BOOK REVIEW: SEEK HIM FIRST
I was in great distress when I bought a copy of this book online for some $3.11. I was sitting on a bus when I came across the sample copy that I downloaded days before. “Seek Him First” and “Change Your World”- those are the first words I saw and as I continued to read some more of its pages I thought I needed this book to cheer me up in all of the things going on my mind that time and in my life as a whole. As soon as I got home and get connected to the Wifi, I hit the buy this book button. But I didn’t start reading it until about a couple of weeks past.
The book is easy to read. It took me about 4-5 days to complete it along side of course my busy schedule at my job. Jennifer Yates’, the author, story-telling was as if we were talking to each other in person. I could actually picture in my head that she’s sitting in the couch with a lamp beside her every time she wakes up early in the morning for her date time with the Lord. The book has opened up a lot of closed doors in my heart. Without trying to sound so grand, it has indeed refreshed that string of connection between me and Jesus. I even got inspired to add another page to my website dedicated for an "Acceptance Prayer" for anybody who might possibly visit Mr. Ikigai’s website one day. I got the idea from the latter part of her book where she led the reader to this prayer.
Let me try to encapsulate in three (3) general points what I have taken away from reading Seek Him First (SHF), as follows:
IT’S A DECISION
“We all have choices to make everyday, yet many of us struggle to know if we are doing the right thing.”
This was one of the first lines in the introduction of SHF that struck me. I was in great emotional turmoil about a lot of things in my life when my attention was directed to this book. I was questioning myself, my decisions, and God’s will for my life. For a moment I let loose of the fact that God has already made a lot of unbelievably wonderful things in my life, with my family and that He has delivered me from trials after trials all these years. For a moment, if not the first time, I was so afraid of the future. I was so afraid that I have forgotten that future has always been unknown to me but yet I have a God who have revealed Himself to me many times in my life.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33
I was reminded by this book that God wants to be part of my every struggle, my every triumph, and every moment of my life because He is the one who created me. He has not only been giving me courage to face all adversities but He is also with me all days of my life. He was there when I didn’t know if I could begin and continue college, when I needed to get a job, when I was having a lot stress from work politics and many trials that went all behind me now.
“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 fervour and make excuses for sin in our lives... Decision will be hard, life will seem tougher, and everything will become a struggle.”
It finally came to me that being a Christian is not a one time affair. It’s not enough that you know Jesus, and that you have professed in words that He is your Lord and Saviour. It’s a daily walk of faith. You have to have that equal share of perseverance to prove that you don’t just believe in word but you also believe in action.
Back in the days, and even up to now, every time I would have set back from anything in my life, I would always go and wrestle to God. I would always pick up that “this is easy for you” card. In my head, if only God is willing my suffering will all be alleviated in an instance. Or for anything bad that happened to me, it would have been avoided if only God stopped me. The audacity, I know. But yeah, I chose to speak this way to God. Perhaps, this has helped me in the process, for anyway I can feel in my heart that God wants us to go no where else but to Him. And it’s that decision that you have to make every single time. Choose to spend a moment each day with God. Choose to grow not just by yourself but with Him. Choose. Decide.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE
“Salvation is not just about getting a ticket punched for heaven - it’s about knowing the God who created us and living in an intimate relationship with Him while we are here on earth.”
It is very timely that Easter has just arrived and this is the time for most Christian to celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead. A time when we rekindle the stories of the bible, and ask ourselves once again, why didn’t God show Himself to the people who should have seen Him alive in order for them to believe, why only reveal Himself to His disciples and all these millennium-old questions. While reflecting on this book during the Easter break, I also realised that Jesus have revealed Himself only to His people, primarily because they are His people. Why would there be a need for a person to show himself to someone who have questioned Him from the beginning? Not that Jesus was selective but because it is a symbol of special connection, an intimate and special relationship with Him, a new found identity in Christ. This relationship I think more than eternity is the prize that we are aiming for. Ultimately, we want to be reunited and connected to the one that re-opened the gates of heaven as a proof of Himself being the love that we all need.
“Real peace is only found in a relationship with Him. Real peace is the result of surrendering our lives to God and allowing Him to change us from the inside out.”
All throughout SHF, I noticed a great deal of emphasis about having, maintaining, and keeping a relationship with God. And that made sense. It is not very hard to understand that for you to know the twists and turns of something or someone is to spend a good amount of time with it. So next time we ask, where is God, quickly ask ourselves back, where have I been to?
I believe that there is no person in a healthy mind who wouldn’t want to be saved to just about anything - daily life, events, problems, anxieties, or to eternity. The answer is Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him.
“We have so many opportunities to share the Word with others and make a difference in our world. The best way is to just start where you are.”
If you are reading this, please open your heart to Jesus. And when you let Him, share Him to anyone you know who may have the same need for Him as you were. It’s just a matter of moment that through you another life is saved, another life is renewed. Also, don’t look far, think of your family, your friends, your loved ones , the people within your circle, within your reach who may have been waiting for one right moment to know about Jesus. Please allow yourself to be the instrument and that through it that you are making a positive difference in this broken world.
“We must choose - moment by moment, day by day - to make the decision to die to self and allow the Holy Spirit to be our guide.”
As the popular rubber sneaker’s slogan goes, "Just Do It!" And all the rest belongs to Him. He will direct your path, put all the right words into your mouth, and place you at the right moment - all you have to do is let Him, starting now.