“Christianity is a preposterous faith”, says Donald McKim, because it asks us to live backwards. Preposterous has two parts: a prefix pre- and then the word posterous. Posterous is a Latin word meaning “that which comes after.” The prefix pre- means “before.” Jesus asks us to put some things before other things that come more naturally to us when he said to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Pray for your enemies? Turn the other cheek? Give to God first, not if there is some leftover? Who really believes actions like these will give me my best life now? That is preposterous! Or is it?
The important thing is to constantly seek to do the things God wills, which often seems backward to the human mind. The things most often worried about such as food, clothes, and our very lives then will be added or given to us when with God’s help we do things God’s way.
It is not a matter of working hard enough to be good enough to merit God’s favor. No matter how hard we work at being good, compared to a holy God we never will be. The good news is that God will make us more like Him, he will give us “his righteousness” and add “all these things” when the most important thing to us is him.
To “seek first his kingdom” does not mean first in time but rather first in importance. It is not enough to give financially before we pay any bill or to start the week in worship. Jesus says love me enough to make being in my presence with others Sunday morning more important than sleep, rest, sports, or job. Do we love Jesus enough to help our neighbor buy groceries rather than buying that ice cream cone?
Such laser focus is a learned trait. Start with a clean slate which means clear your desk if you start something for God at your desk, clear the refrigerator of dessert if God is calling you to lose weight, or clear out the cigarettes from home, car, and job site if trying to be healthier this year is a goal.
Be intentional. That is more than setting a goal. It is a determination to do it, not just want it done. A plan must follow God’s direction and your intention. Break the goal down into steps on paper or on your electronic device. If you plan to lose thirty pounds this year, how long do you plan to take to accomplish? How many pounds each week is that? What must you eat less of each day in order to lose that many pounds each week? You get the idea.
Finally, place yourself in the best setting possible to accomplish the goal God is calling you to. For example, if the goal is to exercise more will it be helpful to put yourself in a gym? If it is to pass the CPA exams is the library a better place to be than the coffee shop?
God rarely works as quickly as we want. Do not give up. Trust him and his promise that “Happy are all who honor the LORD, who walk in obedience to him”. It is not preposterous. It works!