I had hoped to write a brand-new blog for this week’s post on the Hope Church website. It turns out my expectations exceeded my capacity. The combination of a battered, bruised, broken arm, and medication that helps the pain but makes me drowsy and slightly fuzzy mentally, kept that from happening. So, I am recycling and updating one of my favorite posts that I thought would be relevant during this Lenten season as we prepare to celebrate Easter. Many Christ followers observe Lent by giving something up – maybe a favorite food, excess time on social media, watching sports, etc. Generally, this is a temporary sacrifice and we return to “business as usual” after Easter Sunday. I am inviting you to think about permanently giving up the things in your life that are more important to you than God. God correctly calls these things idols. They are what we turn to and rely on for security and safety, value and importance, power and influence, love and acceptance, provision, and peace of mind instead of Him.
During a recent quiet time with God, I was reminded of Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (NLT) Holy Spirit pointed out that one of my Idols is me – my self sufficiency and independence. This is demonstrated in my need to control things, figure everything out, solve my own problems, and meet my own needs. He convicted me regarding my tendency to seek Him only as a last resort or primarily during times of crisis. For ordinary, everyday issues, situations, or problems, I would either try to resolve things myself or seek a solution in the natural.
God wants you and me to willingly surrender our lives to Him. He wants us to come to Him FOR anything and ABOUT everything. Why is our default mode so often to seek help in the natural first? Generally, we try to solve the problem, meet the need, or overcome the challenge by ourselves. If that doesn’t bring satisfactory results, we turn to friends, family, and co-workers for advice. We conduct online searches for information, consult “experts” in the field, and then try to figure out the best course of action.
Why does God want us to go to Him first in prayer? Think about it. Who has more information about any situation or circumstance than God? Who sees the beginning from the end? Who has more resources than God? Who has more power than God? Who knows you better than God? Who is sovereign and controls all aspects of creation? Why would we NOT want to see what God has to say in the matter at hand?
Based on my own experience and talking with other Christ followers, I have identified some false beliefs and lies of the enemy that keep us from seeking God first.
- Wrong idea one is that God is only interested in my spiritual development. The rest of my life is my responsibility.
- Wrong idea two is that God is too big, too busy, and too important to be bothered with the small details of my life. I am just one human being in a vast universe.
- Wrong idea three is that I am in charge and in control of my life and know what is best for me. I don’t need His advice and guidance.
- Wrong idea four is that God is a “hard task master” who makes impossible demands and expects perfection in His children. Who wants to seek help from someone who is going to point out every mistake and punish every error?
We can’t go to God for advice, guidance, and direction if we don’t have a relationship with Him. God knows that our greatest need is salvation. The apostle Matthew recorded Jesus telling His disciples “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Once we have been reconciled to God through faith in His Son, He will provide everything we need to live in this world. No more striving, struggling, or worrying. No more fear, anxiety, or lack.
The apostle Paul provided clear direction in Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus.” When we go to God first, we acknowledge His sovereignty, demonstrate our trust, and admit our need. We position ourselves to receive His insight and wisdom into our situation, obtain the best solution for our problem, and accept His generous provision for our need. He has an opportunity to manifest His good and perfect will in our lives. We are blessed and He is glorified.
Chorus to “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
(Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, music by William M. Runyan. © 1923, Ren 1951 Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved)
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Great is Thy Faithfulness
Morning by morning, new mercies I see
All I have needed, Thy Hand has provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness LORD unto me