"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:33

We know deep down that all goodness is with God and that we can't take the things of this world with us to the next. But this world is so intrusive — television, music, magazines, the corporate ladder, our social circles. Everything steers us in the direction of running on that hamster wheel of achievements, acceptance, and acclaim.

How do we protect our hearts? How do we "train" the human spirit to live according to the promise of our Lord: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33)? Let me give you three ideas.

Study His Promise

First, you and I must begin each day by looking for satisfaction in the right place. We can know what God has in store for us if we read His Word.

Trust me, my friend; the more you study God's promises, the more you will see the tremendous blessings the Father has in store for His children. And the more you will realize that following Christ requires some pretty radical life choices. Consider the life of the apostle Paul.

Before surrendering his life to the Lord, Paul was a man among men. Then he came face to face with Scripture. He realized that his heritage, his schooling, his reputation — everything — was worthless apart from the will of God (see Rom. 7). The more time he spent in God's Word, the more Paul discovered that his confidence and contentment rested in his identity in Christ.

Praise His Promise

Second, we must make a habit of praise. Like Paul, once we see God's promise in Scripture, you and I can't help but be overwhelmed with thanksgiving. That's where contentment begins. And it grows by seeing the fulfillment of His Word in our own lives, the fruit of His presence in our own families.

There are as many ways to express our gratitude as there are things to be grateful for. Let me suggest just two.

• You might consider keeping a prayer journal. Each day write down five new things that you are thankful for and then spend time each week reviewing what God has done in your life.
• Or you might get the whole family involved by creating a blessings basket into which family members drop blessings throughout the week. Then you can spend time together on Sundays reading through all that you have to be grateful for.

Share His Promise

Finally, be a "cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). We can all learn a thing or two from the widow who came to the temple and emptied her purse to give two copper coins. Those who watched her scoffed. But Christ commended her.

Her gift wasn't going to do much for the church, so why the great praise? Because she understood that all she had belonged to God. He gave her the two copper coins; He would give her anything else she needed to live a life glorifying to Him (2 Corinthians 9:6-15).

She gave out of the sincerity of her heart — out of her gratefulness for God's grace and mercy — not out of an effort to preserve her public image or cleanse her conscience.

Ultimately, we've got to be convinced of God's goodness and faithfulness to live according to His will. That means discovering the riches of His Word and storing them away in our hearts. It means lifting praise and thanksgiving to Him daily. And it means recognizing that we will only be content when the widow and like Christ-sacrificed all to the Father for the fulfillment of His purposes.