phones on our sides, the lists in our pockets, the sticky notes on our desks, and the mailboxes full of emails only serve to remind us that we have got too much to do.The reality is that our lives have become cluttered. We have committed ourselves to so many things, that nothing really gets the attention it deserves.We have become clichés. We are jacks of all trades, and masters of none. Our jobs suffer, our spouses suffer, our kids suffer, and most dangerous of all, our relationship with the Lord suffers.

In Matthew chapter six, we find a familiar verse of Scripture. The Lord Jesus says in verse 33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."If you read the verses leading up to this familiar and oft-quoted verse, you find that the Lord Jesus had been teaching about the cares, worries, and demands of life.In verse 33, the Lord Jesus teaches us that while there are many things in life that seem to demand our time and attention, there is only one thing that truly deserves our time and attention.

I truly believe that if we as God's people ever applied this simple principle to our lives, we would instantly find that our lives would be streamlined, simplified, and cleared of all the clutter.In other words, when we fully focus on the main thing, we won't be so frazzled by the many things. There are three things we glean from this wonderful verse. Notice first of all, that if we are to cure our cluttered lives there is...


Look again at our text. The Lord Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God..." Notice that word "first". It is translated from a Greek word that has two meanings. It means first in the sense of order, the idea being that something is number one in a list of things. The word also means first in the sense of chiefly, or most prominent. Or we might say that someone is "the best", or the "first" in their class.

Both of these meanings shine light on what the Lord Jesus was saying in this verse. He teaches us that the kingdom of God is to be the priority of our life.There are other things in our life, but nothing as important, and nothing that we would put before the kingdom of God. His rule is to be the priority that guides our life.I want you to notice a couple of things about this priority that Jesus sets forth in verse 33. Notice first of all, that if the kingdom of God is the priority of our life:

A. It Will Direct The Activity Of Our Life

If the kingdom of God is the priority in your life, or the "first" thing, then everything you do will in someway relate to that priority.For instance, you may work a job, but that job is important to you, only insomuch that it helps in the kingdom of God. For instance, it provides money that you can give to the kingdom. It allows you a place to spread the gospel of the kingdom to your coworkers. It is a way in which you can glorify the King of the kingdom.

Do you see this principle? When the kingdom of God is your priority, then everything you do in life somehow relates to Christ and His position as King.Likewise, when the kingdom of God is "first" in your life, you will do nothing that detracts or interferes with that kingdom.There will be no debating whether you will go to church or stay in bed. You won't have to wrestle with whether you should go to the ball-field or God's house. The offering plate will not be an optional part of the service when the kingdom of God is your priority. The preacher won't have to beg you to serve when Christ and His kingdom are first in your life.

When you set the kingdom of God as your priority, it will direct the activity of your life. Everything else in life, good, bad, or indifferent, becomes secondary to the Kingdom of God.

Henry Ford once said, "A weakness of all human beings is trying to do too much at once. That scatters effort and destroys direction."ii 

The Lord Jesus reminds us that when we set the kingdom of God as our priority, we will not try to do too many things at once. Our activities will be directed and focused on one thing. 

Notice something else that we see about this priority. Notice not only that this priority will direct the activity of our life, but notice also further that when the kingdom of God is our priority: 

B. It Will Dictate The Attitude Of Our Life

Look carefully again at what the Lord says in verse 33. He says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God..." Notice that familiar biblical phrase, "the kingdom of God."

I've heard several attempts to define what exactly constitutes the kingdom of God, and I am not sure if any of them were exactly correct.I believe very simply, that the kingdom of God is a life in which God's will and God's word is the supreme and sole authority.

Living in the United States, it is difficult for us to really grasp the principles of a kingdom. We elect our leaders, and expect them to enact our wishes. In a kingdom, or an absolute monarchy, the king is completely in charge of what goes on in his kingdom. The people that live in his kingdom are completely subject to his commands and instructions for their lives. They don't get a voice, a vote, or a veto. They are simply expected to obey the king.

This is the kind of life that Christ is describing when He mentions the kingdom of God. Christ is calling us to make the kingdom of God our priority, which means that we live our lives in complete and total obedience to the King. To live in the Kingdom of God is to accept Christ's absolute rule over your life.If you seek first the kingdom of God, then there will be no hesitation or negotiation over the will of God. You will obey His Word without debate or delay.

The old Puritan, Richard Baxter understood the rules of the kingdom of God. Many years ago he wrote,

"Lord, it belongs not to my care,

Whether I die or live,

To love and serve Thee is my share,

And this Thy grace must give,

Christ leads me through no darker rooms,

Than He went through before,

He that to God's kingdom comes,

Must enter by this door."iii

The clutter of our lives can only be cleared when we have made the kingdom of God our priority, and let that priority guide all that we do.

There is more we see, however, in this precious verse. Notice not only the priority that must guide our life, but notice also secondly:


As we continue looking at verse 33, notice what else the Lord Jesus says. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness..."

To clear the clutter from our lives, we must not only seek the kingdom of God as our priority, but we must also set the righteousness of God as our practice. In seeking one, you will also seek the other.

I want us to look at a couple of things about this phrase, "and his righteousness" that we find in this text. Notice what "His righteousness" must be as describe in the following truths.

A. A Way Of Life For The Christian

Notice that word "righteousness". It is translated from a word that literally means equity, or rightness in character.The word simply speaks of being right in who you are and what you do. Is that not supposed to be the case in the life of a Christian?

In Romans 6:13, Paul says, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

If our lives are to be simplified and streamlined, then we can no longer strive to please our flesh as well as God. The two are mutually exclusive.

