Spoiler Alert: its not about you, either.
Life seems a little overwhelming at times. There is so much for us to do. So many people depending on us. So many giving us praise or criticism. So much of our worlds naturally revolve around “ME.”
This is true for all of us, but the truth is that in my own life, I can tell a positive difference in ME when I am putting HIM first. When I humble myself before the Lord, He does lift me up (see James 4:10). He lifts me up, He carries me, He helps me act and react in difficult situations, He is my guide. He cannot be my guide, however, if I put ME before HIM in my personal list of priorities.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
To put him first is like being continually fed by the river of Life. When we go to God first with our trials and frustrations, fears and doubts, excitement and joy, He fills us full of overflowing care and guidance. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) When we first go to God, we please Him and are, in turn, fulfilled.
How can we go to God first with everything, though, if we do not hold Him up and exalt His name above all others? We must train ourselves to keep God on our first proverbial speed-dial button in our hearts. If something horrible happens, call Him first. If something wonderful happens, share your joy with Him first. In going through the day-to-days, we can live in constant communion with our Lord. He knows all, sees all, and knows all of our wants and needs before we do, but He loves any opportunity that we allow Him one-on-one time.
The book of Job reminds us that dominion and awe belong to God (Job 25:2). Our human nature puts ME, our careers, our husbands and wives, our children, our friends, and even our pets and civic causes before HIM. We are told countless times through the inspired Word of God to hold Him up in the greatest light,and not to be so self-centered that the face we see in the mirror every day is more important than the One who created it. Do not think of yourself more highly then you ought (Romans 12:3), but rather be humbled before Him and receive His blessings of grace (see Proverbs 3:34).
Friends, let me tell you, God has been speaking this lesson to my heart so I can hear it as well as pass it along to others. I have to remind myself continually that this life is not about me, that I am merely a messenger and teacher and that my purpose is not for ME but to further HIS kingdom. I have a lot of old wounds and old habits and I must remind myself to trust in Him to make my path known to me, to guide me and direct me, and to open my eyes to see and follow.
You were taught, with regard to your former ways of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self; created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
To put off your old selves. That is a refreshing analogy for me. To shed my old life that existed when I thought I was smarter than God and independent from Him. I also like the way it is phrased in Romans, that we are to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1) We do this when we realize HE is bigger than ME and that HE comes first.
I have a very fresh example of this in my own life. Just a few days ago I was having a great, productive day at the office. I work for our family business, designing and manufacturing custom and signature pieces of fine, heirloom-quality jewelry. Now, I pray for our family business a lot. A LOT! I pray for God’s hand to be on our business sales, strategies, craftsmanship; I want every aspect of our business to be conducted in a way that pleases Him. This seems particularly true in these tough economic times, as I pray for my family’s livlihood and blessings.
So, the other day I had a great morning. I even made a pretty good sale and was just so excited and thankful to God for sending this customer to us. Generally, I take leftovers for lunch but that morning I had forgotten to pack a lunch so I headed home to eat a quick bite and get back to the office. My husband was also home and frustrated with kiddo issues (when you have five kids, there are bound to be issues). He was venting and I was working hard to keep his foul mood from spoiling my awesome day.
Here’s where the freeze-frame would be if this were a movie: As he was talking, venting, and getting more frustrated and angrier at the situations he had been dealing with all morning, I had to completely stop and just pray. I shut out all noise and prayed, silently and to myself. Alone, I didn’t have the answers my husband wanted or needed to hear, but I knew that with God’s guidance, we could make a new path.
We had been down this road of parenthood frustration countless times so I knew so many of the negative alternate endings that could happen if I allowed ME to assume I knew more than HIM. So, I prayed a quick prayer for guidance and direction, for my words, actions, and reactions to be in line with God’s plan for me, and I returned to my husband as the action sped back up to real-time.
God gives answers. God gives direction. God helps and encourages. God supports and leads. God gave me wisdom that day to say exactly the right words to calm my husband’s frustrations, open some new pathways to help resolve the issues at hand, and allow me to get back to the office. The Lord is my rock, in whom I take refuge (Psalms 18:2).
God does not falter. He loves us unconditionally. He sees us when we are happy and when we are sad. He created us in His image, but we have allowed the world to come between us and our Creator. Today is a fresh new day, and every moment that passes is an opportunity to realign yourself with God’s plan for your life.
Make Him a priority. You don’t have to make a big show of it, faith is a very personal thing, but let me tell you, when you put the Lord first in your life, people see the difference in you without you even having to say a word. HE is bigger than ME, so I put my faith in HIM.
Dear God, Thank you for every person who ever reads these words. Thank you for giving me the lesson to learn for myself and to pass on to others who may need to hear the same message. God, please walk with me and these friends and clear the path for us so we can see clearly the path you have laid out for us. I know you have incredible plans for our lives and I submit fully to you now and am so excited to see how you tell my story. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.