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First Things First: What Matters Most

Priorities: Sometimes we lose sight of what really matters.

Black Friday for example, one day we are thanking God for everything we have (Thanksgiving) and then the next day we have decided we don't have enough and go crazy!

What is it that really matters in our life? What matters the most?

First Stepping Stone: As Christians, we live to fulfill God's desires for our lives. God is to be the number one priority of our lives, as Christian's.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

Second Stepping Stone: God takes us through a life-long process of transformation. Transforming our hearts, desires, actions to be more like Jesus. He is taking us on a spiritual journey from selfish, to selfless.

Jesus was the model of not living for self, he lived to honor God.

Often for us, God doesn't remain our number one priority. In those difficult times, we have moments where we just go through the motions. God may be a priority, but he is no longer THE priority.

When the first thing isn't first, when he is not number one in our hearts and lives, that every area in our lives.

Three areas of our lives that are affected when God is not number one in our lives:

  1. Our Relationships

God wants us to have healthy relationships with others. There is a trickle-down effect from our relationship with God into every area of our lives. He wants us to have healthy relationships in every area of our lives. When God is not number one, when we are not becoming more selfless, we are moving towards selfish behavior and that affects other relationships. We end up seeking after things that aren't really there. In our selfish view we always think we can find something better, the grass is always greener, we are chasing after ghosts because nothing will ever be good enough, we will never be satisfied, we will never be fulfilled. We don't have to chase after Ghosts in this life. We can make God the number one priority in our lives and as we focus on a healthy relationship with Him, he can help us have healthy relationships with others. He wants what's best for us.

We have a big lack of commitment in our lives. What keeps commitments strong? Our commitment to the Lord. Our strength is rooted in our relationship with God.

We can make our family a priority by putting God first in our lives. We can commit all of those relationships to the Lord by increasing our commitment to Him.

"Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust in him and he will help you"  - Psalm 37:5

When my highest commitment is strong, all my other commitments are strong. When my highest commitment is weak, all my other commitments are weakened.

When we are hurt, we have the tendency to close ourselves off of new relationships. We keep ourselves from being able to be a help and support to anyone else.

We value that we are the family of God and we are here for one another as a church family. We are brothers and sisters who are collectively going through a spiritual journey together.

"Therefore, Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone - especially to those in the family of faith" - Galatians 6:10 (NLT)

"And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters." - 1 John 4:21 (NLT)

It's difficult to ask for help at times, but we need one another. It is God's desire that we are there for one another.

  1. Our Finances

How we handle our finances is a spiritual thing and is connected to our relationship with God.

It's the clearest indicator of where are hearts and priorities are.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" - Matthew 6:21 (NIV)

We put our resources, our treasure, we put that towards what our desires and priorities are.

"You cannot serve both God and money" - Matthew 6:24b (NIV)

He could have said "God and ..." pride-lust-popularity, etc, anything else, but what he was trying to explain to us was that one of the biggest competitors for our hearts that God is fighting against is our treasure, resources, and finances.

Jesus is saying we've got to have our financial priorities in order - in order for God to be first in our lives, he has to be first in every area of our lives, which include our finances.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this" says the Lord Almighty "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it" - Malachi 3:10

Test God in this. Take 10% of your income and give it back to God. See all that you have from the Lord and give back to Him, trust Him with your finances.

God said to test him in this area. God will come through and provide for you. It doesn't keep you from trouble or trials but he is faithful and will provide through the difficult times.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

  1. Our Faith

"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 (ESV)

We have to believe that God is there for us and rewards those who seek him. We have to have faith that He is there for us and he knows what is best for us in our lives. This takes great faith.

God has a destiny for your life and has great plans but to live up to the full potential of what this is, we have to have great faith.

You may be at a place in your spiritual journey where you are struggling to have great faith.

It's okay to ask God for bigger faith.  It's okay if you are struggling.

"Help me overcome my unbelief!" - Mark 9:24b

It is a process where God transforms the way we think, and act. It takes big faith to live out the things God has for our lives.

Three Take-Aways - how to develop that kind of faith in your life:

  1. Develop Daily Time with God.

Stay constantly connected with the Lord. Prayer, communicating with him, the bible, worship him on a daily basis. The times when you struggle the most spiritually, coincide with the times where you don't have daily time with God. Committed to being with God every day keeps you close to God through those difficulties.  God will speak directly to you.

  1. Attend a Church Faithfully

Strengthens you, challenges your faith. Raise your children in the church. Fight those battles and get your kids out to church, it will be a blessing to your children's lives. When we put family a priority in our lives God will do incredible things in our lives.

  1. Begin Fasting

God responds to in powerful ways - we give up a meal or food for a period of time where we replace that time in prayer and spending time with God. We acknowledge that we need the nourishment but He is nourishment for my soul and spirit. Sacrifice to spend extra time with Him. He will bless you in ways you cannot imagine. Fast together as a family. Bring everyone together, set aside time at the dinner table and spend that time with the Lord. He will bless that.

God has an amazing plan for your life. God wants to bless you. He wants to prosper you. But we need to make Him THE priority in our lives and make God number one in our relationships, finances and all of our faith as we seek first His kingdom.

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God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
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Dear God, sometimes my "testing" season seems so long. Please give me courage to endure until the end. Help me not to bail! You said you would bless me for hanging in there - I will not give up on you or your promises. You are with me and will see me through this trial.