First Things First

Psalm 27:4 starts out, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek.”  Another version says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require.”

So the question I ask you and myself…what is the one thing I seek?  What is the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning?  What is the one thing I crave over all?  What is the one thing that really gets my motor revving?

At different stages in my life, those questions would have had extremely different answers.  Sometimes healthy answers and sometimes unhealthy.  Now, I could always give a good Sunday School answer, but what is the truth of the matter?

As a member of the human race, we were all created to be in relationship with our Creator.  Beth Moore says we were created with a “with-need.”  Christian artist Plumb, says it a little differently in her song lyrics, “There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us, and a restless soul is searching…it’s a void, only He can fill.”

You know that feeling, right?  That pit like feeling in the center of you.  The place that when you are all alone, even in a room full of people, that just feels empty.  The spot that you just can’t seem to fill, kind of like that itch on your back that you just can’t scratch.  We try really hard to fill it, numb it and scratch it, don’t we?  Sometimes it is stuff, other people, an object of addiction, even our own selves that we put in that spot.  But, guess what?  In the still of the night, that spot is still empty!

Do you know why?  It is because putting anything in the place that only God belongs is idolatry.  For most of us growing up in church, we think of idolatry as worshiping a foreign god, like Baal or even a golden calf.  Merriam-Webster online defines idolatry this way: the worship of a physical object as a god, and immoderate attachment or devotion to something.  Ever had an immoderate attachment or devotion to something other than Jesus Christ?  I know I have.

Matthew 6:33 has the antidote for our need, for our void…”Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

Isn’t that the heart of the matter?  We are convinced we need something or someone to be complete and we are afraid we will miss out if we don’t get it.  All those things we keep trying to put someplace where they don’t belong, like that piece of the jigsaw puzzle that we are sure should go where it does not…Jesus tells us those things will be given to us, if we need it, when we put our first things first…God’s reality, God’s initiatives and God’s provisions.

Tony Evans tells a story in his book, Destiny: Let God Use You Like He Made You, about a baseball game he attended many years ago.  During that game one of the batters hit what looked like an in the park home run.  This batter made the rounds while thousands, including his teammates, cheered him on.  Yet when he crossed home plate, the umpire called him out.  You see, the batter had forgotten a very important part of baseball…in order to score a run, you have to touch first base!  And, he had neglected to do so!  You see it didn’t matter that he had done everything else he was supposed to do, nor did it matter that everyone was congratulating him along the way.  He did not put first things first and got called out.  Tony says, “If you miss what is first, it doesn’t matter what else you do.”

The same can be said about our lives.  If we miss what is first, nothing else matters.  I can do all sorts of good things.  But, if I am not doing those things for the glory of my Heavenly Father, for His name and renown, it is all for naught.  If I am truly putting God first in my life, then my life’s purpose is to glorify Him with my life.

Because we are human, there will be times…maybe hours, maybe days, maybe weeks, months or years, where we get it wrong.  But, that it why God gives us unmerited grace when we repent and turn from our path and let Him lead us back to His.  1 John 1:9 says, “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”

Been getting first things wrong lately?  Don’t give up…don’t think all is lost.  Take John’s advice and confess it to the One who is faithful and just and forgives all wrong.  That is my prayer today.

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