Here’s an irony: Sometimes, true and lasting change can be hard to come by when we’re chasing it first and foremost. If change in our lives–whether from an unwanted sexual behavior, a relational struggle, an emotional difficulty, or anything else–is our primary focus, it can end up out of our reach.
Choosing to follow Christ first and foremost, on the other hand, is a better way. This can be hard, especially when the life change we’ve been seeking promises to make life better for us and for others.
- You don’t want to be overwhelmed by sexual temptation any more
- You want your marriage to be better
- You want to be free of anxiety or depression
- You don’t want to struggle with the thing that embarrasses you so much
- You want to be healed
- You want your kids to return to Christ
Jesus most certainly wants to help us. But His priorities are not always ours.
For example, where you seek freedom from addiction, He might want to start with the negative thoughts you carry about your own self-worth. You might want your spouse or child to change, but He wants to get after the pride or bitterness in your own heart. You might want to be healed of a physical ailment, and He might want you to forgive someone from your past. You might want your ministry/business/church/family to grow, and He might want you to take off the masks you’ve been wearing. You might want your child to love God, and God may be asking you to release your child and hold to Him.
Choosing Christ no matter what means being willing to go wherever He leads you, or to stay still–to sit with Him in green pastures or beside quiet waters (Psalm 23:2) at times when your soul feels the need to rush down the path.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5) may mean God’s victory over your enemies or it may mean that the hard place that feels so dangerous is where He’s going to feed your soul.
In his book Addiction and Grace, Gerald May writes:
Consecration means dedication to God. It occurs when we claim our deepest desire for God, beneath, above, and beyond all things. Everything we do involves some kind of dedication. When we simply try to reform a troublesome addiction, our struggle is dedicated to minimizing the pain that addiction causes us and others. But in consecration we dedicate our struggle to something more; consecration is our assent to God’s transforming grace, our commitment homeward.
Dedicating our journey to God and choosing to be consecrated to Him puts everything in a new light. Every struggle we go through becomes a chance to choose Him and worship Him. Every victory, no matter how small, is one we celebrate with Him. Every failure or setback becomes an opportunity to receive His loving grace.
Could it be God is after a people who know Him in the deserts as much as the promised lands? Could it be that, more than you reaching a destination, God wants to become your destination?
Lord, lead us Home. You are our true Home!
Question: Has God ever called you to address a different issue than the one you most wanted help with? What happened when you chose His priorities over your own?
This is on point. Wanting & remaining hopeful with Jesus by our side regardless of the pain & suffering is exactly where He wants us. Thank you for sharing.
Matt 6:33 Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.
Dr. Charles Stanley says that Intimacy with HIM is God’s highest priority for our lives.
I believe this. I really love this blog; it is the heart of Regeneration Ministries. The answer is Jesus. Period. I am complete in Him. He supplies the power by His gift of the Holy Spirit; this is nothing I can do with my soul power/will power.
Thanks for taking the time!
Thanks Josh for your thoughts especially on this topic of priorities.I really needed this message.Thank you a God bless you my brother.
I enjoy the blogs. I am a chaplain and have shared the blog with clients that have different struggles. Clients told me that they had shared the blog with their family members. I have also used the material in my sermons, and the membership has been very receptive. Please keep up the excellent work.