Monday, September 28, 2015
For several weeks, Tim and I have been strongly convicted about our priorities, both together and individually. Mostly, the struggle we have is time, wasted time that is used to seek things other than Christ. For many months I have been in a very stressful job situation and I often came home, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I wanted to spend time with God, but I wanted to veg out and think about nothing, more. So there were many days that I rushed through a brief quiet time, or skipped it entirely because I kept telling myself “in a little bit I’ll do that once I’ve had a chance to relax,” and the next thing I knew it was 10:30pm and I was ready to shower and go to bed. What was I doing instead of seeking Him? I’m ashamed of the answer. I was watching HGTV. I’d justify it by saying, “I’m not watching something bad, Joanna and Chip (Fixer Upper) are believers!” Yet I felt so guilty as night after night I allowed my laziness to allow things other than Christ to be a priority for me.
The conviction grew and then we started talking about getting rid of cable. We talked about it for a couple of weeks. Seriously, folks, several weeks. That's how strong my grip on this sin had become. Finally, we made the plunge. IT WAS HORRIBLE. I went through major withdrawal, and to be honest, I think I’m still missing it badly. How horrible is that? How did I let something so worthless become so important to me? I had to beg God for forgiveness and for allowing other things to take His place in my life.
So for the last few weeks I’ve been really meditating and praying and asking God to help me put him first. But there is something I have to realize as I try to purpose in my heart that I want my priorities to be different-- I have to realize that seeking God first, and having no other gods before Him, is impossible on my own because of sin. Thankfully, the Godly apostle Paul can relate. In Romans 7:19 he says, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Can you relate as much as I can? But God. He has exchanged my sinfulness for His righteousness on the cross. I am a new creation only by His grace. Corinthians 5:17 states "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Therefore, my only hope to successfully put God first is to trust fully in His promise to cover my sinfulness with His righteousness—1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The cross is our motivation to put our sacrificed Savior as our #1 priority.
The world tells us that we need to seek basically anything but God—money, title, things, status, etc. But we are commanded instead to seek God and the things He declares valuable—bringing glory to His Kingdom (Psalms 29:1-2 Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.), witnessing to the lost (16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.), loving Him with our all and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.).
Some of the questions I have been wrestling through these last few weeks are:
Am I seeking God or do I expect Him to “seek me” by forcing his way into a few seconds of my day? While we’d never admit to thinking this, our actions might show the contrary. At the end of the day, I have been guilty of whining to God that I “just didn’t have time today for You” yet somehow I checked into Facebook and watched even a few minutes of TV. My actions would indicate that I expected Him to force His way into my day, and then when He doesn’t, I blame it on Him? That doesn’t seem right now does it?
How would my life change if I was seeking Christ first? What does it mean to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might” ()? If we are to actually follow this command, what would our lives look like? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to actually walk with God the way we read about in the Bible? It seems like a daunting task, but one that would be truly rewarding if we would actually make the endeavor.
God, Family, Job—we say this, but do we mean it—do our actions show this truth or is it all empty words? Again, this is the opposite of most of the world around us, but we are called to be peculiar and have a different heart and life focus than unbelievers. I Peter 2: 9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:”
What does "seeking God first" even mean? To me, it means “living every moment of every day, consumed with the presence of God, running with reckless abandon towards Him.”
Is my life characterized by continual moments of selfless service to God that flow from love for Him? Is my every action and decision through the lens of His will and Word? Again, what do my actions say? These aren't trick questions. Do I love God first isn't a question that I am unaware of the answer. I either have Him first or not first. There's no "moving pieces" to muddy the waters of the question.
What does it mean to put God first practically? For us, it meant getting rid of cable. And this is only a small step. Another way for me personally is to not pick up another book until I have read my Bible, even if it is a “character” book. I love to read, but my Bible needs to be the first book I read, not second if I have time. Additionally, I try to have music playing all day long that draws my mind and heart to the things of God, whether that’s Pandora, Klove, CDs, YouTube or something else, having His truths poured into my mind all day long has truly been an effective and encouraging way for me to seek Christ throughout the day.
What are some practical ways you have (or need to) implemented changes in your life as you desire to put Christ as your King and #1 priority? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Maybe your idea will inspire others on changes they can make to seek Christ more deliberately.
Check out this encouraging song by Lauren Daigle called "First." This is my prayer.
Striving to seek Him first,