Putting God First- A Call for a Revived Heart
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” -Matthew 6:33
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” - Matthew 16:24
For many of us putting God first is really the last thing we are thinking about.
Most of us, most people, most every person is looking to follow what each of us wants in this life. Most of us want a nice job, good friends, a family and a place we can call our own. Our lives are spent pursuing these dreams. Our society has made it easy for us to try to make our worldly wishes come true. All we have to do is to go after it.
We chase our identity, our career, our desires, our vanity, our money...all of this we follow feverishly to make something of ourselves and our lives here on earth, but God has such greater plans for us. We each seek the will of our hearts, but rarely do we seek the Kingdom of God. We do not worship God first, but instead follow after ourselves. We obey and follow wherever our ego and flesh takes us.
You see...we are our own idols whom we serve first before we serve God.
Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God”, but we seek what we want and hope God is OK with it, praying for Him to bless our endeavors. Instead of seeking to follow the Lord, we forge ahead with our own plans and dreams. We avoid asking God where He might want to bring us because we fear He will ask us to do something we really don’t want to do. We know we have a choice and we know that following God can interfere with our life here on earth...yet we go on this way anyway. Our lives are too deeply entrenched in this world.
Remember the Parable of the Sower and the seed that fell among the thorns: "The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."- Matthew 13: 22-23
Jesus taught us to deny our self and put God first, something most of us just can’t do very well. Our dreams of how we want to spend our life cry out louder to us than seeking and serving God. Our instinct leads us to pursue our earthly life and when we are free, comfortable and financially secure...maybe we will think about what we can do for God. But that is why as Christians, we are VERY lukewarm.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. - Revelations 3-15-16
Jesus says that the road is narrow and only a few find it. Yes, only a few.
To be a disciple and a follower of Jesus Christ is not “Religion Lite’, or a belief system that we tack onto our busy lifestyle when we have the time. Neither is it a faith that we keep in mind as an insurance policy to secure our place in heaven.
Many of us will protest that we do worship God and put Him first in our lives. Well if this is true, then ask yourself:
How many of us spend more time thinking about what we will have for dinner than about what we should be doing for God? How many of us are more concerned about our bank accounts than about our relationship with God? How many of us spend more time entertaining ourselves out of boredom than praying for the world? How many of us seek out our own happiness before anything else?
As Christians, we are in deep denial.
To be a disciple of Jesus, our faith must manifest into action. We must have a changed heart. A changed mind. God's concerns must be our concerns. We must renew our faith and revive our hearts to begin again chasing after Jesus Christ. It's not enough to just hear, say Amen and agree. It is the one who DOES. So many of us know and teach others how to live a Christian life...but then DON'T live it out ourselves. The proof is in our actions. The proof is in our lives. Actions are the fruit of our faith.
"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." - James 1:22
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ - Matthew 7:21-23
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is the way that God has set forth for us to come back into fellowship with Him and to be a part of spreading the Gospel, His salvation and His love to the world.
Jesus Christ’s death and sacrifice on the cross brought us back into fellowship with the Holy Father. He did this because He loves us so much and part of that fellowship plan is for us to go out and bring His same love to others who don't know Him. That means we must live as God has always wanted us to live…serving Him first before anything else.
Many of us don't realize that we have chosen to keep God at a distance.
Only when we decide to make God number one, can we be in full fellowship with Him, because then we are no longer resisting Him. When we give over our will to Him, God is able to speak and work with us and He rewards us by filling us with His Holy Spirit who will help us live out our faith. So many Christians who are just bystanders, never experience this fullness of the Holy Spirit because we are afraid to let God completely come in, but we MUST do it.
Today there is a great need. There is so much suffering and despair, so much violence, so much loneliness, so much injustice because the world does not know Jesus. Watching the world around us, it is obvious that the time truly is near and God calls us to help spread His Gospel of Love and Salvation. For too long, we have been too busy following after our own desires and wishes to hear God's voice calling us.
"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"- Mark 1:15
Jesus said in Luke 10:2 "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
God needs us to bring the Good News of His compassion, grace and love to the world; but in order to do that, we must give up our lives to Him so He can use us. It takes great faith and it is a real struggle to surrender all to Him, but if we can put our complete trust in Him, He will replace our shallow earthly life with a new life that will glorify Him and move mountains to bring His love to a self-destructing world.
This is the challenge given to each and every disciple of Jesus Christ, but each of us must make a choice to follow Him through this narrow gate. It is the only way.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14
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