I Wish I Had Known (part 2)
I Wish I had Known…
Here we are again talking about hindsight being 20/20. Gazing backward often prompts us to wish we had known then what we know now.Oh, please do not misunderstand me.Regret is never productive.I am not suggesting we should look back and be consumed by regret.I am suggesting that we should be better today than we were yesterday.We should be more of who God desires us to be than we were before.We should live today closer to Him than we ever have.It is my hope that this hindsight will stir us up to be different – to be changed – to finally get what this life is really all about.
I shared with you recently that one of the things I wish I had known is that every decision, every choice put me on a path. Although I would never have chosen to walk that path, it was my choices that led me to it.I wish I had walked in total obedience to God.I wish I had known to wait on Him to affirm choices and decisions.I wish I had understood that His ways were not like my own.Instead of shining a spot light down the road of my life – He would just illuminate one step at a time.I mean after all – that is what walking by faith is all about.(You can read my first post at http://masterwhatmatters.org/2014/10/29/wish-known/#sthash.JOCICvkg.dpbs )
Another thing I wish I had known is what it truly means to put God first in my life. I mean I knew we were supposed to do that.All good Christians would tell you that God comes first, their family second and their work last.But…really?Is that really how our priorities line up?I remember being a young mom and being overwhelmed by the love I felt for my children.I even remember thinking, “Does God seriously expect me to love Him more than I love these kids?”Don’t get me wrong.I loved the Lord.I was active in church.I told my children about Jesus.I went to Bible Study. But, did my relationship with Jesus come first?Oh, I hate to admit it – but the truth is I put other things before Him and before His will for my life.But what I have discovered is I cannot be the mom that my children deserve to have; I cannot have the marriage that I desperately want; I cannot live the life I long to live UNTIL I put Him first in my life.Only when our relationship with Jesus is first can we love our children the way He loves.Only when our relationship with Jesus is first can we become the spouse the Bible says we should be.Only when our relationship with Jesus is first can we dare to live the life that God is calling us to live.
- I wish I had known to literally put God first. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” You see, Jesus is telling us that God knows what we need. He knows what is best for us. If we will only put Him first in our life, we will have all that we need.
- We can put Him first by seeking Him as soon as our eyes open in the morning. Reading our Bible and spending time in prayer with Him. He should get our first communication.
- We can seek Him first by allowing Him to direct our path – instead of us asking Him to bless the path we have chosen to walk. His way is much better than our way.
- We can seek Him first by understanding that every good thing we have is a gift from him – our breath, our children, our job, our belongings – they are all His, they are all from Him. (James 1:17) We should be thankful instead of foolishly believing we have earned them ourselves.
- We can seek Him first by tithing and bringing Him our “first fruits”. You see when we tithe first – before we know if we have enough to cover all of our bills – we are trusting God to meet our needs. We are walking in faith in Him.
- I wish I had known that God’s word, God’s way, and God’s will was far more trustworthy than my feelings. Can I get an “AMEN!”? Oh, we mess that up – don’t we? We think how we feel and our opinions have great value. But in all reality they are not trustworthy at all. John 3:30 says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We should be more like Him – less like me. People hurt us and our feelings tell us to be angry and resentful. But Jesus showed us by example what we should do. Hanging on the cross – after He had been beaten, spat upon and nails driven through His hands did He say, “These people stink. I can’t stand them.” NOOOOO! He didn’t say that. What did He say? “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” WOW! So, we are to offer others grace even though they have not earned it – even though they do not deserve it. What about when our feelings tell us not to serve, not to give or to quit and give up? What if our feelings tell us we have things under control and we are doing great all by ourselves? What if they tell us we have no value? What if they tell us to enter into a relationship that is not healthy for us? What if our feelings pull us toward doing things that are not pleasing to the Lord? Are we to listen to those feelings? No! They are not trustworthy. But, what is trustworthy is God’s word. We read in Colossians 3:1-4, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Oh…that is good stuff! As Christians we are to seek those things which are from God – His will, His way, a relationship with Jesus. When we put God first – our feelings will no longer get in our way.
- And lastly, I wish I had known that in order to put God first in my life – I would need to die to myself every day. You know what? We, as Christians are called to live our life according to the example that Jesus set for us to follow. Jesus loved God with all of his heart. We are to love Him that way. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus tell us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Jesus lived His life in total surrender to God – even to the point of death. So yes, that is what we are to do. I love this scripture…Philippians 2:5-8 – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Do you know what this tells me? This tells me that God wants all of me! He wants to rule over every area of our life. He should reign supreme. I believe that we are to humble ourselves just like Jesus did. We are to surrender our all just like Jesus did. We are to die to ourselves just like Jesus did.
What I now know is that apart from God, I am a complete and total mess. But when I put Him first in my life – I rest in a sweet, sweet spot – where I know I am loved, where I can feel great joy and gratitude;and where I can have peace – real, peace that can only come from Him.
Today, I humbly bow before God and ask that I may live my life in the manner Galatians 2:20 teaches. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live is the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
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