Quite a few years ago my family built a house. I was very excited to be able to have a house of our own, and design things the way we wanted them (within the restraints of the budget of course). The main thing that I was concerned about was the decor. Anyone who knows me is not the least surprised to know this! I was planning colors, drapes, placement of bookshelves, even before the foundation was poured. I had the new shower curtain and matching accessories purchased and packed away before anything was built. Ditto the new bedroom set and kitchen decor.
When it came time to move in, I was quick to paint and hang pictures. I faux-textured walls and accessorized corners. But boxes remained unpacked and shelves unorganized for many weeks after I did the part that interested me, that part that should have come last.
I didn’t live in that house very long, but I found out later that it wasn’t built especially well. Although I might have lovingly painted and decorated, the walls and floors weren’t all that solid.
My life has been like that house a few too many times. I want to rush ahead to the fun part, the interesting part, the part that I like. I don’t want to take the time to do the foundation work. I want to paint the walls before the framework is even up. I concentrate on the cosmetic, on how it looks – not on what makes it solid and strong.
It’s easy to treat life that way. It’s easy to go to God and say “Please help me have what I need to be happy. Let my life go well.” Whether it’s my health, or being with my family, or what should happen with our future – that’s the paint on the walls. But if the foundation isn’t built yet, there’s nothing to paint. I need to know God, really know him. Know who he is, what his character is, what he wants for me and from me, and how to be truly his child. I need to know that no matter what happens at any time, good, bad, scary, wonderful – God hasn’t changed and my relationship with him is not shaken. I need to let the Holy Spirit live through me and help me react like Jesus instead of like Kim, because Kim doesn’t react so nicely all the time. Only when the foundation is solid, can I paint. Then I can look to him for the color of my life.
This isn’t a matter of time passing. I don’t have to have “X” amount of time in with God before I can move on to step two. It’s simply a matter of priority. If I’m looking for the “decor” first – seeking God so that I can get the job I want, the better house, an answer to a question – then I’m not building anything that can last. If I’m seeking God – period – then I can build something that will be a foundation for all of the other things as well.
(Jesus said…) These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” Matthew 7:24-27 MSG
Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you. Matthew 6:32-33 GW