Seeking God First
Ever since I was a teenager, I remember reaching into my pocket for my phone whenever I had a crisis. I’d quickly dial my parents and vent about the most recent school happening. Today, I still rely on others to listen and provide feedback on a how stressful work or a relational issue has been. In addition to my parents, my network has now grown to include more friends, coworkers and a fiancé for their opinion; I’m even in a group chat titled “The Counsel.” Big or small, I’ve been guilty of running to other people for help and encouragement instead of seeking God first. While there is a place for godly counsel and accountability, our refuge should not be in others.
I struggle with a similar issue when it comes to planning out my life. I am a planner by nature. I love to have my next 4-5 vacations mapped out and to fill my days with an endless amount of tasks so I can feel productive. But, unfortunately, these plans are often made with little to no consideration of what God would want for my time. It might be easy to think this is no big deal. After all, I work hard; I might as well enjoy having time off and making plans. Or that in my own strength I can successfully tackle my to-do list. However, as a child of God, no plan or decision is too small. In this situation, these are decisions about how I steward my time and money, all of which I should bring to Him. Needless to say, we should strive to seek God first in all we do. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us,
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
While I would love to seek God first always, I’m still not there yet. God is still working in me and sanctifying me until the day I stand before Him and He makes me complete. The following few steps are measures I take when I fail to seek Him first. This all began as I thought about how I did things. It is only through reflection and God’s grace that I was able to come to the following steps after making choices on my own that left God out of the picture.
Doing as I please without considering God is something that, like many other sins, creeps in without me realizing it. Sometimes I realize I’ve failed in this area long after I’ve committed to something. A few years ago, I was looking into traveling for the summer, I got in contact with a few agencies that have programs abroad, some of which told me their programs were full or that registration was closed until I found one that still had vacancy. I quickly booked my flight and was even able to arrange to meet a friend while I was there. It wasn’t until after my bags were packed that I realized that I had failed to bring God into the picture. I was simply hoping he would come along for the ride. While this was a great trip, it should have started a little differently. It should have started with me bringing my desires before the Lord. I needed to repent.
Thankfully, God has made me more aware of this sinful habit in my life. As I notice this pattern, I quickly repent: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) I seek God’s forgiveness because this need to be heard or validated should only come from the Lord. It is much easier to run to someone who might be able to offer words of encouragement than it is to recall what the Bible says about any given circumstance or to pray and wait for God’s response. To a certain extent, this action is a cover for my unbelief, unbelief that God cares and shows a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty.
When I’m in the middle of making a decision, I aim to seek God. Matthew 7:7-9 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” As I make much of Christ in my situation, I surrender control and submit to His will.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) To trust God is to lay everything before Him. As I seek Him, I need to have faith that God will act according to His will, just as a loving and caring Father does for his children. It isn’t a matter of asking God to do whatever I want, but rather Him giving me the clarity and peace I need to carry on in the situation before me.
Even when I get the order of things wrong and seek God after I’ve already made a decision, it’s a good idea to reconsider and see whether this new commitment or decision is something that glorifies God. Sometimes the choice does honor God, but it might not be the best for me. I’ve found myself in a position where I can continue trying to balance many good things at the expense of the quality of how things are done. If you find that you are caught in the middle of taking on one more thing, go before the Lord! In our limited minds, we might think that we can conjure plans and think of trade offs, but as you seek Him, you may be surprised at when and how He responds to your desire for His will.
We serve a gracious God who loves us and forgives us even when we are faithless. Even when we don’t include Him in the plan, God continues to provide and care for you as his child. Matthew 7:9-11 says, ”Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” God wants to be part of the plan. Not only does he bless us with what is best for us, He is also with us and comforts us when we face difficult times. After all, He has already conquered over all. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Whenever fear is paralyzing, I bring the words of Matthew 6:26-34 to mind:
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
If God looks after even the smallest and careless of animals, how much more can He think and make of us whom He knit in our mother’s womb? Dear sisters, I encourage you to recall the words of Jesus as He gently affirms that He knows and cares about our every need and plan. Trust the one who knows all things and seek Him first always.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meagan is Jersey girl doing life in New York City, as a Kindergarten teacher. She recently got engaged to her best friend and looks forward to marrying him in July of this year. Meagan loves the Lord and serves and worships at a church plant. During her spare time she likes to read, travel, and eat good food. You can find her on Instagram at @meagangutierrez.