It’s summer. For me, that means no more classes. And no more group projects, no more last minute papers! I was so busy this past school year that it was hard for me to spend time reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, and listening to God. It had to be a priority; I had to make it a priority this past year to focus on God. And it was hard. So ideally, with summer, I should have way more time to focus on God, right? It should be easier now that I am not so busy. However, I’ve found that summer makes me really lazy. I’m finally able to relax after the previous school year and instead of spending time with God, a million other things call my attention like Netflix, reading other books, video games, spending time with friends who are home for the summer… the list is endless. All of this commands my attention, until I realize that, wait, I am completely pushing God aside. I am putting other things first; I am making other things my priorities.
Sometimes I think that spending time with God will just come naturally and automatically in my life. Like I don’t have to put in much effort. However, if there is one thing I’ve learned this past year, it’s that God doesn’t become a priority in my life unless I make Him my priority. A priority is something that is viewed (and treated) as more important than all other things; something that comes before all other things. God wants to be the center of our lives. He designed us for this; for us to worship and praise Him. The first two commandments tell us this. Exodus 20:3-4 states “You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on earth or in the sea.” God doesn’t want us to put anything else before Him. Nothing else will satisfy us the way that God satisfies us. In fact, God says that when we put Him first, all of our needs will be provided for us. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” It’s pretty cool that we serve a God who loves us and wants to take care of us. Putting Him first is the BEST decision we can make. This is all great to think about, and talk about; but it is way easier to talk or think about putting God first rather than actually doing it. I often place other things before God without even realizing it.
So, the question is this: how do we put God at the center of our lives this summer with all of these distractions? For me, making God a priority involves deliberately setting a time each day to spend with God; kind of like making spending time with God a habit. Now, I don’t mean a rigid, ritualistic schedule; but rather intentionally spending time in God’s Word, prayer, and worship each day. When I make the habit of spending time every day with God, He becomes more and more the center of my life. When I make seeking God a habit, my first instinct becomes turning to Him in every situation. He becomes my number one priority; the thing I entrust my heart and soul to. The thing I place my hope and trust in.
I can’t place God at the center of my life by myself. There will always be something else that distracts me. Something else I desire to place before God. But by intentionally seeking Him, I trust that God can do the rest and transform my heart to love and serve Him. God promises and proves to us that He can be trusted; that He will be by our side always.
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Making God a priority definitely requires effort and desire on our part, but it also requires trust in God that He will do the real transformation of our hearts.
Meaghan Couch, Student Leader in Impact Christian Fellowship at IUPUI