Now that we’ve made it past that depressing week between Christmas and New Years, I can honestly say I’m excited about the New Year and the possibility of a fresh start. I feel optimistic that this time around I can lose those extra pounds, get organized once and for all, send thank you notes on time, remember passwords, potty train the toddler, and finally figure out a cleaning and laundry system around here that actually works. Get ready, World, for a new, streamlined, efficient and capable Debra.
But first things first. How about I start this New Year off by taking my Savior’s advice to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”? In fact, now that I think about it, this is where I got side tracked last year. I neglected my personal devotion time, and cut down on the time I spent in God’s Word. The funny thing is, at the time, I knew exactly what was happening. I knew I was getting sucked into that trap of self-reliance, deceiving myself into thinking that I was in charge even though all evidence pointed to the contrary.
Is it any wonder that 2015 was a year of struggle for me? I finally came to my senses one morning in late November. I realized the one thing that had been missing from my daily life was the one thing I need most. I found a read-the-Bible-in-one-year version of the Bible at a thrift store and bought it. I carried it home and set it on my nightstand, confident that this was just the tool I needed to get back on track. It would be so easy to track my progress, and it was. Unfortunately, that meant it was also easy to see how quickly I fell behind. Once again, I wasn’t making time for God. Once again, other things were crowding Him out.
I consoled myself with this thought: God knows my heart and my intentions. But that was little consolation. Yes, God does know my heart, and that means He knows how often He comes in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or worse. I can tell myself He comes first, but that doesn’t make it true, especially when my thoughts and actions don’t support it. Yes, even when I’m in denial, He knows.
And that’s not how I want it to be. I want Him to be my first and last thought of each day. I want to need Him like I need oxygen, to crave time with Him because I can’t get enough of Him. I want to know His Word backward and forward, inside and out so I can confidently share it with others. I want to put first things first.
There’s nothing wrong with my other resolutions. I still hope I can see some positive change in those areas as the year progresses. But my greatest need is Jesus, and the most important thing to me is to grow in grace and knowledge of my Savior. Without that, life is pretty empty. I could accomplish everything else on my New Year’s list, and on the outside I’d look like an athletic, efficient, successful person and a good mom. Inside, however, I’d be falling apart.
So here and now I resolve to put first things first. Every day. Not to give the impression that I’m a good person, because that’s not the truth. Not to merely put forth my intention, because God knows the truth. But to remind myself – on the days I succeed and on the days I fail – that there is one thing I need. Just one.
By God’s grace, that I will seek.