But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – John 6:33 (ESV)
This verse keeps coming back to me. I cannot tell you how many times I have written about it.
I think God is trying to tell me something.
So often we live our lives out of order. We put so many things first and try to fit God into our hectic schedules. Or, probably more often, we don’t treat the Lord as if He is Who He really is: GOD, The God, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and all it contains. The Great I AM. Our Heavenly Father.
It is easy to take God for granted. After all, when life gets busy, we tend to dart through the hours and days with blinders on, rushing from home to work to school to soccer to bowling to canasta to the movies to mow the lawn to go back to work…
You get the gist.
And all of this turmoil and trouble and time tripping causes us anxiety. We don’t take time to tend to what is important. We lose our true focus and, when things go haywire and life hits the proverbial fan, we think, “How did that just happen?”
Then, after we’ve been blind-sided by life, we turn to God. We run to Him, begging for help.
We promise to go to church every Sunday if only He will ________________ (fill in the blank).
We determine to change, to put our lives right.
We begin seeking God. And life begins to calm down. We see God working in our lives and feel genuine joy. And gratefulness.
Our faith is strengthened. Our hope renewed. Our focus sharpened on Christ.
The shiny object grabs our attention. We slip into old habits. If we’re not careful, we let life get ahead of us. The Lord once more plays second fiddle to our schedules.
And we find our lives in reverse order once again.
The simple truth is this: so many of our stresses would be relieved, so many troubles averted, so many problems avoided, if only we would live our lives in the right order.
With the right perspective.
And the right priorities.
When we live our lives with Jesus at the center – truly spending quality time in His Word and in prayer – without putting our own wants first, we will find that the troubled that deviled us don’t bother us so much. That’s because we aren’t mulling over our worries and fears and doubts. We’re focused on the Lord and His will and His ways and His promises.
And it begins to dawn on us that life really and truly isn’t about us.
It’s about Christ. It’s about what He did for us on the cross. It’s about seeking His will first and foremost and far above my own imperfect desires and plans.
When we truly seek Go first, and put Him at the center of our lives, we find the peace and joy we so diligently seek. It’s not that life always gets easier. But, our focus switches. And the troubles of this world see far less worrisome in the light of Christ.
If you are finding yourself over stressed, over burdened, over worried, over consumed, over booked, over busy, overwhelmed… stop and consider the order of your life. Are you putting God first in your life, or trying to stuff Him in a box to fit in your crazy schedule? Are you truly making Him Lord of your life, or paying Him lip service? Do you trust Him enough to let Him call the shots, or do you want to be in control and let God have an advisory role in your life?
These are questions I ask myself quite often. And the honest answer is not always very comfortable. But I have found that, when I seek God first – when I lay down my control freak tendencies and my worries and fears and doubts and realize that I don’t need to know the outcome but The One Who determines the outcome – then I experience freedom. I find peace and joy and rest for my soul.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)