by Pastor Tim Burt
One day over lunch, my sister and I were reminiscing over how unselfish our parents were throughout our life. We were a family of 12 including dad and mom. Mom labored at her never-ending job of cooking, cleaning, washing, and driving us everywhere. She was absolutely selfless in living for us. Dad was the same in a different way. He mostly worked, six days a week, 8 hours one day and 12 the next. He did what he had to do provide a great home for all of us. On the few nights he had off, he’d always be there playing catch with a football or baseball or taking us swimming or to some activity. If there were three things they prioritized in their life, it was God, family, and church.
Jesus taught priorities! He called us to know them. He taught what our number one priority should be. We read it in Matthew 6:33 (NIV) “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Another Bible translation says it like this: “and He will give you all you need from day-to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. (Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
Have you ever wondered why God wanted you to seek Him first? Is He egocentric? Of course not! He is Holy! So what is His motive? It’s love. He did not create a sin-defiled world. He created a perfect world that man’s choices defiled. Mankind gave entrance to Satan and through those choices, the world has become defiled.
God’s desire for you to seek Him, is so through Him, He can help you navigate the evil and experience His promised blessings that come through obedience. We see this in 2 Peter 1:4 (NLT2) “And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
Are you like most people? Do you find it a battle to put God FIRST place in your life? Does your heart want to? Does your spirit agree when you read about putting God first place in your life saying, Yes that’s right! I do need to put God and His ways first place in my life! But then the evidence of doing so is lacking? Jesus once said to Peter, “… the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) Jesus knew we’d be willing and wanting to put God first. The words that will spill from the hearts of men before the throne of God one day, will be a river of good intentions.
Jesus knew that the natural things that we need in life would create a competition for our thoughts, emotions and priorities. As necessary as those things seem, He wanted to remind us that they don’t compare to seeking God, His righteousness, and His kingdom FIRST!
Matthew 6:25-33 (NLT) “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. “And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you? You have so little faith! “So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”
God’s love compels us to understand the importance of the verses you just read. Seeking Him daily needs to be our quest. We must be confident that in seeking Him through His Word, prayer, and in the community of other believers, that it will produce the instruction, direction, and grace and strength that would lead us to the blessed life in Him. It is God alone that can fill the voids of the heart and the needs of life that we so often fail to meet. Seeking to know God and His will are the top priorities of our faith. Trusting that in putting God first, everything else in our life will work out for our good! As Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) says, “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.”
When we seek God first and put our faith in His promises, then our faith will trump mental struggles, worries and fears. It will bring us into a place of peace and trust in God. Jesus said our spirit was willing. He also said our flesh was weak. He also said the way for our willing spirit to defeat our weak flesh is to “Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!”(Matthew 26:41 (NLT) Temptation isn’t just about restraining ourselves from sin. Temptation can also be about putting things outside of God—work, play, and activity, before Him.
Are you putting God FIRST today or are you in the good intentions only zone? Understand that doing so is a lifeline to God’s blessing. Understand His motive is love, your protection, and seeing you blessed. Understand that praying for God to help you is where supernatural grace and strength will begin to come that helps you value and keep this priority. It’s why God said “Keep alert” so that we would conduct an occasional reality check, and then said, “and pray.” I thank God my parents modeled that for me. It was embedded in my heart as an example to follow from the time I was a child! I purpose to live it from the heart before my children until the day I leave here to go to Heaven.
Proverbs 8:17 (NLT2) “I love all who love Me. Those who search will surely find Me.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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