Author: Jen Barth
Undiluted. Unfiltered. I awoke one morning with these two words firing through my mind at rapid speed. Obviously these are odd words to wake up to, so I pondered what they could possibly mean. When I think of something unfiltered, I think gross. Filtered water is life for your girl over here! And when I consider the word undiluted, I think of something that is way too strong. Undiluted and unfiltered. Were these words significant for some reason, or was I just in desperate need of a good cup of coffee?
As I was getting ready for the day, I asked God if those words were supposed to mean anything to me. Almost immediately, this message flooded my heart. If God is my first thought every morning - if He gets my first show of attention and my first words - then everything He responds with will be unfiltered and undiluted by the world. It suddenly made sense.
When I give my first attention to the news, the media, or my to-do lists, it is easy to see how that may water down or confuse what God is trying to say to me before I even began listening to Him! As I sat in that moment of revelation, I felt a sweet invitation from Him - not guilt or shame for the glorious 8 hours of sleep I got that didn’t allow me to wake up early enough for extended time with Him - but an invitation into a secret place of first things.
On the note of first things, let’s talk about the first things we do each morning. For many of us, the first thing we do upon waking up is look at our phones, get ready for the day, or turn on the TV. Or maybe if you’re like me, your kids plan your day way before you can even open your eyes! Imagine if before all those things, we spoke to God or read a promise from the Bible.
Whether you thrive in the morning or cannot form a complete thought until noon, your heart each morning is like a dry sponge, waiting for something. It hasn’t yet been saturated by the world with all the joys and sorrows it holds. What if He was your first thing? There are so many firsts in life, and if we honestly look at them, they just carry something special - different than the rest of the things in life. The Bible says to seek first the kingdom of God and that everything else will be added to us (Matthew 6:33). That’s a pretty powerful promise.
This is my encouragement to you today. Make Him your first focus each day. It doesn’t need to be an hour of prayer - maybe just read a scripture that you wrote down and placed by your bed or on your mirror. You can ponder it first thing and even speak it out loud so you can water your heart with it. Then maybe add a simple prayer. “God, thank you giving my this breath in my lungs. Help me to honor you with it. Keep my heart and gaze fixed on you today. Amen”.
You can pray elaborate prayers if you’d prefer, but don’t put off talking to God because you are short on time or desire in the morning. I personally would love to take an hour reading and praying and just being in His presence, but at times I’ve shied away from doing anything because I couldn’t get in the time that I wanted or felt was substantial enough. The enemy will always tell you that you are not enough or that those 2-3 minutes won’t help you!
Remember the story of the few fishes and the loaves of bread that Jesus ended up feeding thousands of people with in Matthew 14? That is our story, too! He will take what we offer and touch our lives and those lives around us. Don’t believe the lie that a little is not enough. I’ll give what little I have to offer my whole life long, because I believe God is big enough to move mountains with it.
I say this with the utmost confidence: you will need a plan! Any daily discipline that you want to achieve will take a plan and possibly a little prep work. So ask God what will work for you - an easy rhythm that brings you joy and not stress. Let us be women who put Him first - even in the seemingly small things - and watch our lives become streams of living water. Be encouraged today that He is with you, for you, and always on your side. He is a God who fights for you, not against you. Let God shine through you today.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, we ask for your wisdom as we seek to put you first each day. Help us to develop a rhythm that is in step with you. Reveal to us strategic ways that we can engage with God intentionally and on a daily basis. Thank you that you take our limited resources and bring about abundant fruit. We trust you with our time! Amen.
The Anchor: Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.