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#609 - "First" by Lauren Daigle
Lauren shares the way making Christ and His kingdom a priority banishes fear and anxiety.

Jesus assures us in Matthew 6:33 to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Christian music fans were first introduced to American Idol alum Lauren Daigle as she sang the gorgeous harmonies on Centricity label mate Jason Gray's hit single "Nothing is Wasted." Then we were treated to her original Christmas song "Light of The World," her hit title track to her debut EP "How Can it Be" and her song "Come Alive (Dry Bones)," which have all been featured as behind the song devotionals.
Her debut full-length album How Can it Be has been preceded by Lauren Daigle's worshipful and powerful title track which has resonated with me since I first heard the song. The song is an excellent depiction of the sacrifice and unmerited grace of our Advocate and Redeemer, and it serves as a gorgeous offering to our Savior Jesus. 
What's especially cool about this album is how Lauren Daigle invites listeners into her life by sharing what's on her heart while worshiping God with every single note. Opening track "First" beautifully sets the tone for this masterpiece with Lauren's signature powerful and emotive singing style. I had the chance to speak with Lauren about the song.
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

The background is that it was the crunch time of recording for the album. We were about to go in on a Monday to record all of the songs, and we had a meeting on the Wednesday before about which songs we were going to record, and the Holy Spirit was speaking to me that I wasn't done and we needed something else. I could feel it.
It was Thursday, and I had a co-write on Friday, and it was the last one before recording the album. I was restless and felt like God had something more, but I didn't want to compromise and was ridden with anxiety, which was horrible. I took a nap because I couldn't even focus, and when I woke up someone had messaged me on Instagram the Matthew 6:33 passage. Here I was completely anxious, and I read that whole chapter, and Matthew 6 is all about "do not be anxious." God clothes the lilies of the valley, and provides all that we need. "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all of these things will be added unto you." His provision, His glory, and all these things we long for.
It was like God was gently encouraging me and positioning me to a focus that it isn't about a single or numbers— it is all about His Kingdom. In that moment I cried out to God and started dancing in my friend's apartment. I was so excited, and I knew God was going to do something. He gave me such peace in that moment and foreshadowed what the co-write was going to be like. That was so much of God's sovereignty. We don't ever have to fret or worry or toil. We just have to rest. God takes care of it all. It is His Kingdom that is the main focus.
I went into the co-write, and my friends who I was writing with had come up with song titles, but wanted to know what was on my heart. I told them about Matthew 6:33, and Mia Fieldes starting laughing and said "That's perfect, because a song title we came up with is 'First.'" We knew God was up to something in our midst.
That's how this song was written, about seeking Him first over our needs and desires, positioning our hearts before Him, letting Him rule and reign over all things. That's how the song came to be. It was the first song we wrote this calendar year, based on "Seek first the Kingdom," and it is the first song on the album as well. Kind of cool.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Matthew 6:32-34 (VOICE): Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don't realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.
Philippians 4:11 (VOICE): I am not saying this because I am in need. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances.
Romans 2:29 (NLT): And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
Deuteronomy 30:6 (VOICE): The Eternal your God will cut away and circumcise the hardness around your hearts and your descendants' hearts so that you'll love Him completely, heart and soul, and you'll live.
What is the takeaway message?

Concerning fear, that's something God has been walking me through so much lately. We all have our own pressures that the world throws our way. I live under the pressure of perfectionism that I put on myself. I've seen that play itself out in my relationship with the Lord as well. When big decisions come up, I get nervous.
He has been showing me that His character is not harsh towards me as long as I'm seeking Him first, and that whatever He desires for me is what I desire for myself as well. I was talking about this with some friends, and I think I've brought the pressure of my perfectionism into my relationship with the Lord. Someone said "I think God is more concerned with you than His path for you." That changed a lot for me. When we seek God first, we find His character. I was reading in Psalm 145 about how God is compassionate and slow to anger, and that His hand is for you, and He gives you food at the right time. How can you fear when that's the God that we serve? How can fear get muddled in the mix of that?
My friend told me my lack of decision making is rooted in fear. She said it was the fear of man, the fear of failure and the fear of disappointment. Perfect love casts out all fear. When you understand God's love for you, fear has no place anymore. That began the quest of figuring out what part of God's love I'm not grabbing ahold of.
When we are finding our identity and security in Him and constantly seeking Him first, His desires first, His will first, His character first— when we are found in that, nothing else can come and takes its place. Fear can't come and survive because His love pushes it out. God's perfect love is what we need to focus on. Stay focused on His Kingdom. I started finding my identity in His love, and that has helped me get over my fear of man, my fear of disappointment and my striving for perfectionism.
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You
I want to seek You
I want to seek You
I want to keep You
I want to keep You
More than anything I want, I want You
Before I speak a word
Let me hear Your voice
In the midst of pain
Let me know Your joy
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I speak a word
I will bring my heart
And seek You
You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before

You'll be raising your heart and hands in worship along with this great new song. I hear in Lauren's stellar vocals a sincere yearning for Jesus and thankfulness in her heart for God's mercy and grace. I'm completely convicted by the strong lyrics and find immense comfort in this song filled with biblical truth.
The Christian life is about making a decision to live for Christ and not for myself.  I want to run the race for Christ and not live for the world. Do you have something you are seeking that is of this world? It is convicting and comforting to know that God doesn't want us to be anxious about anything or have fear or worry. The key to the freedom from those things is to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness," which this song beautifully captures.
Matthew 6:34 reminds us, "So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today." Being married for 20 years and having 3 daughters, I've seen how both women and men deal with the fear of man and the fear of failure and disappointment. We strive too often in perfectionism. The answer to that is found in Romans 2:29: "And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people."
Lauren's tender vocals take you on an emotional journey that gives me goose bumps every time I hear this song. This can be gorgeous background music, but don't miss out on what Lauren has to say. I can't get enough of the Matthew 6:33 inspired lyrics: "Before I lift my cares, I will lift my arms, I want to know You, I want to find You in every moment, Before I bring my need, I will bring my heart and seek You first." Make these words your prayer: "You are my treasure and my reward, let nothing ever come before." Amen to that!
(Listen to the song here.)


NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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