Don’t waste your life by putting second things first
by Margaret Silvester
I’ve recently read an advertisement on an advertising hoarding. It invites people to join the search for happiness –happiness of body, mind and soul – by tuning into a Breakfast Show with a well- known radio presenter. Everyone tuning into the show will listen to ‘happy talk’ and the focus will be on feeling happy.
A dictionary definition of happiness is ‘A sense of pleasurable satisfaction’. Happiness is identified with a feeling or, more specifically, a feeling very close to pleasure. Many people are obsessed with being happy. They search for happiness, but there’s confusion about what happiness is. The pursuit of happiness is promised as a right, something people think they deserve.
The Bible hardly mentions the word happiness but repeatedly uses the word blessing, as something God bestows on those who live for Him and in His way, rather than living from a self-centred perspective.
In his book ‘God in the Dock’ C.S. Lewis wrote ‘You can’t get second things by putting them first, only by putting first things first’. As our text today says, ‘Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be given you as well’. Put your relationship with God first, and everything else second, and you will be happy, for you will be blessed. We’re truly happy when we’re radically yielded to obey Jesus.
Sadly for many of us the concern of our lives is not the Kingdom of God, but our selfish needs and wants. Jesus reverses the order and tells us to get rightly related to God first, to keep that as your main focus and He will take care of everything else. Everything else will fall into its right place and that’s why He said ‘Do not worry’. There’s absolutely no need to worry if first things are first, because God can’t break a promise. Someone once said, ‘Worry is interest on a debt you may never incur’.
Living in the Kingdom of God, submitted to the King, is a place of reality. Jesus is over the Kingdom. He rules and His Kingdom is not a kingdom of this world (John 18:36). To make the Kingdom your primary concern means firstly to submit to the authority of the King and secondly to strive for His purity. Jesus said we were to seek His righteousness. He didn’t tell us to make ourselves righteousness. He’s the righteous one and we become righteous by knowing Him.
People in the world today have a difficult time finding happiness and fulfilment because they are going about it the wrong way. Consequently, life doesn’t get better – it gets worse.
The life Jesus touches is a life which is the reverse of what people think. God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him, but we must make the choice of how we live, and for whom we live.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You can’t break a promise. Please show me any areas in my life where Your kingdom and Your righteousness don’t take priority. Deliver me from wasting my life searching for things that are temporal. Please give me grace to focus on the things that are eternal. Amen.
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