Posted on Tue, Feb 7, 2017
by Pastor Bob Norton
We live in an Age of Anxiety. Worry has become a way of life for many. But life is better with Jesus and He tells us “Do not worry about your life…but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well.”
(Matthew 6:25, 33). What a wonderful way to live! Putting God first…and becoming worry free!
The Apostle Paul agrees with Jesus and teaches the same spiritual truth. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 4:6-7) I have a preacher friend who titled a recent sermon, “Why Pray When I Can Worry.” Humor can be a wonderful thing, but worry is not a wonderful thing! Worry debilitates us. It robs us of the joy of living. It gives us ulcers and sleepless nights. Our Lord Jesus wants the very best for us, so he says, “don’t worry …put God first in your life!” This is the divine antidote to a wasted life of joyless worry.
Using the word “first” tells a lot about one’s priorities in life. President Trump uses the phrase “America First!” for he wants people to know that he’s going to bat for the American people. However, in a recent conversation with the President of Mexico regarding the infamous “wall” which our president claims Mexico will pay for, his guest responded, “I am the President of Mexico, and I believe in Mexico First!” Oops. Like Apollo 13, “Houston, we’ve got a problem!” Warning lights reveal priorities can divide us in this challenging world. My priorities may not be yours. Conflicts arise.
What are your priorities? Is God at the top of the list? If He’s not, then you are setting yourself up for failure, futility, frustration, and a worry-fraught lifestyle. The modern idols of “god of my success”, “god of my pleasures”, “god of my nation”, “god of getting my way”, and the “god of my comfort” will let you down every time.
At Church of the Resurrection, can we unite around the loving wisdom of Jesus who admonishes us to Put God First? You see, God created us for Himself. We are to live out our lives in the context of a personal relationship with God Himself. Augustine reminded us, “God, You created us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in You.” The great mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal reminded us, “Every human being has a God-shaped vacuum within, that can only be filled with God Himself.” Pascal helped us to understand the empty feeling so many people experience. The Westminster divines reminded us, “Our primary purpose for life on earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This is the abundant life of which Jesus speaks (John 10:10).
Some may think, “Pastor Bob, you’re asking too much!” “I just want a little god, a little religion, just enough to give me a good reputation in the community…just enough to give me peace of mind and some warm fuzzies when life gets tough.” Jesus sees through our façade of religious respectability and lovingly carefronts us with “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all of these things will be added unto you.” Are we putting God first? If so, what an adventure our lives will be! If not, we are creating a house of cards destined to fall. Let’s follow Jesus and Put God First applying the love and wisdom of the living Christ to the living of our lives. Let’s desire God’s best in this new year…and every year!
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