Secret Sauce

Do you ever feel there is a secret sauce someone has not yet shared with you on navigating life and staying on the right track? Well, there is something, but it isn’t a secret. It’s laid out for us by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Among other instructions in His sermon, the word ‘seek’ has stuck out to me lately. Beginning in Matthew 6:33, Jesus says to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Most of us may leave it there and not read the next verse. (v 34) “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” The word ‘therefore’ is significant. It’s like a hinge. If we are searching for the right thing (God), there is no need to worry. God will provide. If we seek God today-there is no need to worry about tomorrow. Keeping ourselves on the right path is enough for today- it is hard work, and we don’t need to borrow trouble that hasn’t come yet.

How do we stay on the right path, you may ask? Jesus tells us that too. Ask, seek, knock (Matt. 7:7-11, ESV). Ask: He instructs his disciples to come to God in humility and awareness of their needs. When we are aware of our needs, it keeps our pride in check. Seek: we continually pursue God’s will in our prayers. Knock: is about perseverance. Just like the disciples, we are to pray confidently and persistently that God will supply whatever is best, according to His gracious will (ESV Study Bible notes).

Eventually, it leads to life on a narrow road that few can find (Matt. 7:13-14, ESV). But why is it so hard for most people to see it if it is not a secret? That is because we tend to give up too quickly. We seek the wrong things and don’t ask because of pride. Humility means we are aware of our needs and will ask and seek God above all else. When we learn to do this, all we need is added to us (Matt. 6:33, ESV). It is easy to take the road that leads to destruction. We can sometimes drive a steamroller through life, taking others down with us. The route we must learn to maneuver and continually look for is the narrow path that leads to life. We can do that by making better choices and taking control of our lives, with God’s help, instead of allowing others to control us.

It is also important not to follow the wrong people. That is why Jesus continues His sermon to warn about false prophets and even disciples in the church who are like wolves in sheep’s clothing, which we can recognize by their fruits. Not all who confess Jesus have a repentant heart (Matt. 7:15-23, ESV). Their life and the results of their influence will show if they are living for the kingdom. We must always read the Bible for ourselves and pray for discernment.

The way is narrow because Jesus is the only way. It is hard because we look for the approval of men instead of God. What we believe matters; whom we follow is crucial. That is why Jesus gives further instructions on building our lives on the rock and His Word, a foundation that stands the test of time and does not shift with culture (Matt. 7:24-27, ESV). Bottom line: just like the people of His day, we are either with Jesus or against Him. Our hope in Jesus is the secret sauce that leads us to continually ask, seek, knock, and stay on the narrow road that leads to eternal life. Don’t give up.

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