Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our First Priority as Christians

     Through the years I have written many notes on the pages of my bible.  Today I noticed the same note over and over again.  These were little reminders to me to never forget our first priority as a Christian.  The note simply said, "Matthew 6:33 Our first priority as Christians!"  Then in another book of the bible I came across it again, written very small in the margin of the page, "Matt. 6:33 First priority of Christians."

Matthew 6:33, But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

     What's this mean to you and I.  It's simple really.  It means to turn to God first for help.  We should fill our thoughts with his desires.  We should focus on his character and use this as our guide for our way of living.  We should serve and obey him in everything.  So if our first priority is to seek (first) the kingdom of God and his righteousness, then what's the promised outcome?  All these things will be added to you... What things?  The answer... basically everything that you and I worry about.
     I know that I've spent countless hours of my life worrying about things that concern me.  Worry about my kids, worry about my job, worry about my family and friends, worry about paying the bills, worry about the economy, worry about this and that... worry!  You know, Jesus teaches us about worry in the preceding verses to Matthew 6:33.  vs 25 Don't worry about your life.  Don't worry about what you'll eat. Don't worry about what you'll drink.  Don't worry about your body. Don't worry about what you'll wear. vs 32 says that God knows that we need all these things and Matthew 6:33 is his answer to us on how to stop worrying about our life and to simply let God take care of our needs.  He already knows what we need and he knows that in our weakness we are worry warts!  We need help! So God made it very simple for us... simply seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  The key here is the word first!

     What do I normally do?  I allow people, objects, goals, and other desires take priority over me.  They are usually first on my mind and my first thought is how am I going to achieve my goals, my objectives, or tackle my people issues.  When I do this I quickly bump God out of first place.  

     I have to always be mindful to choose to give God first place in every area of my life if I am to expect for those things that I normally worry about to be added to me.  Why should I seek God first?  Because God is the only one that can truly take care of my every need.  When I worry, my focus is not on God and what he can do, but rather on my concerns and questions about what I'm going to do.  I can not let my worries about tomorrow take my focus off of God today.  The only way to stop worrying, is to realize that God is in control, not me.  Isn't this great news!  I don't have to worry anymore.
     So if you find yourself worrying... stop immediately and seek God.  Seek first God!  Seek God's kingdom, his character, his righteousness first.  You notice there is not a second thing to do?  When you seek God first, you have nothing else to worry about.

     The title of this post is... Our first priority as Christians.  You know I would have thought maybe it would have been to witness, or maybe to pray, read my bible, spread the good news.  But no.  It's to seek God first.  I understand that for me to be an effective witness for Christ I must seek God first.  Before prayer, before reading my bible, before ever spreading the good news.  Before I can do any work that belongs to the Lord, I must seek God first.  Yes... this is our FIRST priority.  It's sad really that I struggle so much in this area.  At least I have these little reminders throughout my bible to get me back on track.  Wouldn't it be better if I just made this my routine?  I think today, I will do that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

With age comes responsibility

Titus 2 (2) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. (6) Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. (7) Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, (8) and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

     The older I get the more responsibility I'm given as a man of God.  In my early fifties (a grandpa) I realize the example that I need to be. Not only for my boys that now have families of their own, but for my granddaughter as well. (the next generation)
     It's scary to me to think that the bible that my immediate family may read could be the example they see in me.  A man in his fifties, getting older and expected to be the example of what a Christian would look and live like after many years of spiritual growth.  For me, these verses deeply convict me.  The Holy Spirit went right to work on me as I read them this morning and I've been thinking about this passage of scripture all day.

     I love role models.  People that live by their convictions.  People that strive to be the best they can at life and love.  People that put their faith in the Lord and as a result endure and press on through life's challenges with confidence, joy, and peace.  What an example they are for me.  What hope they give me.
     Now can I say that I am that example for others, especially younger men? Am I the example of a man that has been steadfast in his faith and love?  Have I been a good example of self-control?  Have I been that role model that younger men can watch and observe and see the reflection of God in and through my actions, speech, and behavior?

     Let's just say this... I know where I stand, and I know the work that God still needs to do in and through me.  His spirit has spoken and I have heard. Now as the Spirit leads I pray for my obedience to follow and allow God to make me the man He wants me to be. After all, I'm being watched by people I love, people that I know look to me to be their role model.  I also know that because of my age, my role, and my position, that I am already a role model for others.  The question is; am I the right role model?  A Godly role model? Am I an example of a man lead by God so that if anyone copied me or acted like me, they might be one step closer to God?  

     If you are asking yourself the same questions then pray along with me and  let's pray for God to intervene in our lives, to conform us into His likeness as we seek to be used by Him.

Prayer:  Dear heavenly Father.  You know my heart, you know where I stand.  You know I need help and I know I need you.  Please guide me and direct my every step and help me to listen and obediently follow you.  As a result, may I be the example you want me to be for others to see.  It's in Jesus name I pray.  Amen