The Power of Words

Start Here

I believe in the power of story to speak truth into people’s lives (including my own), hence the name of this blog site. I also believe in the power of words to change how I think and live—and no words have changed me as much as those of the Bible.

This is the first of an intended series of posts about verses that have done just that.

It’s seems appropriate to begin with the verse I pray at the start of every day, Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Some thoughts:

  • Seek first is Jesus way of saying, “Start here.” Why? Because if we get the order right, everything else will follow. And that order begins with who is in control.
  • The kingdom of God is Jesus’s term for anywhere God’s rule is uncontested—heaven for those who love him, hell for those who don’t.* For me, seeking his kingdom means letting him reign over every aspect of my life, and doing all I can to further his reign in the world around me.Power of Words
  • His righteousness. The very meaning of this phrase explains how “all these things will be added unto” us. To seek his righteousness means to set things right, to restore them to their proper position. Think of the vertical beam of a cross. If you set it upright, then…
  • All these things, the horizontal beam (our needs, hopes, relationships) will assume their correct positions, as well. The original Greek reads closer to “added” than given, because this is not a reward for good behavior, it’s the result of things being in their proper order (seeking first his kingdom).

Again and again, Jesus tells us that our world is in chaos because we are trying to follow a different order than the one established by its Creator. If you snap a picture with your phone, and then aim it, you will not get the picture you desired, because you didn’t follow the order it was designed for. That’s why Jesus admonishes us to…

Start here!

*Hell may not be a separate “place,” by the way, but a fractured reality. One imposed not by God, but by those who reject him and all he is (love, peace, truth).

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Power of Words

  1. Great post, my friend. You are a great storyteller.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: The Power of Words — Mitch Teemley

  3. greenpete58 says:

    I’m no expert on the Bible, but doesn’t that book interpret “Hell” as an after-life punishment imposed by God? Also, one can most certainly embrace love, peace, and truth while not believing in God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Hell as a specific place of punishment that God sends people to is a populist idea. Theologically speaking, hell is the rejection of God (hence self-imposed) and of everything that is inseparable from God (love, peace, truth, beauty, joy). For example: John says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8). John uses the Greek word “agape” (mature, selfless love), not one of the lesser Greek terms for love, all of which offer some sort of reward (sex, friendship, community acceptance, etc.). There are forms of love, peace, truth, etc. in this world that are, in the Platonic sense, shadows of the real. But even those are tied to God–take away the source of the shadow, and the shadow is gone.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Great insight. Now that is a very powerful verse to start the day with.

    Be blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy Ruegg says:

    “Start here: Let God reign over every aspect of your life, do all you can to further his reign in the world around you, and all your needs, hopes, and relationships will assume correct position as well. It’s all about proper order.” Oh yes. I very much like the Teemley Amplified Version of Matthew 6:33!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pastorpete51 says:

    I like the putting things in the right order very much and will try to remember. I am surprised you are not accepting Hell as a literal spiritual final end of the devil, his angels and those who have rejected Christ. Both Jesus himself, and each of the apostles seem quite clear that hell is a place of that is reserved for those who reject God’s offer of grace. Am I missing something?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Pete, any discussion about the nature of the afterlife is highly speculative on my part and everyone else’s, but indicators in Scripture (and in quantum mechanics) are that the spiritual plane is non-material in nature. So the word “place” as we know it, i.e. a material location on the physical plane, is probably inaccurate. Which doesn’t mean it’s less real (light is actually more substantial than matter), only that it’s not the earth-like, material “place” we imagine it to be. Gehenna, a fire pit outside of Jerusalem once used for pagan sacrifices, for example, was considered to be cursed, and so it was a standard symbol of hell. But it was also understood to be a metaphor for something infinitely worse, something beyond our experiential knowledge. Anyway, we’re in agreement that rejection of God’s grace is the ticket to whatever and wherever hell is.

      Like

  7. Thank you for a good post. I just trust God who has given His Holy Spirit as a seal and as a deposit, know that all is well with my soul and that He will keep me and continue His good work in me until that day? In a way, I feel like the little girl who walking with a parent on a rainy day asks ‘Daddy jump me over the the puddles’ Hell is a big puddle to be skipped over, but I am grateful for it, as I am for His good gift of all teachers, pastors and explorers of the Word of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Roos Ruse says:

    Excellent post, Mitch. This is one of my first memory verses my first year as a new born believer, too. Yep, it’s still foundational.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sooo true…start here…needed this

    Liked by 1 person

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