This year was full of excitement, but also a lot of long days! We house hunted, slept in too many hotels to count, moved with 2 kids, (at the time ages 2 and under) 2 dogs and packed up our old house and then unpacked into our new house. Anyone with children understands that packing efforts just tripled because of baby gadgets and kiddie stuff! The minimalist lifestyle was becoming quite appealing as I taped and taped countless boxes.
When Christmas rolled around we were trying to pick out a few favorite things to display and set up because the unpacking of things (all to repack in a month or less) was all too fresh in our minds. We set up the tree of course, our Christmas village, and some other festive randoms. Lastly, I unpacked the nativity set- it’s a full stable scene with the manger, wisemen, Jesus, animals etc. Where was I going to set this thing up?! I was trying to squeeze it on shelves or plop it on random furniture in the living room. It had to go somewhere, but was there really a place for it? I finally found the perfect spot after some maneuvering and tossing some decor aside for the holiday season.
This had me thinking about some things in my personal walk with God. Often I’m doing the same type of thing- trying to figure out where I can fit God into my life, my plans, my daily schedule. Are there some things I needed to “toss” aside to fit Him in? But then I asked myself, is it about fitting Him in, or actually MAKING time for the One who made all the time in the world for me, laying down His own life so I could have the best life. I mean I really want to be #livingmybestlife. But the only way this can happen, is if I’m giving my best to God, not the leftovers and sloppy seconds.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 NLT
The King James Version says it like this, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
We are to seek the Kingdom of God above all else. Instead of trying to fulfill all of life’s demands on our own, all of our needs could be met by seeking our Savior first.
Day in and day out life can feel so busy, especially when we have things that just have to be done- working, taking care of our home and families, exercising…whatever our priorities may be. But what if we begin to prioritize the Creator. Instead of fitting Him into a time slot in our lives, we give Him first priority. The burdens of life may actually feel a little lighter if we seek Him first when we have an issue. The stresses of the holidays, family arguments, crazy co-workers - may all become more bearable as we pour our praises out to The One who carried all of this so we could actually live more and stress less.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
Finishing up this holiday season and rolling into the New Year, my desire is to “Seek ye first”. Let’s lay down the things we don’t need to carry on our own and spend less time thinking about stuff that doesn’t add value to our lives. Instead, let’s prioritize the God who made time for us on the cross and carried all the weight of this world so we could live an abundant life.
“...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV
When we moved, we had a new address to memorize. Being close to the holidays, I’m making more purchases and I find myself at times typing in our previous address at checkout. Then I’m like, “Duh, we moved! That’s not our home any more. I have a new residence”. I liked our old house, it was safe and secure, but something was missing. We had fun in our old home and enjoyed some things about the area we lived in, but when we took the step of Faith and left our comfort, security and what we were used to-we stepped into something better we didn’t know we were missing. We finally felt “home”.
It’s a similar feeling to our walk with Christ. When we decide to follow Him, we are no longer citizens of this Earth, we are citizens of Heaven. It can feel a little uncomfortable at first making changes from the old to the new. Sometimes change entails leaving behind things we thought gave us purpose or activities we found fulfilling- for something different.
In fact 2 Corinthians 5:15 NLT says, “He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”
And verse 17 says:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Transformation, like moving from one home to another, doesn’t usually happen over night and most times it’s not easy. Truly living life with an eternal perspective can take some time. Consequently, it can feel as if living this way has totally complicated life. Below vs 13 says that, “if it seems that we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God.” Even in the Bible, people were feeling torn between living a “normal” life vs the “crazy” life passionate for God. But hey, just what if there really is more to life than just what we see now?! What if being that “crazy Bible person” is actually a door to living a life full of passion and purpose?
“If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life."
2 Corinthians 5:13-14 NLT
Sometimes it is hard to lay down your old life and carry on with the “new” one. Being accepted by those around you can be the hardest part of running the race, but when you start to reap the benefits of a life sold out for Him you won’t look back. Satan doesn’t know your future, only your past, so oftentimes he’ll remind you of past shame and guilt. Maybe your family or friends liked the “old you” better and you’re feeling like a failure to those you hoped would be your biggest support in your life change. Living like a resident of Heaven vs Earth isn’t necessarily the easy path, but the rewards of living that way far outweighs not.
For me, living with eternal perspective has brought me more joy. It’s easy to be weighed down with the cares of this world and lose sight of what our purpose in life is, especially when times get tough.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT
We aren’t promised perfect or easy as Christ-followers, but when the One who took on all of our sin and imperfections, overcame death and defeated the grave- is on your side- living a life sold out to Him is life giving . Living for eternity shouldn’t cause “FOMO” , because when you are living for Him, you actually open doors to not just a fulfilling life on Earth but eternal life as well. Once you accept Jesus as your Savior (see the link to learn more), your old life is gone. Your sins are cast as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12), your spirit is being renewed (2 Corinthians 4:16), and your future is bright (Jeremiah 29:11).