Priorities

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

I don’t have much to say today – yet again. I haven’t hung out with anyone in a few days, but that’s alright. If nothing happens tonight, I’ll get to see people tomorrow for sure at youth. I’ve called a few businesses again today trying to follow up on resumes and interviews and such. Home Hardware said they still had more people to interview, and then they’d get back to me. The other ones I tried calling either didn’t pick up the phone, or they told me there weren’t any positions available. I guess that was to be expected, since if they were looking for someone, they likely would have called me already. So Home Hardware still remains as my best option.

God’s been teaching me a few things lately. Although I don’t quite understand it fully, it goes something like this: God doesn’t want me to try to fix my problems, but rather He wants me to fix the relationship with Him so that He can fix them. A lot of times I’ll pray and ask God for forgiveness for something I’ve done wrong, and I’ll ask Him to help me fix the situation and fix the bad habits I have. I mean, that’s what everyone’s always told me that God wants. Once we have a relationship with Him, He wants us to live a holy life, right? Yes and no.

You see, God does want us to live a holy life, that’s true. But we can be living a great life and still be far away from God. There are lots of nice people out there that live a pretty good life, but don’t know God. What I’m saying is that God would rather have a vibrant relationship with each and every one of us – and then through that, He can help us live that holy life. It’s a sequence of events; one must come before the other. And while we will never have a perfect relationship with God until we get to heaven, it’s more important to work on getting closer to God than it is to work on fixing your sins. Once we begin to seek after God, our old habits and old self will begin to die off, and it will be replaced by our new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Colossians 3:10; check out the whole chapter for the qualities of the old and new selves).

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to fix a specific sin I have trouble with. The details aren’t important, since the truth is that people can struggle with any sin, and what I struggle with, you might not. But while trying to fix this problem I had to try to please God, I slowly started to drift away from Him. I was more concerned with pleasing Him than I was spending time with Him. And I forgot that we’ve already been declared faultless because of Christ’s work on the cross. While that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to fix my sin, the fact is that it’s no excuse to drift away from a relationship with God.

The truth is that I can’t fix this problem anyways. There is absolutely nothing that I can do in my own strength to change it. Sin is an addiction – we’ve all gotten hooked, and now Christ is trying to slowly break us away from it. But the point to remember is that it’s Christ that does that, not us. Our job is to try to get as close to Him as possible; then He can take the time to fix the problem. I just got a mental picture of something. Imagine your hands are tied in front of you with a big, thick rope. You now have two choices: you can either try to gnaw the rope to pieces in order to be able to reach to God with free hands, or you can reach to Him first, with hands bound, and let Him cut the ropes. The truth is that the first option will take much more time and effort, and is therefore useless.

So then, if God is the only one with the power to fix the problem, why am I always so concerned with fixing it myself? As I seek after Him, I’ll grow to be more like Christ, and that means the problems will fix themselves, instead of me having to dwell on them constantly. Christianity isn’t about rules to follow or about working to be worthy of a greater reward. It’s about having a relationship with the One who loves us even though we don’t deserve it and never gives up on us, though we fail Him over and over again. If God really cared that much about us living a holy life, He would have set a standard for us to receive Christ’s forgiveness. You must be this holy to enter heaven, or something like that. Now, don’t get me wrong – God’s love isn’t an excuse for us to sin, but rather it’s a display of God’s priorities on earth. Coming in at number one on His to-do list is to create a personal relationship with each and every person on this planet. Then, next at number two is to teach them to be more like His Son in order to better them spiritually. Were those priorities reversed, Christianity would be no different than any other religion out there that says, “You must be this good to enter.”

This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. On the one hand, I do want to seek God’s face, but on the other hand, I want to please Him also. I suppose I just have to set my own priorities straight and do it God’s way. He’s been telling me over and over, “Hey, how about you just let Me handle it?” I suppose I’ve just been too stubborn to listen. But eventually it should get through my thick head, and then I should see some change. Thank goodness that God is forgiving, or else I’d likely be in the hospital right now with third degree burns – from the giant lightning bolt that would have struck me multiple times from heaven. That’s what I’d be doing to us puny little humans right now if I were God. Thank goodness I’m not. But to end off, I think David must have said it best when he wrote these words: “Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always…. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:10-11, 34) That’s only part of his song; check out the rest for more great words of praise. It’s just a great reminder that seeking God comes first. Now I just need to remember that.

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