Put God First

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Published by Kenneth Garcia

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Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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We constantly struggle with how to put God first in our lives. As Christians, we know by heart the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” As our Creator, he requires that we exalt him above all else.

However, the incessant cares of this world can sometimes cripple our faith. Our selfishness and lack of trust in the Lord overtake us. Left to ourselves and our own understanding, we navigate through life thinking that we don’t need him. But when we face pain and trouble, only then do we remember our dire need for God.

What Does It Mean To Put God First?

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

— Matthew 10:37–38

When Jesus sent his twelve disciples out into the world to share the Gospel[1], he gave them a mission laden with supreme sacrifice and service to God. Clearly, they have to set their priorities on only one thing—teaching the people that salvation is at hand. Their worldly cares are of no moment; they only have the utmost dedication to proclaiming the wonderful message of salvation. Like a hidden treasure, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The preceding Bible verses are filled with intense and heart-piercing exclamations that accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior requires top priority regarding our love and attention. Compliance with God’s precepts is not confined only to the realms of evangelism and discipleship but also to the mere manner in which we conduct our everyday lives.

John 14:15 reads: “If you love me, keep my commands.” Failure to love God above all means that we become unworthy of his name, undeserving of being called Christians. In the pursuit of following Christ, we will make enemies. He said, “You will be hated by everyone because of me (v. 22).”

Are we willing to leave our family because God tells us to serve in the distant land of Mongolia? Can we leave our sinful occupation of drug dealing and crime in the name of the Lord? Are we willing to let go of our adulterous relationships, which have been going on for decades? The cost of following Christ and how to put God first in our lives requires unswerving loyalty, servitude, and sacrifice.

What Is Distracting Us To Put God First In Our Lives?

  • Worldly Concerns

But the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

— Mark 4:19

Upon waking up in the morning, we are often besieged by a barrage of thoughts and tasks to accomplish—things to do and problems to resolve. These concerns divert us from our morning prayers.

Instead of thanking God for taking care of us during our sleep and for all his goodness in our lives, our attention is focused elsewhere. We think about that crucial sales meeting in the office, the overdue rental of our apartment, or that appointment with the school principal regarding the failing grades of our child.

The Parable of the Sower reveals that Christians are vulnerable to earthly concerns as Gentiles seek the world. These worries inundate us, bringing anxiety and depression into our daily lives. As a result, we head to work, full of worries, without uttering a single prayer to God, who guides us and provides for all our needs.

  • Idolatry

Since the beginning of time, our lives have been caught in the battle between good and evil. God often admonished the Israelites for their reckless and idolatrous ways. After liberating them from the yoke of slavery in Egypt, they became discontented, turned away from God, and revered other gods.

They even built a golden calf to worship. King Jeroboam also built two golden calves at Bethel and Dan (1 Kings 12:25–33). Despite God’s love, the Israelites often doubted his overriding love and supremacy.

Today, many of us still harbor “false gods” in our hearts. An idol is defined as “anything that takes the place of God.” We worship money, power, beauty, work, rock stars, other things, and even ourselves. In these instances, Satan reigns with his constant falsehood that we can have all the splendor, pleasure, and riches on earth. We must choose God to make our priorities and paths straight.

  • Family

We all love our families. Loving others and taking care of our family is a noble and direct command from God. There is a motto that says, “Family First,” but “God First” is best.

The Lord requires us to give him our best love, value, and attention. God tested Abraham to see if he loved his son Isaac more than him. In Genesis 22, he asked Abraham to slay and sacrifice Isaac as proof of his utmost faith in God. Abraham did not waver and motioned to kill Isaac. But he was stopped by an angel.

Are we willing to leave our families because we have to serve God in a distant mission field? Do we prefer to spend time with our kids in the mall rather than bring them along to the Sunday church service?

  • Work

Work is an integral part of our lives. God commanded Adam to “till the ground.” Whether we toil in the office, drive a bus, or take care of the house, work is a vital component of God’s intention for mankind. Work establishes our dominion on earth, helps bring food to the table, and ushers harmony into our earthly lives.

But conflict arises when we place more value on work than on God. Many countries in the world have become “workaholic cultures,” where people’s lives and values center on work. No or little time is left for the family or even God.

  • Money

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

— 1 Timothy 6:10

The dollar currency shows the imprint “In God we trust.” Signed into law in July 1955, its original intention was to remind the American people that the nation’s wealth is tied to spiritual faith.

Money is an important instrument in our everyday lives. It is the measure of our honest work and serves as a medium of exchange for the goods and services everyone gives and takes. But we are often misled by Satan into thinking that “cash is king and money is everything.”

a girl praising and put god first

Why We Must Put God First

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.

— Matthew 22:37–39

The Great Commandment, as taught by Christ Jesus, is anchored in God’s love for his most precious creation: humankind. We are made in his likeness, and our essential identity is rooted in the boundless love of God. To love God and to put God first in our lives is a fundamental command of the Lord.

God, in his selflessness, wants to set our priorities right. We have been instructed to serve God exclusively and not to worship other gods. By doing so, we demonstrate our devotion to the one true God and acknowledge that only he alone deserves our worship and praise.

