Look to Jesus First
By Dr. Bruce C. Swaffield
Professor, Regent University
Who we are in the world is much less important than who we are in God. In fact, our place and our position do not matter at all as long as we are doing the work the Lord has called us to do. The problem comes when we try to please coworkers, friends and acquaintances more than God.
People everywhere, even well-meaning Christians, have a way of accepting or rejecting us based on what they see and think. They look at us through their eyes and perspective, not through the pure heart of God. At times, we do the same of others, too. We judge someone from what we have heard, what we have experienced and what we feel – even though we know all of these can easily deceive us.
Jesus knew well the trappings of our own temptations and sins. As a human, he faced the same emotions and situations. Yet, he was able to overcome his physical humanness and be guided completely by the spirit.
We can never go wrong when we follow the Holy Spirit. In God is where we find our true validation and worth. We cannot allow anything, even our own thoughts or hurts, to separate us from the Father. We need to forgive those who try to judge us, accept those who try to reject us and love those who try to ignore us. Jesus taught us what to do in each circumstance. He is the example. We are his followers.
There is a choice we make each morning: whether to follow God gently into a new day or to be jolted awake by our hectic thoughts and schedule. From the time we open our eyes, the world comes racing toward us with problems, concerns, anxieties and fears. But God offers us peace, comfort, strength and faith. Which one we choose determines what will happen during the next 15 or 16 hours, until evening falls and we rest again.
You and I need to work at letting God guide us as we take our first tentative steps into another day. Our hearts and minds must be listening to him, looking to him and walking toward him. We must actively seek him, doing whatever we can to push aside the sounds that call to us from everyday living.
Taking time with God every morning requires practice and discipline. There are dozens of things that try to pull us away and distract us – most of all time itself. The argument we hear most often in our heads is that we do not have time for prayer and meditation; we must get to work or school; we have an appointment; we cannot be late. We fool ourselves into believing we will set aside time later in the day to spend with God. In the meantime, who knows where we will be or what may happen.
Being with God at the beginning of each day lets us see his path and plan. He can give us the calm and order we are seeking in our lives. He sends us off in the right direction because he knows what is waiting for us just ahead. Trusting him means taking time with him to set our course on his will for the day. Better we follow him than our unpredictable thoughts, emotions and plans.
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Bruce Swaffield is a professor in the Regent University School of Journalism
in the the College of Communication.Visit Dr. Bruce Swaffield's Devotions for Life Website He
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