We tend towards thinking of our lives as divided into several areas or compartments. There’s money and relationships and faith and education and work and many more. We feel that we must address each one independently of the others in order to fine tune and perfect or maximize our life. But is it possible to address one thing that will impact them all?
Martin Luther taught that if we kept the First Commandment we wouldn’t break the other nine. Why? Because if we have no other gods besides God, if we worship him and him alone, everything else in our life will fall into place before him. Everything from our work and rest, through our relationships and marriages and families, to our finances and possessions will work or function as it should.
“Seek first the kingdom of God,” Jesus said, “and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30)
If first things are first, then seconds things can be second. But if second things become first, then we lose the first and, with it, everything that follows from it.
Our loves are ordered from the top down. And at the top is God. It is in him and from him that all things flow and come down, that all things are rightly ordered and held together.
Out of the abundance of the heart come our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions; it is the source of all our activity and activities. When our heart, the fountain of our life and living, learns to rest in and orient itself around God, then our heart comes to be refreshed and renewed and centered. As a result, “the springs of life” can flow from it freely and unhindered (Proverbs 4:23) and our whole life can flourish. And if the springs are proceeding from a right or clean heart, the heart is determining and setting the right direction for the flow: towards God.
Our life can be integrated and not divided; our heart can find its resting place and not get wearied out; our activity can be focused and not blurry. To love and to seek God is to be becoming like Jesus in every way, throughout every part of us. To be conformed into the image and person of Jesus Christ is to be and to live like him in every area of our life by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need not become overly anxious or worried over any one particular area of our life. In Jesus is our good, the whole health of our entire heart and life. He is our good, our health.
The “secret” to bearing fruit in each area of your life is to abide in him—to give yourself to him. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). The desirable, practical outworking and growth of each area is, at the root, the result of your heart drinking and delighting in him.