We have many firsts in our life. For me I am writing my first post for the Young Calvinists blog. Starting when we are young we have our first steps and first words. As we continue to get older we may have our first day at school, first job, first time driving, first date, first hospital visit, first broken bone, or first death in the family. These first in our lives never stop. We are always greeted by something new. Many of these firsts bring us great joy, but others bring us to sadness and pain. But what do we make first in our life? What do we center our lives around, what is the first thing we think about as we wake up? Jesus tells us, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33).
We are called to devote ourselves to God in our lives. With every first we achieve, or face with fear, we put God first. We must have the mindset of John the Baptist saying in our heart, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). We are to set our minds on God and devote ourselves with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We must be active in the life of putting God first. It is against our natural inclination to put God first, and the devil uses all his tricks to try and keep us from putting God first. Many temptations besiege us, we are faced with the desire to put that great book we are reading, the television program, the game whether sport or digital, our friends, ourself, and so many other things before God.
Thankfully we are not left on our own to live this holy life of putting God first. We are given the Holy Spirit who works in our heart to hate evil and therefore love God. We are also given brethren and sisters in the Lord who admonish us and gently help to point us to the right path again. As we continue to walk in our lives and face new firsts may we always remember that God must be first. To Him alone be all the glory.
When we look at the world there are many things that frighten us. Tornadoes, wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, AIDS, cancer and many other disasters and diseases cause untold amounts of suffering for thousands of people all over the world. Homosexuality and transgenderism are rising in popularity and their advocates are screaming out for our hearty approval and endorsement of their wicked lifestyle, branding anyone who speaks out against it an “intolerant bigot,” “homophobe,” “transphobe” and worse. Feminists cry out for more abortion funding and call anyone who doesn’t jump on their bandwagon “sexist.” Then there are the problems in the church. Many of the same evils found in the world around us are also found in the church. Then there is our own sin. We all have sins of various sorts whether it be anger, pride, laziness or not putting spiritual matters at the front and center of our lives. As we begin 2018, we may wonder, is there any place for refuge? Is there anywhere we can go to escape from these and other troubling thoughts? The answer is yes. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust” (Psalm 91:1, 2). God provides us refuge in the storms of life. “He shall cover thee with His feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalm 91:4). The remaining verses of this Psalm talk about the “pestilence” and “destruction” that rage around us like a tornado, the great wickedness in both the world and the church that seeks to overwhelm us. Despite all of the wickedness and apostasy around us, God watches over us and protects us in His sovereign providence. This doesn’t mean that life will be an easy, affliction-free breeze, but it does mean that somehow, in some way that we won’t always completely understand, He is working all things out for our good. We’ll still get sick, lose our jobs, break bones, and maybe even have family members or friends turn on us and leave the church. There will be great pain in our lives, but when we look by faith at what God has planned for us, we know that He is watching over every step we take and that when we feel alone, He is always there to guide us. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord which made Heaven and Earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2). May God grant us this comfort in the year that lies before us!