I have found it difficult to divide my time and attention between all the things I value; my family, my job, my church, my friends, my pets, my home, etc. I could keep writing this list and it would just go on and on, but the problem is one of focus. I have found myself getting caught up with my own desires and expectations to the point that felt that I could not do anything, much less everything I had to do. Things start to slip and we find ourselves feeling out of control. We start putting things off, we struggle to complete tasks, and we feel worse. Even if we are able to keep up the pace and give to all these things, we are usually worn out and unhappy. The truth is, we have moved away from God. This does not mean the things you are doing are bad things in and of themselves, it just means you are out of focus. For a Christian, the reason you may be doing all these things that are not “bad” and still feeling like you are ineffective or unhappy, is because you are not putting God first.
My initial reaction to a statement like that is something like “I’m doing the best I can for everyone, and you are telling me I need to put God above all that!” or “I can’t stop what I’m already doing and I have no time”. Once again, it becomes a matter of focus.
My favorite part of the Bible is The Sermon on the Mount; Matthew chapter 6 being my favorite part. It is very straightforward and easy to understand and gets at one of the most fundamental problems that affect Christians in their walk with Jesus. We get caught up worrying about how we are going to do things or about how things are going to go, but we forget that God is in control. Just like Peter when he did the impossible and walked on the water, we just need to keep our eyes on Jesus.
I am deciding to put God first in my life. That means that everything I do and say should reflect Him in my life. I should be about His Will. What would God have me to do? First, we have to know God. First step, is knowing Jesus as your savior. That establishes the relationship from a one way street (God toward you) to a relationship between you and God. So when we start a new relationship, how does the relationship grow? We spend time with the other person and talk to them. Same thing with God. We spend time with God and talk to him. That is what prayer is all about. Scripture is His Word for us and that is how he talks to us. So the first step is, to grow in our relationship with Him.
The amazing thing that happens when you devote yourself fully to putting God first in your life is that God increases your capacity to love and help others.
When you are friends with someone something we start to do, whether we realize it or not, is to start caring about the things they care about. If they have pets, you start to care about their pets. If they have interests, you start to care about their interests. Same thing happens with God. When your relationship with God grows, you start to care about the things He cares about. This includes yourself and your family, who Christ died to redeem. If you are putting God first, then inadvertently you care about another thing God cares about; righteousness. Things that are not of God don’t hold the same value or appeal they once did. That does not mean they are not tempting, but the joy you once found in them is much more fleeting when you are actually putting God first.
The amazing thing that happens when you devote yourself fully to putting God first in your life is that God increases your capacity to love and help others. He gives you the power and makes it possible to love in a way that you, by yourself, were never capable of doing. You begin to find that those things that you felt as a chore are now acts of worship because you are doing them for God’s glory. The more I have focused on putting God first in my life and devoting myself to my relationship with him, the more I am able to be exactly what God wants me to be with my family, my church, my work, my home etc. If you want to see a change in your life, put God first. Get to know God through prayer and through His Word.
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.–Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)