What is the most important thing in your life? What is your priority? James W. Frick said, “Don’t tell me what your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” That’s true, isn’t it? We tend to spend our money on those things that are important to us, whether that be food, clothing, or entertainment. In many ways, our bank accounts offer a pretty good indication of our priorities.
However, our bank accounts don’t offer the only clue where our priorities lie. How we begin our day is also an important indicator of what we value the most. I’m no James W. Frick, but this is what Stephanie H. Solberg says, “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me how you begin your day, and I’ll tell you what they are.” Do you wake up saying good morning to your Father in Heaven, or do you rush into your day without giving Him a second thought?
What I’m about to share with you changed my life, and it can change yours, too, if you do this one thing……..
FIRST THINGS, FIRST
First fruits. God claims the first fruits of everything: not just our wages but our time. The law of first fruits is a spiritual principle that Jesus summarizes beautifully in Matthew 6:33:
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
When we seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first, then God will provide the necessities for us. We won’t have to spend another second worrying about our lives: what we will eat, drink, or wear. Instead, our time is freed to focus on the “one thing that is necessary…the good part, sitting at the feet of Jesus.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Let’s dig a little deeper into this verse so we can understand how to apply this principle to our life. Jesus tells us we are to seek God’s kingdom. What does Jesus mean by God’s kingdom? The Apostle Paul answers that question in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
When we seek God’s kingdom, we are to earnestly seek after his righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. But seeking those things is not enough. We must seek them first!
The Greek word for “first” is próton, meaning before, at the beginning, first in time, place, order, or importance. So, what have we learned here?
We are to seek God’s righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit BEFORE anything else.
BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE
Every day we are to seek God’s kingdom first. By first, I mean at the beginning of our day – when we first wake up, BEFORE we do anything else.
I submit that what we do first thing in the morning lays an unshakeable foundation upon which the rest of our day can be built.
I know, I know, I get it. Some of you are not morning people. Fine. But you get up every day, don’t you? Depending on when you get up, your morning could start at 5 a.m., 10 a.m., or 1:00 p.m. It doesn’t matter WHEN you get up; what matters is WHAT you do FIRST when you get up.
I hear you. You have a busy life. Mornings are crazy. I understand. I’ve been there. But not even our crazy lives change the Word of God:
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:3 ESV
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8 NIV
The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4 NIV
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. Psalm 59:16 ESV
But I cry to you for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.Psalm 88:13 ESV
THIS OR THAT?
Still not convinced? Let me present two possible scenarios for your morning:
Scenario #1: Your alarm is set for 6:00 a.m. You must be at work by eight. You hit snooze too many times, and you wake up late. A sense of panic sets in. It is now 6:38 a.m., and you still must feed the kids, feed the dogs, and get yourself ready! You rush around, yelling out orders. Get up! Get dressed! Find your shoes! Then you realize you can’t find your hairdryer (probably because your teenager has it upstairs). You finally get the kids ready, yourself ready, drop them off and get yourself to work, only to realize you forgot to put half your makeup on. Sure, you made it, but not without stress and tears.
Scenario #2: Your alarm is set for 5:00 a.m., and your coffee pot for 4:55 a.m. You wake up to the smell of coffee and a quiet house. Everyone is still sleeping. You get out of bed, get your coffee and your Bible, and then you cuddle up in your favorite chair. You have an hour before anyone else gets up, an hour to pray, study, and worship. You chose the “one thing that is necessary…the good part, sitting at the feet of Jesus. When six o’clock rolls around, you have a sense of peace and a readiness to live out the day God has helped you plan in your time with Him. Instead of stress and tears, your morning starts with peace and joy.
Which scenario would you prefer?
The way you start your day will affect the way you end your day. I’m sure you can think of a few examples where this is true in your life. If you spend time with God before you do anything else, then distractions are less likely to pull you away from Him. Jesus understood distractions. That is why He told the disciples this:
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
When you “close the door,” you close more than the door to a room; you close the door to distractions. Distraction is always going to be a temptation. The enemy would like nothing more than to stop us from spending time with our Heavenly Father. But, if you can close the door on distraction, you can effectively take away the power the enemy made you think he had over your time with God.
THE ONE THING…
I mentioned earlier that I was going to tell you the one thing that, if you do, will change your life. Are you ready?
Well, here it is:
SET YOUR ALARM 15 MINUTES EARLIER THAN YOUR NORMAL WAKE-UP TIME.
Is anyone running out of the room screaming yet?
USE THAT 15 MINUTES TO PRAY, WORSHIP, AND STUDY.
Commit right now to seek God’s kingdom first, at the beginning of your day – when you first wake up, BEFORE you do anything else. When you do this, your morning time with God will lay an unshakeable foundation upon which the rest of your day can be built.
That’s what I did several years ago. Soon, I realized that fifteen minutes was not enough time. Before long, the fifteen minutes turned into 20 minutes and 20 minutes into 30, and it just kept going. Spending time in God’s presence is my true addiction. I can’t get enough of Him!
15 minutes will change your life.
I’m going to end where I began: Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me how you begin your day, and I’ll tell you what they are!
If you are up for the 15-minute challenge, let me know in the comments!