For the majority of my Christian life I've found it easy to put the things of God first. It's a noble desire. But as I was putting God first, I ended up dabbling in an affair, attempted to take my own life, and was given a cancer diagnosis. So I have come to one conclusion: putting God first is not very effective, and it is certainly not very simple. But placing God in the center of our lives—oh yeah, now this is the sweet spot we're all searching for. Although encountering problems in this life will never cease, our lives can be dramatically simplified, purpose-filled, joyful, and effective the moment we begin to live with Jesus in all things, instead of first of all things.
What does it look like to put Jesus before something, anyway? Jesus, and then my marriage … Jesus, and then my health? No—this theory creates unnecessary chaos. Why? Because humans are just not smart enough to keep that system going without eventually messing something up, no matter how well-intentioned or "moral" we think we are.
Instead, the life-changing truth I've embraced, and I pray you will too, looks more like this: Jesus in my marriage. Jesus in my family. Jesus in my health ...
When Jesus resides in the center of our lives, our lives will revolve around the things of Jesus. And when everything revolves around Jesus, he not only becomes first in order, he becomes the center of our purposes.
When our lives become God-centered, it no longer matters if we're happy or sad, broke or thriving, discouraged or peaceful—because everything we do, think, and desire is paced to do, think, and desire like Jesus. His will becomes our heartbeat and begins to align with our deepest desires. And when we begin to feel the effects of a satisfied heart, our lives become more simplified.
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Adapted from TCW article "How Not to Put God First" by Kasey Van Norman.