What do you put first in your life? It might be job, education, your football team, your family. Many of you will say “I want to put God first.” But what does that mean? It might mean some sacrificial decisions, perhaps a willingness to give up your job and comforts for full time Christian work.
A lot of the time when we think about putting God or anything first, we are thinking in terms of priorities. We rank order things and some things can come in our list, just a bit lower down and other things sadly will no longer fit on the list.
There’s a risk that if I think about God in those terms then I am likely to think in terms of
- Making sure I get to church on Sunday
- Volunteering a significant amount of my time to church work
- Taking time to pray and read my Bible each day.
There’s nothing wrong with those things per-se but there is the risk that I can compartmentalise my life. Providing I make God number one then so long as I keep Sunday as a sabbath I can fillt he rest of my week with the pursuit of materialism. Similarly, if I put him first with tithing then I may treat the rest of my money as mine to do with as I please and spend on what I want.
Jesus tells us that the most important commandment is that we love God with our whole being, with all that we are. He is quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[b] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might
Putting God first means that he commands an exclusive loyalty which means that there isn’t any part of my life which is outside of his influence and control.
Indeed Moses goes on to say the following:
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Some people have tried to literally follow this with tattoos and inscriptions. However the point we are meant to get is that God’s word should always be on our mind, it should shape how we act and how we live, in effect we should inhabit his word so that we cannot escape it. Putting God first means to be listening to him and trusting him in everything.
It is not that God simply becomes my first priority but that he sets all my priorities. It is not just that I put him first before everything else but that he is involved in everything else. What ever I do, I do for his glory, in everything I do, I seek to obey him.