As we enter into a new year, let's remember to put first things first in our lives. In the sixth chapter of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus instructs those who believe in him to focus on what is necessary to be a success as a Christian. Note, he does not tell us to focus on those things that will make us a success in the world. But, rather, a success as a Christian. He says we are to "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness."
Many people put other things first.
Some put their job or profession first. Now, don't get me wrong. I think it is important for a Christian to be a good worker, or a good businessman. No matter where a believer might work, people should be able to see a positive difference in the way they go about their tasks. We should work hard to make what we do a success. But we must never allow our jobs or our professions or our businesses to come first in our lives.
Others put the accumulation of wealth first in their lives. Many spend their time and energies gaining and getting. But they often lose their sense of God. The more we seek earthly things, the less of the things of God we can see. Recently I read about a famous singer who had risen to the top and eventually walked away from it all. When asked why, she pointed to a beautiful sunset and replied ... "My success made me think less of that and it made me think little or nothing of God's Word."
Still others put pleasure first. When talking to people about where they go to church, I've had many tell me, "Sunday is my only day off ... I need that time to relax!" Now, I'm not saying God is opposed to a person having a good time and enjoying life. But pleasure should not be our chief aim of life, and nothing should come before God. Jesus is clear in this verse, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness."
Some people might not like this point, but I find that many folks tend to put family first in their lives. Now, don't get me wrong, family is important. But not more important than God. I've known people who moan and groan nearly every time you see them about how their children don't attend church anymore. And yet, when those same kids were still at home, maybe -- just maybe -- they were taught by example that going to Grandma's house and Aunt So-n-So's house or to the football game or to the lake was more important than going to church ... and serving God!
Seeking God's kingdom first isn't required of everyone. It is for those who claim to be part of that kingdom. Before one can "seek first the kingdom" they must be a part of it. The only way to become a part of God's kingdom is to be born again. To put your faith and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and accept him as your personal Savior. Once that is accomplished, you can begin to put God first in your life and reap the benefits of his promises to his own.
Again, we are entering a new year. We have a new opportunity to follow Christ and to put him first in our lives.