The other day while reading through my daily bible reading plan passage I came across this challenging verse in 1 John 5:21 “Keep away from everything that might take God’s place in your heart.” And it got me thinking. So often I prioritise stupid, pointless, meaningless, non-lasting stuff over God. I chose an hour in front of the TV over Bible reading. I sit on Facebook getting the latest gossip from my list of friends, but when was the last time I sat down and prayed for most of these guys? When I have a chance to read I’ll sit down with something like The Hunger Games over something that is spiritually beneficial like a book by Francis Chan or John Piper.
And I wonder if any of that is ringing a bell with you? (Of course, you could have it all sorted and not let anything at any point take a higher place in your life than God. But my guess is that people like that are few and far between.) This isn’t going to be one of those posts where I offer a nice handy list of solutions to ensure you keep Jesus number one, because I am definitely no expert in doing that. I simply want to remind you that our highest priority in every aspect of our life should be God. He must come first. Before relationships. Before your education. Before work. Before Gossip Girl. Before family. Before X-box. Do not let anything take God’s place in your heart. Treasure Jesus above all. Boast only in the Cross and not in anything you achieve. Your identity comes from the Cross, not your girlfriend or your latest test grade, so make it your priority in life.
Keeping God first requires intentionality. It requires choosing each day to make Him your priority. It means relying on the Holy Spirit to help you. What it doesn’t mean is giving up everything else and becoming a hermit who spends every walking minute reading the Bible or locked away in prayer. You can still enjoy the other aspects of life that God provides for us – friendships, relationships, recreational pleasure, sport, TV shows. But what is important is that we don’t enjoy the gifts more than we enjoy the Giver. Give Him the first-fruits of your time, and give The Office the leftovers, rather than the other way around.
What helps you put God first and stay away from things that take His place?