by Drenda Keesee
A lot of people are looking for something to satisfy them, going from one thing to the next—a hobby, a sport, a new boyfriend, girlfriend or relationship, a car or a house. When you think about it, God has created so many wonderful opportunities for enjoyment. It’s only when material things in life become misplaced in our hearts, our priorities get whacked out and instead of an added blessing, we make them the priority or focus to our own unhappiness.
…Putting Things First
Enjoying things is good and it’s God’s plan. He richly gives us all things to enjoy. God’s design and plan are to share an abundance of things with us as an overflow of His love just as we enjoy giving good gifts to our children.
Interestingly enough, the world goes after money, success, and things (lots of things!), but they will criticize believers and ministers who share the goodness of God in regards to things. They hypocritically call it a “prosperity gospel.” Certainly, the lust for things and the pride of life can choke love for God from the relationship, but if we seek Him first, His desire is to add the things of life to us.
What happens in any relationship when things or self-ambition start to choke out sincere love and a mutual exchange?
We lose our first love.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. – 1 Timothy 6:17 ESV
“He satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:5
Things aren’t to be our source of joy. Hobbies aren’t what we give our life’s purpose to. Go ahead and believe God for things you need and the things you desire, but seek Him first. The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
It’s God’s Spirit that brings you peace and joy. I like to think of the word “enjoy.” I can’t look to the things that give me joy, but if I am “in joy,” in love with Jesus, then I am “in His joy” and can enjoy things secondly.
We’ve all experienced misplaced priorities.
When Gary and I were living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was pregnant with our first child. I had gotten it into my head that having a baby meant I also needed to own a home. We lived in a small apartment with furnishings that looked like they had survived the sixties. The avocado-colored kitchen appliances and shag carpeting really classed the place up! And, if that wasn’t bad enough, our dining room table was a cardboard box I had flipped upside down and covered with a tablecloth.
Our living conditions were bad because they were a reflection of our financial situation. But despite knowing we didn’t have the money to buy a house, I thought a house would make me happier. I told Gary I couldn’t raise our baby on shag carpeting.
I pushed the issue until we were in debt for a piece of property that was barely nicer than the apartment we came out of. And, sadly, it had shag carpet too.
Distraction #2: Putting People’s Approval First
Who doesn’t want to get along with everyone? But that’s different than seeking people’s approval. And choosing the approval of people over God is a guaranteed formula for losing your joy. Seeking people’s approval won’t bring joy—it will entrap you. In fact, anything you seek more than you seek Him and His Kingdom will eventually cause you to lose your joy. When you look to Him first and seek His plan for your life, you’ll have plenty. But do you know He is enough? Living to please people is a trap.
People who truly love you won’t demand you to perform for them. If they’re demanding you to perform for them, they’re in love with themselves, not you. And people who demand you to perform what they want or they’ll reject you are caught in their own trap of insecurity. They can’t truly love you or anyone else. It will always come back to their insecurity, and you’ll constantly need to do more or prove more.
Jesus healed bodies, prayed, ministered, and fed the people around Him. He did incredible things. But as soon as He didn’t say or do what people wanted, they tended to leave Him. Not just a few, but most of them. He even turned to His disciples and asked if they would do the same. But the disciples had seen the other side of Jesus’ ministry–the hardships, the sacrifice, and His deep desire to help people. This all spoke to them and created in them a deeper relationship and commitment to Jesus. Peter asked Jesus (paraphrased), “Lord, where would we go? You are the only one who has the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) They had seen too much to simply look at Jesus purely for what He could do for them. They hungered and thirsted for righteousness. Jesus sought first the Kingdom of God, and His joy wasn’t based on popularity with the people. It didn’t matter what others thought or who left. He was committed to pleasing the One He knew had called Him and to finish His assignment.
Maybe you’ve sought things and it landed you in a world of debt, and today you don’t find yourself any happier, but backed up against a wall. Or maybe you’ve tried to please people and it’s left you feeling alone or betrayed, or like you’re running on a treadmill to keep up with someone’s demands who is never satisfied with you, or that you can never do enough to make happy. There is a Savior from all of the insanity and pressure of this world. He’s offering you peace and joy that you can be truly satisfied with. If you choose Him first—to hunger for His Kingdom—you will be satisfied with a joy that the world doesn’t give and can never take away.
ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
*Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesee’s have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then the irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.