Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Making God a priority is an attitude

Life is always busy, and I find myself constantly embroiled in a conflict between priorities. I remember being told that God should be my priority. Period. Nothing should come before Him, and I agree with that and believe it.

But what does that look like? How do I live that day by day? And how to I juggle all the other responsibilities I have with that one priority? Making God the priority in life has to be practical somehow, otherwise we couldn’t do it. Right?

Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Matthew 6:33.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

I don’t know how many times I sang the old chorus that goes along with this verse. We’d sing it all the time at church. In a round. And as much as I loved the song, I never really thought about its application.

Seeking God above everything else means putting Him first. Yes. I get that. But what does that look like?

Is it simply doing what Jesus would do? Is it obeying the Ten Commandments? Is it changing something about yourself in order to make God happy?

I haven’t got this figured out yet, which is one of the reasons I’m blogging about it. That’s why I blog about these things, in case you didn’t know. These are things I’m working through. These are things I want to remember as the day goes on. All of these posts are letters to myself in hopes that I can get my head out of the clouds and into life where it belongs. And this is one I struggle with because I don’t always know how to apply it.

The best I can do in seeking God and putting Him first is to make the choices the Bible says are right. But the Bible isn’t a 12-step book to living. You have to understand the Bible as a whole to even begin to grasp who God is. And there are areas where the Bible doesn’t specifically tell us what to do. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit, God Himself living in those who have chosen to believe in Christ.

When we face choices in life, seeking God first means doing what the Bible says is right and/or listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice and obeying.

What does that look like practically? An example from my own life deals with my work habits. I have a million things I have to get done. I work full time. I have my own writing business on the side. And I’ve started a small press with some friends. Just those three things are enough to keep me busy enough I hardly have time to sleep. And I am called to do all of those things. They are opportunities God has put in my life.

But what about my family? What about my friends? What about the personal relationships God has given me? Are they less important? God gave them to me too. So which comes first? The opportunities God has given us or the people God has given us? There isn’t always a simple answer.

I have been so fortunate in my life to have friends and family who see what God has called me to do. And I’m doubly blessed to have friends who are willing to work alongside me to make some of it happen.  But there comes a time when you have to make a choice, even between the opportunities God has given you.

And what I’ve learned is that it’s not what choice you make that matters. It’s why you make it.

Seeking God first, making God a priority, is an attitude. If everything you do is for the glory of God, every choice you make will reflect that.

So stop worrying about what choice you’re going to make and instead focus on the why behind it. Look at your motivation. Why are you making that choice? Is it out of fear or worry or pride or anger? If you’re making a choice for any reason other than God’s glory, you aren’t putting Him first.

We all face choices every moment of every day, and God has given us everything we need to make the wise choice. So do it.

Life is busy. It’s always busy, and it will keep getting busier. But if you can keep your motivation simple, it’s easier to choose what path to take. And if your choices glorify God, He’ll take care of the details.

Full moon at Safe Haven Farm - Haven, KS

The habit of justice

It’s easy to roll with the crowd. Making decisions because the majority approves is easy. Going with the flow and talking like everyone else and never rocking the boat is easy. But when you start making choices that contradict the popular majority’s ideas, that’s when you stand out.

When you step back and refuse to do what everyone else does on a matter of principle, that’s when people start looking at you differently. That’s when you get blacklisted and made fun of and even verbally abused now, in our “tolerant” 21st Century culture.

Doing what’s right isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come naturally to us. We naturally want to be accepted by the crowd, but the crowd rarely does what is right.

Full moon at Safe Haven Farm - Haven, KS

Full moon at Safe Haven Farm – Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Psalm 106:1-3.

Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
Who can ever praise him enough?
There is joy for those who deal justly with others
and always do what is right.

Whether you’re talking about your physical health or your mental health, everyone needs good habits. Habits don’t just appear in your life overnight, though. Habits are something you have to build, and building them can be time consuming and challenging.

Eating balanced meals (eating at all) is a healthy habit. Exercising is a healthy habit. Drinking enough water is a healthy habit. And none of those habits are instinctual, at least not for me. I have to do these things over and over until they become a habit in my life.

And the same is true for choosing whether or not to do the right thing. Doing the right thing rarely comes naturally to us. We are fallen, broken people, and our instinctive reaction is to look out for number one. And that’s when the Holy Spirit comes alongside us and reminds us that we belong to Christ now, and we should act like it.

But listening to the Holy Spirit is a habit. Just like reading the Bible. Just like choosing to do the right thing even when the rest of your crowd refuses.

You have to do the right thing over and over and over again. You have to choose to do the right thing constantly, and eventually you’ll get to the place where choosing to do the right thing is natural for you. It will become a habit.

But why is it important? Why can’t we just do whatever we want? God will love us anyway, won’t He?

Here are today’s verses in The Message:

Hallelujah! Thank God! And why? Because he’s good, because his love lasts. But who on earth can do it—declaim God’s mighty acts, broadcast all his praises? You’re one happy man when you do what’s right, one happy woman when you form the habit of justice.

Why is building the habit of doing the right thing important? Aside from the fact that it’s what God has called us to do because we are His representatives on earth, doing the right thing will bring you joy.

Ever wonder why people are so sour? There are a lot of reasons I’m sure, but how many people are weighed down by unhealthy habits, like going along with the crowd? How many people make bad decisions just because it’s the popular thing to do?

If you’re a Christian and you make a bad choice because it’s the “in thing” to do, the guilt is indescribable. Not because God is angry but because He is sad. And because you knew better.

Anyone brave enough to admit they know what I’m talking about? I’ve been there before. I’ve gone along with crowd because it was popular, and I’ve even made decisions that the Bible says are wrong because I didn’t want to push back. But the guilt that followed that decision was worse than any shunning those “friends” could have levied.

Make a habit of doing the right thing. Make a habit of making wise choices. Make a habit of rightness. And you’ll have joy.