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How To Stay Close To God, In 2024

I love New Years. Everything about it. I love the concept of fresh beginnings and new goals, and I sure do love champagne. This year, though, in the midst of crafting my carb-free heath strategy and scrolling through new You Verse plans, I had a thought. What if instead of making any plan or goal for 2024, I simply commit this year to what I believe is the single most powerful verse found in scripture: Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all else will be given to you.”

When envisioning what we want more (or less) of in 2024, many of us share similar aspirations. We may want to maintain or improve our eating or exercise patterns. We’d love a better handle on our finances and perhaps even save, for once. Some of us are still trying kick the vice we’ve been battling with, for years We may want to drop the negative thinking and be the kind of positive people that light up the team Zoom calls. Most of us desire stronger, more intimate marriages and better connection with our kids. And of course, we want to eliminate hurry from our lives and be more centered, peaceful people at least mildly resembling Jesus.

The list obviously goes on, and of course we all have highly personalized dreams and goals. But I believe the key to seeing all our hopes for 2024 come to fruition is very simple and universal. Instead of white knuckling our way in and out of bad and better habits, I believe there’s a much easier way to get there.

When “seek first the Kingdom” becomes a lifestyle instead of a just a verse on a page, we’ll receive exactly what He promises: “all else.” Of course, this doesn’t guarantee we’ll wake up January first to find a new Land Rover or man/woman of our dreams on our doorstep, but with God at the center of our lives, we’re much better positioned to experience victory, breakthroughs and abundant life on a daily basis. So, what does “seek first the kingdom,” really mean, on a day-to-day, real life basis? And what does “all else will be added,” really translate to?

Seeking first the kingdom simply means desiring and loving God more than the other things in your life. It means keeping in communion with the Holy Spirit in everything we do…driving to work, lifting weights the gym, scrollin’ on our phones waiting for school pickup line. It means always being sensitive to the prompting and voice of the Holy Spirit and considering the Lord’s will in all our decisions. It means taking on the mind of Christ, and seeing people and circumstances through His eyes.

When we’re living in the Matthew 6:33 flow, nothing, and no one, is elevated above God in our hearts. Everything seems to take its balanced, rightful place in our lives. We’re able see clearly, and our own desires and motivations transform to the will of God. The power of addiction and the obsession with self decreases, and we have more power, more wisdom, and well, more Him.

So if we’re hoping for a better year for our marriage, or a better relationship with our kids, or breakthroughs in health or finances, we should first make sure our desire to be close to God…hearing from him, worshipping him, following him…is greater than the secondary goals and dreams we’re hoping for this year. When we make God the center, we’ll have the energy for new challenges or unforeseen obstacles, because our strength comes from Him. We’ll be better positioned to meet all those health goals, because we’ll be infused by His self-control. We’ll better navigate problems and exercise discernment, because we’re whole and connected to God, operating from a place of fullness, not running on fumes or yesterday’s anointing.

Essentially everything we’re hoping and praying for in 2024 begins with how much we decide to prioritize our relationship with God. And He does this for our own benefit. Having children helped me understand this concept so clearly. If my kids were hoping to be better at their team sport, or make new friends, and the key to their success began with me, wouldn’t it make sense to instill a closeness with them so they can eventually achieve their goals?

There’s not a dream, goal or hope aligned with God’s will, that He doesn’t want us to experience, because He’s a good father who delights in us. In fact, I’d wager to say all of our goals are resolutions pale in comparison to the grandness He has planned for our lives. However, He wants us to be more whole more than happy. If he granted all our desires when we’re not prioritizing Him, we’d never live free and abundant lives. Those goals and dreams…a healthier body, better time management/organizational skills, a better relationship could never sustain us and supply our true peace and joy. Not only that, but we’d be striving so much harder and accomplishing so much less by approaching life with a tank half full.

Nothing else besides His continual presence will do, especially for people like myself. When left to my own devices, without the continual guidance and corrective, comforting power of the Holy Spirit, I become an impatient parent, a selfish spouse, and a rage on the road. But when we’re continually seeking Him and his presence, we’re naturally more joyful, peaceful, selfless, self-controlled, giving, and the list goes on. It’s really the only way to live, but we need to make a daily, continued commitment to connecting with Him, and asking for more of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

If we live without seeking the Kingdom first, with we’ll forever be looking elsewhere- relationships, financial gain, material things, to satisfy, when they never will. God doesn’t need us to seek Him, because He doesn’t need anything. He wants us to seek him first because He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be empowered, free, victorious and joy-filled. He wants to see us achieve all of our passions and dreams, because He implanted them in our hearts in the first place. He’s the benefactor of our talents, abilities and dreams, so wouldn’t he want every one of our 2024 goals to come true?

The answer is yes, but not at the cost of walking one more day, one more month, or one more year with an “us first, Kingdom second,” mentality. In Him we find our peace, strength, direction to accomplish every single hope (and more!) we have for this next year. Cheers to the “all else” found in 2024! And thank you Lord, for another year of you.

For more on New Year’s goals, check out my post, 6 New Years Goals for Every Mom.



Jessica Kastner is an award-winning journalist, author and contributor to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Huff Post, God TV, Beliefnet, Crosswalk and many more. When she's not burning dinner, daydreaming about the beach, she can be found on the trampoline with her copious amount of children, wishing she'd ordered the turbo shot.

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