Graham was walking me through the notes from his church retreat. They were talking about things they prioritize ahead of God and Graham replied, “Sports and school for sure.” I asked him what he would need to do about that and he said, “Read my Bible more.”
“Graham, I don’t know if you can ever read your Bible enough to make you love God more than sports. I’m just being honest.” Mostly because on our own, I don’t know if we can sustain that.
Reading your Bible more won’t hurt. It’s a really good idea. But what I think will be lasting is to ask God to position Himself ahead of those things in your heart.
This isn’t just a little kid issue.
I emailed with a guy this week who looks to have the world at his fingertips, and he could…if he would ask God to take first place in his heart.
Why is he so scared? Why are we all so scared?
Do you know why I was scared? Because I thought I wanted those things more than I wanted God and I didn’t want God to take them away.
Does little Graham want to play in the NFL or does he want God? Uhhhhhhh….he wants to play in the NFL. Obviously.
Did I want a family and a job that I loved and success, or did I want God? I wanted a family, job and success. Obviously.
Does my friend want the fun life or God? He wants the fun life. Obviously.
If we want those things to be rearranged, we need to ask God to position Himself ahead of the things we think we want. We are going to have to ask Him to help us hand them to Him.
I thought when we surrendered the things and said, “God, You take first place,” God banished our dreams. No family for you. I am first. No sports for you, little Graham. I am first. No fun for you, friend. I am first.
That is not the voice of God. That is your fear speaking lies to you, keeping you from surrender.
God doesn’t take things away and throw them in the fire and then cackle as He watches them burn. Evil does, but not God. God holds our dreams, crafts us and then gives them back better. Better because they no longer own us.
I know because I have fought through this with God.
- He asked for my kids.
- He asked for my dreams.
- He asked for my fears.
- He asked for my passion.
- He asked for my leadership.
- He asked for my voice.
- He asked for my planning.
- He asked for my future.
- He asked for our finances.
- He asked for my husband.
Let me whisper to you the secret: when we hand the things over to God, He hands them back better. I promise.
In each thing, God never took it away, but He did take its hold on me. He gave them back a bit different, and with freedom.
What does that mean?
This is what it looked like for me. When I handed Samantha over to God when her heart was failing, thinking it was for eternity, God gave back my kids in a way that I trust Him with them and am freer from worry over them because I have handed them to Him and God’s hands are trustworthy.
When God took my plans for the future, thinking mine was very dim when my memory was failing, He gave me back my future but with a heart willing to say, “God, whatever You want.”
I see Him doing that over and over in thing after thing and it’s resulting in freedom.
I asked Graham if he puts God first if God was going to take sports away. While Graham said no, I think that’s something we need to be whispering into our kids so the lies of the enemy don’t grasp their hearts.
God asks for everything, but what He gives you back is new life, and you can trust Him for that forever.
God is not going to take away the life you want. He is going to renew your mind and align your heart with His and this will bring life to the places you never dreamed could be restored.
Just because Graham puts God first does not mean he will be playing football in the Super Bowl someday, but it does mean he will be living in the favor of God. It means he will work hard and trust God with the results because those are ultimately God’s anyway.
It’s not the easy way. It is the best way. It’s the way the truth and the life.
I promise. Even better, God does too.