First Place


With the newness of another year, January traditionally seems to be the time many people resolve how they intend to live out the rest of the year. We establish or clarify goals in pursuit of all we set out to accomplish, and often devise a game plan of how we will approach achieving our goals. God does not have a problem with us setting goals to accomplish those dreams that lead us to fulfilling our God-given purpose and kingdom assignments. The key is to keep Him the center of our will and give Him first place in our lives,

So what exactly does it mean to give God first place? It means giving him first priority. We are constantly telling God who and what is most important to us as reflected in how we choose to direct our attention. We give away our attention through our affections, energy, and especially how we expend our time. Someone recently said to me, "Whatever you focus on will magnify." This can apply to many areas within our life, but of course, you know me, I'm going to apply this specifically in relation to how we worship God. Now, we do understand that the ability to magnify God any greater than He already is does not exist. It is not within our human capacity to do so. I am definitely referring to how we apply His presence to our lives in the context of worship.

Being with God must become our primary goal-our number one focus. Not for the sake of what we gain naturally, but because of the incomparable richness we experience when we find ourselves in a posture of worship. I'm not suggesting that we not have anything else to focus on also. However, I am emphasizing that we focus on God first. In the Greek language, the word zeteo means to seek or crave after. What does this mean to you when it comes down to your relationship with God? Are you seeking after Him to the point of craving? We live in a culture where people give in to everything their flesh craves...food, power, money, sex, notoriety, all kinds of addictions...the roll call could be endless. But what about our spirit being? Do we crave spiritual things? Do we long to encounter the glory of God? Are we seeking Him with all of our heart, mind, and strength?

The Bible records the following in Matthew 6:33 (ESV): But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. My final question for you today is, "What are you seeking to the point that you begin to crave?" I so hope your answer is the presence of God! Because when it is all said and done, the only thing that will matter from an eternal perspective is our pursuit of Him.

People spend a lifetime chasing many things. I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend my time investing into places and pursuits that in the end are meaningless. For that fact, I also don't want to live a life that only leads to making it to heaven some day. I want to experience the beautiful glory of God everyday of my life here on earth. It is possible, but it starts with an appetite, a craving, that can only be filled with encountering God everyday throughout the day. In order for this to happen, we must be committed to seeking God first; making our time with Him the priority of our day; freely giving Him first place among all our desires.

This month, I challenge you to re-evaluate your priorities, your daily to-do lists, and maybe even the ambitions of your heart. Start by taking back the time God has given you and order your day around being with Him. This may seem strange at first, but when we really stop and assess how we manage our time, it may surprise you to notice all of the opportunities you can develop and re-direct to spending more time being with God. When you are spending time in His presence, let his Spirit lead you about what to do and how to respond to being in fellowship with the Father. Remember, how we invest our time really is a reflection of what's important to us. Even as you move forward this year with great expectation of all God will bring to pass in your life, I pray that most of all you will intentionally seek Him and give Him first place above all else. Never forget the privilege of being in His presence.