Hey Everyone! I’m excited to have Seth share some of his recent writing he’s done for the class Anchored, at The Shoreline Church where he serves as the Community Life Pastor. Here is the first part of, Christ is First, titled Single-Minded.
“Our hearts have room only for one all-embracing devotion…” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
You can’t do it all.
Energy wanes, strength fades, and your years seem to slip past like mile markers in the rearview mirror. At the end of every human life there remains a long list of “unfinished business.” This may feel discouraging at first but it’s really not. We each have a fixed number of days allotted to us (Job 14:5) and as limited creatures must make choices about how to use the single, precious life we have been given. This means that priorities matter. What you do, when you do it and, above all, why you do it is a really big deal.
In the sixth chapter of the Book of Matthew, Jesus gives us THE rule of life when it comes to ordering our priorities. Just before making this game-changing declaration, Jesus pinpoints the root of our problem: We live with a divided mind. We anxiously chase security, fix our eyes on stuff that doesn’t last, and worry about everything. We live for competing kingdoms and this wreaks havoc on our peace of mind (see Matthew 6:19-31). Then, with poignant clarity Jesus gives us the key to everything:
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33
The antidote to our double-minded, worry-filled lives is to make a daily choice to put Christ first. This doesn’t mean that Jesus rises to the top of our already crowded list of priorities. Instead, in everything we do we seek first God’s Kingdom. His claim over our lives is all-encompassing. He gets to call the shots. We seek His direction and glory in our marriages, finances, friendships, and even our downtime. All of life comes under the loving rule and reign of our King and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Easier said than done isn’t it?
Earning money, carting kids around, keeping up friendships, and taking care of our many responsibilities is enough to keep the treadmill of life in full motion. But every day we get to choose. It’s fitting that the Bible opens with, “In the beginning…” When Christ is first in your life, you can greet each day the same way. In the beginning I will choose to…
“Seek with my whole soul, first and foremost, the kingdom of God, as the place of my citizenship, and His righteousness as the character of my life. As for the rest? They will be thrown in as a matter of course. All that is needful for this life and godliness ‘shall be added unto me.’” Charles Spurgeon
Now, this doesn’t mean we will live in flawless devotion. Putting Christ first is not about perfection but about the direction of our lives. Are we progressing in our devotion? Are we moving toward prioritizing God’s Kingdom more and more? When Jesus sits in His rightful place — at the center of our motivations and desires — we begin to experience His mind and heart in new ways. There is now only one Kingdom, one all-embracing devotion that touches everything in our lives. We don’t have to choose between honoring God or serving our spouse. We don’t have to choose between worship or working hard at our jobs. Loving and serving our spouses selflessly
will happen because we are prioritizing Jesus above all. We will put Jesus first by working hard at our jobs as if working for the Lord Himself (see Colossians 3:23).
So what motivates you ultimately? What drives your choices? When you wake up each morning, in which direction do your thoughts and aspirations move? In short, what do you seek first?
Question 1 What kinds of problems does living with a “double mind” create? In other words, why is having divided loyalties so hard? How have you experienced this personally? (See James 1:5-8)
Question 2 Read a few of the verses that come before and after Matthew 6:33. When Jesus says that God will give us “everything else” as we seek Him first and live righteously, what is He referring to? How does this encourage or challenge you?