Putting God first means valuing the Word as the ultimate authority in our lives. God’s Word, the sacred Scriptures, serves as our guiding light, shaping our thoughts, actions, and decisions. When we immerse ourselves in the teachings of God’s Word, we align ourselves with his divine wisdom and embrace his path for our lives.

In our quest to put God first, we must earnestly seek God with a heart full of longing. We yearn for a deeper relationship with our Lord, desiring to experience his presence and diligently follow his guidance. With unwavering devotion, we seek God in every aspect of our lives, recognizing that he holds the answers and fulfillment we seek.

When we put God first, we entrust all our concerns to his loving care. We acknowledge that all these things are ultimately in his hands. As the apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”

This tells us to make a deliberate and unwavering decision to put God first in every facet of our lives. By prioritizing our relationship with him, diligently seeking his presence, wholeheartedly loving him, and faithfully serving him, we align ourselves with his divine purpose.

How To Put God First

And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17

Effectively putting God first as the highest priority requires preconditions and preparation. First, we must prove ourselves worthy of his name. Without the true knowledge of God, his attributes, and God’s Word, we cannot arrive at the knowledge of his identity and character. Second, we cannot have an intimate relationship with God if we are ignorant of his laws and commands. Last, we must live a righteous Christian life and hate sin.

Pray

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

— Matthew 7:7–8

Jesus Christ often started his day in prayer. In Mark 1, at the crack of dawn, he made his way up the mountain, where he would find the isolation and quietness to pray.

Prayer is the avenue through which we communicate with our Heavenly Father. Like Jesus, it is best to carve and spend a quiet time first thing in the morning, exalting God first. We also thank him for our lives and all his blessings, ask for forgiveness for our sins, and seek his guidance for the day.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 reads, “Pray without ceasing.” Our daily lives must be charged with sincere prayers anytime and anywhere.

Read The Bible

The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

— Hebrews 4:12

Around 100 million Bibles are sold or given annually all over the world. Yet it remains unread or a mystery to the majority of the population. While prayer is talking to God, reading the Scriptures is allowing God to speak to us, and seeing the number 1111 may be a sign that God is speaking to us. Through Jesus’ words, we learn about his deity, character, and commands.

Meditating on God’s Word establishes a personal relationship with him. He distinctly impresses upon us his guidance and will for the day. We draw wisdom, inspiration, and strength from God’s Word.

Praise And Worship

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

— Psalms 150:6

When we raise our hands to praise God and bow down in worship, we exalt the holy name of our Creator. We are created to worship God—this is our destiny from the beginning of time until we reach the kingdom of heaven in eternity. In the past, our forefathers had to burn bulls, goats, and grains to please God. Today, we possess the capability to express our fervent praise and worship by giving God reverent honor in his holy name.

Attend Church Gatherings

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

— Matthew 18:20

With him as the head, Jesus Christ built the church. When we glorify God, gather to listen to the Word, sing praises, and worship his name, we edify and empower God’s congregation. We pray, draw strength from one another, and bear each other’s burdens. Spending time with other believers is a great way to follow Jesus.

The church is the proper place where we share our personal situations and aspirations with our brethren in Christ. Moreover, we strengthen the pursuit of the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.

Undeniable Benefits Of Putting God First

Divine Guidance

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  

— Isaiah 30:21

If we put God first in the center of our lives, we draw God’s direction and supervision into our midst. His will guides us when we are dealing with big decisions in life, like choosing our spouse or what career to take. He will also show us the right way to deal with mundane things like choosing where to go on vacation or getting the right diet.

When we have God in us, the Holy Spirit resides in us. God will always make clear to us the right choices in life and “direct our paths.”

Provision

Jesus Christ told us not to be anxious about our lives, what food to eat, or what clothes to wear (v. 25). He even declared that he feeds the birds and nurtures all of his creation according to his will.

However, our anemic faith and lack of trust in God block the blessings of God. We are often caught up in the erroneous mindset that we must always rely on our own strength and that God is incapable of providing for our daily needs. But when we recall how many times God has rescued us from disease, hunger, and deprivation, we arrive at the conclusion that God is indeed our great provider.

Divine Healing

I am the Lord that healeth thee.

— Exodus 15:26

When Jesus Christ started his public ministry to share the good news, he used his power of divine healing to draw people to him and display the goodness of God. He cured the lepers, made the blind see, and even resurrected the dead.

Today, we can call on his holy name and gain access to divine healing when we or our loved ones face affliction and disease. Whether we are suffering from a debilitating sickness or experiencing some mental or psychological issue, God’s hand will make us well.

Bible Verses About Putting God First

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

— Matthew 6:33

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

— Proverbs 3:5-6

You shall have no other gods before me.

— Exodus 20:3

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

— John 15:5

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

— Joshua 24:15b
hand and a cross and put god first

Conclusion

Putting God first in our lives is easier said than done. But we are bound to learn God’s precepts and apply them to our everyday lives. We must first prioritize God in all our thoughts, motives, and deeds. Putting God first in our lives is a habit we cultivate in everything we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reads: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Start with the habit of carving out a quiet time for prayer every morning. Meditate on a Bible verse or passage to hear God’s will and guidance.

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