My friend Jennifer Yates is sharing today about how she went from mediocre Christian to passionately in love with Jesus again. Her brand new book, Seek Him First, shares exactly how we too can put Christ first in our lives and experience intimacy with Him. Here’s Jennifer…
Fifteen years ago, I was a mess.
I was a Christian, attending church, and raising a family, but my life was characterized by stress, impatience, marriage problems, and discouragement. I loved the Lord, but I was struggling to make the Word in my Bible flesh out in my own life.
When I first became a Christian, I began to read my Bible and pray every day, but soon life got in the way. Once I got married and had children, days would go by without my doing more than whispering a prayer on the way to work.
I would show up at church on Sunday and feel guilty because I knew I hadn’t really spent time with the Lord as I should have. Then the temptations would come, and I would be too weak to resist. Pretty soon, I was making excuses for the sin in my life, and I was nowhere near where I should have been in my relationship with the Lord.
I began to grow cold in my relationship with God, and everyone around me suffered for it. The truth is that without daily time with Jesus, not only will we stop growing, but we will also begin drying up spiritually. We will start to lose our spiritual fervor and make excuses for sin in our lives.
Decisions will be harder, life will seem tougher, and everything will become a struggle. I’m not saying every trial and struggle is a result of not seeking the Lord. Certainly we face trials, just as Jesus said we would because we live in a fallen world. But our attitude and perspective is different when we are not following closely to Jesus.
It was at a time just like that one that I decided I had nothing left to lose. My marriage was in chaos, my heart was not right, and my life lacked the joy and peace that I knew I should have in the Lord. I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me.
“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears” (Psalm 18:6).
I began to read devotions and books that touched my heart and inspired me to once again spend quality time with the Lord as I once had.
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:4-5a).
I was so desperate for a change in my life, that I decided I would make a commitment to seek Him first every single day—no excuses.
My life was radically changed.
See, I thought all my problems were because of other people in my life, but God began to show me things I needed to change. It wasn’t easy, but day by day I began to grow and mature in my walk with the Lord. My marriage relationship improved, because I took responsibility for the things that I could change, instead of waiting for my husband to change. I also began to develop more peace and patience with my children.
Then as I grew, the Lord began to fill my heart with a passion and desire for more of Him, for making disciples, for worship and the Word, and to be on mission with Him.
I realized that there was more to salvation than getting a ticket to heaven–God desired to radically change my life from the inside out. That’s His desire for each of us. We can have as much of the life of God in us as we are willing to surrender of ourselves. We can have as much of the life of God in us as we are willing to let Him have His way.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
My life hasn’t been perfect since that life-changing decision to seek Him first, but my heart has been forever changed as I have fallen in love with the King of kings.
I began to notice that when my friends had problems, my advice to them would always be the same: set aside time every day to seek God.
No matter what our issues in life—physical, emotional, financial, relational, social, mental, or spiritual— we can find the direction and answers we need by seeking God.
“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:10).
Jennifer Hayes Yates is a wife, mom, and empty-nester who enjoys reading, writing, and drinking coffee, especially while hanging out with friends. Having taught in Christian education for twenty-two years, she has a passion for communicating the truth of God’s Word to anyone who will listen.
Jennifer now writes a weekly blog, is active on social media, and is working on her third book. She’s serves in her church as a Sunday school teacher and music director, and leads a small group of awesome ladies in Bible study at her home.
She doesn’t have any best-sellers or writing awards yet, but she’s seeking to glorify God in all she writes and make a few disciples along the way.