As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I started The Seed Sower column to put into words what God teaches me in the hopes that it may touch your heart and encourage you to seek the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
I’m letting the Spirit guide me as I use my gifts to share what I learn as I walk and stumble.
For those of you who don’t know me, I recently got married to the love of my life. I was blessed with a husband-of-God who serves and worships by my side the Lord God Almighty.
For two years my partner and I did everything together. Work, ministries, volunteering, Bible studies, gatherings, and church. If you didn’t see us together in the same room, it would be weird.
One week before we got married, he told me he was going to leave on military orders shortly after our wedding. Let this sink in.
The man who led me to Christ, the man who taught me how to read the Bible and pray, the man who did everything I asked him to do, the man who went with me everywhere I had asked, the man who kept me company at two in the morning while I worked — that man is leaving me?
How do you live your first months of marriage without your spouse? Isn’t the whole point of marriage to become one? To BE one? At some point, I looked up and I asked, “God, why?”
Two months later, God told me why.
Soon after he left, my commitments started playing catch-up with me and I used them to cover up the pain I was feeling. I got so busy I was never home. I split myself in half just to fulfill everyone’s needs in church, work, and family. On top of that, I was trying to work on my own self-care while trying to go to church and Bible studies and practice prayer.
Have you picked up on my issue yet? Where did I put God?
Perhaps He wasn’t all the way at the bottom of the list, but I admit, He certainly wasn’t first.
The Message to the Church in Ephesus
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. 6 Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
You know the first and greatest commandment, right?
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
And the second?
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
You see, I switched them. I was loving my husband and my people first. And boy did I LOVE … I love passionately which there is nothing wrong with, by the way, the problem is in the order in which you prioritize it.
Whatever you put before God becomes an idol.
Do you get busy? When you make plans, what do you put first? Time for prayer, or dinner? A little getaway trip or church? Let’s get more mundane … Time to clean the house or time to read the Bible, which one do you prioritize?
When God had enough of my sinning, He decided to put 2,500 miles between me and my husband so that I could learn how to put Him first.
For the first two weeks of my husband’s absence, I purposely kept myself busy. Once things slowed down and I had a lot more time for myself, I felt solitude and silence. I felt something was dimming my light. Something was getting in the way of my fire for Jesus. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t know which sin was the one putting me in that state. I went through a rough patch, and nobody knew. Only God knew, and my husband — somewhat.
God was trying to show me the consequence of a particular sin. The consequence of putting somebody before Him. So, He took my "other half" away and left me to feel like I was incomplete and alone. He wanted me to realize the only thing that will ever make you complete is Him.
No best friend, no "love of your life," no mom, no dog, no food, no nothing. Nobody can take God's place in your heart. He is to come first and always will be. The moment you accepted Christ as your Savior, He planted His territory in your heart, and you became His.
I was never actually alone in my room. God was right there waiting for me to acknowledge Him.
He made me vulnerable again. He stripped my heart naked and told me I needed to love Him the same way I loved Him when I first got saved. When the only thing that mattered was that through the shedding of His blood, He had forgiven me of my sins, and I had received the gift of everlasting life. The promise of eternity with Christ Jesus. Praise God. Hallelujah. Amen. That peace that surpasses all understanding had returned to me. My heart began to heal once again. The burdens began to feel light.
You see, God saw my hard work. He saw the toil I went through to serve His church and community, but He said no. He said, ‘you’re not doing it right, you got the order all wrong.’
The problem wasn’t that I didn’t love God, the problem was that I didn’t love Him first. The moment I started to “try to make time for God” was the moment I fell into sin.
I learned we cannot make time and the time we do have needs to be budgeted. As the new year begins, what are your priorities and what are you putting first?