What takes first place in your life? Most of us have so many responsibilities, it’s often difficult to prioritize. This will lead us to go through our day stressed and anxious, which is the perfect opportunity for Satan to trip us up. Our schedules and to-do lists can be overwhelming at times. Today I have had to stop and make a list of what is urgent and what can wait. But there is one thing that will always be number one.
Psalm 119:153-160 ~ Resh
Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees. Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to your laws. Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes. I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love. All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal (NIV).
Have you ever felt like the Psalmist? I wonder if the enemy could be the “tyranny of the urgent,” or perhaps he is suffering because in his busyness, he left himself unguarded against the enemy?
This entire Psalm has 176 verses based on the Hebrew alphabet, with eight verses for each of the 22 letters. These verses each begin with the Hebrew letter resh. The ancient pictograph for resh looks like the head of of a man, and the word resh means “head, first, top, chief, or beginning.”
I believe that the Psalmist saw an important connection between God’s protection and his obedience. He may have faced persecution and suffering at the hand of the enemy, but his love for God and His Word was the first, top, chief thing is his life, and therefore, He had hope that God would defend him.
Are you facing persecution from those who don’t love God? Sometimes it is subtle; we choose not to participate in someone’s gossip or negative conversation, and they respond by talking about us behind our backs. Or maybe we take a stand for biblical truth, and others call us judgmental or hypocritical. Perhaps we have gotten so busy that we skipped our quiet time with God for a few days, leaving us distracted from His presence and vulnerable to Satan’s schemes.
These examples may not seem too serious, but they can cause us pain. The truth is that if we will make God first in our lives through our love for Him, demonstrated by our obedience, then God has our backs. He will defend our cause and show us His love and faithfulness.
And all that stress that we feel because of so many obligations and responsibilities? I truly believe that if we put God first in our lives, He will give us grace and favor to move through our day with peace.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).
So what does putting God first look like in your life? For me, it means spending time with the Lord as soon as I get up. That time with the love of my life is non-negotiable. Numerous activities and plans can fall by the wayside during my day, but not my quiet time with Jesus.
I encourage you, if you don’t already, to set aside time at the top, head, beginning of your day to make Jesus the first and most important thing in your life. This decision will do two things for you.
First, you can ask God during your time with Him to help you prioritize your day. Trust me, He can do that. He can also remind you of obligations you may have forgotten.
Second, because you seek Him first above all else, He’s got your back. That’s not to say that when you don’t seek Him, He doesn’t have your back, but I do believe He is much more likely to respond to the cries of those who seek Him and seek to please Him.
A friend just shared with me an application for smartphones called “First 5” by Proverbs 31 Ministries. This app allows you to set your alarm on your phone and then be awakened with music and a 5-minute devotional before you even get out of bed. What a great way to start the day!
Busy, stressed, and feeling anxious? Persecuted and harassed by the enemy? Here’s my prescription for the day:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.