KEEP FIRST THINGS FIRST
“I alone know the plans I have for you . . . to bring about the future you hope for. ” Jeremiah 29:11 Good News Translation.
My thoughts today are that, “Life Is Best When God Is First.”
As most teens, I struggled with establishing priorities. I assumed a priority was what I wanted to do when I wished to do so. As you might imagine, my Dad was very persuasive otherwise. And soon, he persuaded me as well. As a teenager, I frequently heard his simple reminder, “keep first things first.”
Priorities help achieve success. Jesus set the Kingdom of God as His, and our, priority. “Seek first [His] Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV. I have observed that when you do the important things first you do them better.
Priorities simplify planning. When you fail to plan, you unintentionally plan to fail. Success is achievable daily with a plan that is clear and manageable. Without adequate forethought and planning, you will not accomplish success. A plan is like GPS. You first decide on your desired destination. Then a route is formulated as the best way from where you are to where you need to be. That applies to everyday life.
Some years ago, a simple and practical business strategy became popular, “Plan your work; work your plan.” A life lived without a plan does not work well. And any plan that is not clear and manageable on some daily basis will not lead to success .
Solomon’s words remain wise counsel in any circumstance. “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 NLT. When you plan, you visualize the priority and time required for the matters needing your effort.
When you neglect those moments to think through a day’s responsibilities, you still find yourself busy but less productive. When your day lacks a plan, energy is misspent. Effort is misapplied. Attention is distracted. Time is mismanaged. And important things are replaced by alternatives that seem easier and more enjoyable.
Priorities are necessary to be productive. Now, let’s look at this on a larger scale with more eternal consequence. This principle especially applies to your spiritual life, as well as your daily life. Those two are inseparable. You will be more successful at the latter, when you succeed at the former. You cannot compartmentalize life where you sometime retain operational control, while in others you expect God to direct and provide. Jesus is Lord of all. Or He is not Lord at all.
I am grateful for my Dad’s reminders, “Allen, keep first things first!” It’s very simple really. First, you work, then you play. First, you save, then you spend. First, you seek God’s plan, and then you follow. You and your well-being have been in God’s plans from the beginning and will continue to be. Read Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT.
Life is best when God is first. God has the redemptive and definitive plan for your life. Scripture is consistent. “I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 GNT. Through prayer and Scripture, let God plan your work. “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NLT.
“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.” Psalm 18:30 NIV. That being true, then devote yourself to knowing and following His plan. That is called obedience, a priority to God and a necessity for your success.
Obedience will supply you with the necessary focus and ability you do not otherwise possess. Obedience will produce opportunities you neither earned nor expected. And obedience will yield achievement you do not imagine. God’s direction is always accurate; His timing is always exact; His results are always gracious and generous.
My prayer for you today is to desire and discover God’s purpose in all you do.
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