When the Kingdom of God becomes my priority, then righteousness will become my practice, and the way I conduct my life will change.I want to make a confession. My wife and I have become closet fans of the television show "The Biggest Loser". Week after week, we watch these people, who are dangerously obese, work to save their lives by losing weight. One of the things that they are taught by their trainers is that being healthy, and maintaining a healthy weight, is not something that is done by crash diets and sporadic exercise. To reach their goals, proper diet and exercise must become a way of life.

There are far too many Christians that take stabs at righteousness, and sporadically practice living right, but they never seem to truly commit to holiness.As a result, these people never experience the full blessing and benefit of living for God. Victory is always a mirage, and they never rise above a mediocre Christianity.In the uncluttered life of verse 33, righteousness is not just a theological term; it is a way of life. Notice something else about this practice that must govern our life. Notice not only that "his righteousness" must be a way of life for the Christian, but notice also further that "His righteousness" must be:

B. A Work Of God In The Christian

If you read too quickly in our text, you will miss an important word. Look again at the Lord's words. He says, " ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness..." Notice that it is "his" righteousness.While it is true that the Christian should seek to live a righteous life, the Christian is always aware that unless God makes us righteous, we will never be righteous. In other words; righteousness is not something a Christian can achieve alone. Just as our salvation was a gift of God's grace; our sanctification is likewise a work of God.

In Galatians chapter three, Paul asks a very direct question. In verse three, he says, "Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" In other words, Paul asks, "If you entered into the Christian life through the work of God, do you think that you will be able to live the Christian life by your own work?"

Perhaps you have discovered a fact that has become abundantly clear to me in the years that I have been a Christian. That fact is this: by myself I am terrible at living the Christian life. I am a miserable failure at doing right apart from the help and grace of God.Therefore, what I seek as a part of my life everyday is the work only God can do. I do not simply try to do good; I ask God to make me good!

I read recently about former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann, and his explanation as to why he had cheated on his ex-wife. Theismann said to her, "God wants Joe Theismann to be happy."iv I would of course take exception to what Theismann said. God doesn't want us to be happy nearly as much as He wants us to be holy! The reality is that He is the only one that can make me both!

There is a third truth that we find in this text. If we want to simplify our cluttered lives, notice not only the priority that must guide our life, and the practice that must govern our life, but notice also thirdly and finally:


Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is to be the first and primary pursuit of our lives. Nothing is to usurp it, outrank it, or replace it in our lives. And yet, our lives are so cluttered, that often we are too busy for the things of God. The reality is that our lives are so busy, and are so cluttered because deep down we fear that if we do not pursue everything, we will miss out on something. We fill our lives with activities and appointments, hoping to drink up everything, and fill the needs of our life.

Yet, in our text in verse 33, the Lord Jesus offers a promise that is contrary to the cluttered lives so many of us live. He says that if we will pursue His rule first and foremost, "...all these things shall be added unto you."

Essentially, the Lord Jesus says that if we will get the order correct, and pursue the right priority, we will not miss out on the things we spend so much time chasing, but will actually find them "added", or given to us by God. This promise is the guarantee for the Christian that abandons themself completely to the Kingdom of God. Notice a couple of things about this promise. Notice first of all that:

A. The Father Will See Our Needs

Earlier in this chapter, the Lord Jesus is talking about all the basic needs of life about which men spend so much of their time worrying. He talks about things such as food and clothing. He tells His disciples not even to think about these things, and then in verse 32, He makes this statement: "...your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."

Grasp this truth! The Lord Jesus says, "You seek after the Kingdom of God. Don't think about the needs of this life. If you will concentrate on the needs of Kingdom; the Father will concentrate on the needs of your life."

This is a wonderful promise. While God desires for me to bring my requests to Him, I never have to alert Him to my needs. He knows my needs, even more clearly than I do. He sees every void in my life, and when I obey Him, and seek first His will, then I can be assured that my needs are clear to His omniscient eye. The promise of God is that when we are pursuing Him, we will not have to inform Him of our needs. He knows the needs of our lives.

Notice something else about this promise. Notice not only that the Father will see our needs, but notice also further that:

B. The Father Will Supply Our Needs

I draw your attention back to our text. In verse 33, Christ says, "...all these things shall be added unto you." Notice that word "added". It is translated from a Greek word that literally means "to lay beside." In other words, as I follow after the kingdom of God, not striving after and worrying over the needs of life, what I will find is that along the way, God will simply "lay beside" me the things that I need.

Rather than expending all my energy trying to fill these needs, by pursuing the priority of the kingdom, the grace of God supplies my needs. You don't have to live a cluttered life! You don't have to be stretched in ten different directions! You don't have divide your loyalties and abilities! The Word of God offers you a guarantee in the form of God's promise. If you will seek His kingdom first, He will add to your life everything that you need.

Remember Paul's words in Philippians 4:19. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

The great missionary, Hudson Taylor, who sought the will of God, and saw the work of God, once said, "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply."

That is the promise of verse 33. You will never run short, win you are running for the kingdom. 


Our culture is one in which most of us live lives that know only two speeds - fast and frantic. Our candle burns at both ends, and we are trying to find a way to light the middle as well. Our busyness has left us with cluttered lives. We throw our time away on trivial and temporary things, and very often that which matters most gets the least of our attention.

St. Augustine, who lived in the fourth century, once said something that is very fitting for our day. He said, "God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands our full - there's nowhere for Him to put it."v

There is so much, spiritually speaking, that God wants to do with and through our lives. Yet we prevent Him from doing it, simply because we can never get focused on that which is supremely important.

Do you want to be used by God? Do you want His will to be done in your life? Then clean out the clutter. Eliminate that which is unnecessary, and listen to the familiar words of our Lord. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

i; accessed 10/18/07

ii; accessed 10/18/07

iii ibid

iv ibid

v McHenry's Quips, Quotes, & Other Notes; p. 112

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