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“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
This past Sunday, I preached on the first chapter of Malachi, a confrontational passage that raises the important question of whether we prioritize God with our time, talent, and treasure, or whether we give Him our leftovers. I have found the passage to be potentially life-changing as I experienced God’s conviction and responded in repentance and obedience. I hope it was the same for you, and if you have not listened to the sermon, I encourage you to listen to it on our website or watch it on our YouTube page. I believe that if you prioritize God, you will experience the power and presence of God in your life, because God will bless those who honor Him.
The message of prioritizing God, particularly with our time, is critical. For those of us who are serious about following Jesus, there are times when we can get overwhelmed by the number of areas in our life that fall short of His will. The longer I have walked with the Lord, the more I have found that His Spirit and His Word have functioned like one of those mirrors that magnifies everything to four times its actual size. Blemishes and imperfections that I never knew were there have been revealed to be ugly warts in need of serious treatment. The Psalmist prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” But what do you do when God’s thorough search reveals more offensive ways than you could ever get rid of?
The reality is that we can spend the rest of our life playing Whac-a-Mole with our sins and struggles, working hard to conquer one, only to have another one or two pop up. We can fight our anger while struggling with lust and overeating. We can devote our attention to sexual purity, only to find relational struggles pop up. We can work on improving our relationships, only to realize that we are not sharing our faith enough.
But there is a better way to follow Jesus than by playing Whac-a-Mole. There is one pursuit to which we can devote ourselves that will influence all of the other areas and could bring victory to many areas at once. That pursuit is to prioritize our relationship with God by spending time with Him in prayer and in His Word. When my goal in life becomes to know and honor God, when I start my day with God and bring my anxieties, my fears, and my needs to Him regularly, then I allow God to work His power and grace into every area of my life.
I encourage you to test God in this. Choose to seek Him first, to prioritize Him in your life, and see what He will do in and through the one who honors Him.
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