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Devotions > FIRST

19 Mar 2013


While today is the first workday in this week, God in His wisdom, planned that the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, was to be a day set aside to worship and commune with Him.     Many have come to a place of effectively living as if Monday is the first day of the week.     This may be a small symptom of the growing secularization of our culture in this land.

God is the epitome of eternal wisdom.    He knew before mankind was created that in order for man to have a meaningful life that man would need to be in fellowship with God.    And if man were to remain in fellowship with God , God  must be FIRST.

However, we somehow seem to be determined to master and maintain a “me first” mentality.     Each of us as infants when we begin to talk learned among the first handful of words the wonderfully destructive word MINE.   Of course our heart of MINE is developed long before we could even utter our first intelligible word.    From this very early time in our lives we continue to hold on with a death grip to the mentality of MINE, except as we mature we find more and more clever ways to carefully attempt to conceal our corrupted core that is clearly centered on self.   

God has on the other hand revealed that He is first and we are not.   He has told us repeatedly in His word that He is in control, and our place of peace is one of submission and faith and obedient reliance upon Him.   However, when we insist on being first, when we must be in control and in the front of the line, we find we have reoccurring empty triumphs with the perseveringly paltry prize of anxiety frustration and fear.  

God has told us in His word that He is first and we should have nothing including ourselves before Him.   But we live in a world that is telling us that we can be first.   And further, this world shouts out the outrageous benefits of being first.      Much of the malady of our churches is they are made up of stones that are attempting to secretly secure the sensational spot on top, dead stones seeking to singularly but secretly be first.    What has become of our commitment to submitting to one another and to collective humble submission to God?

We are seeking after many things.   But Jesus said if we would but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things would be added to us.    But we must seek His things first!   So we must decide.    Which message will we in actuality believe?     It is clearly not what we say we believe that counts with God.    Since God looks into our hearts, He is able to see our innermost secret motives.

It was probably on one warm and wonderful day when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.   In essence He said not to try to impress men with fancy words prayed in public places, and not to try to impress God by repeating many words.   Then He clearly said God knows before we ask the things we need.    These instructions were Jesus’ backdrop for teaching the disciples His model prayer.   

As we look at Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew chapter six we see that He clearly taught that we should first be concerned in prayer about those things that concern God.     Jesus gives three simple petitions regarding the things on the heart of God first, and then follows with three brief petitions for man.     Perhaps these represent the main desires of God for the prayers of man and God’s perspective of the main needs of man to be provided by God?

Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB95)
9 "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 'Give us this day our daily bread.
12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

What are the things that God has revealed through Jesus and the Holy Spirit that are high on His list of things we should pray about first.   The first of these first three things is His NAME.     He directed us to pray hallowed be Thy Name.     A brief study reveals that this carries the sense of keeping God’s name holy.  When we pray sincerely in this way we are also committed to personally doing our part to keep God’s name holy, in our thoughts, words and actions.    Are we truly keeping His Name Holy first, the very first thing in our lives?

Jesus goes on the instruct us to pray for His kingdom, His rule, and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.    If we have even a reasonable appreciation for the force of power and wisdom of the Word of God, we must again apply an individual life application to this prayer request.   How are we doing on keeping His rule and His will paramount in our lives?  Can we sincerely ask God to bring these things to pass in our world and at the same time ignore these injunctions in our own lives?

Perhaps the most significant thing we can do to speed revival to our land is to pray after this model and ask His Spirit to strengthen us in the inner man in order that we might live out these requests that Jesus laid out for us to pray.

Luke 11:13 (NASB95)
13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

Ephesians 3:16 (AMP)
16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].

Jeff Williams