The Art of Putting God First - Part One
What does putting God first look like for you?
Take a moment (1 minute or however long you wish) and dwell on this question, make a note of it, write it down somewhere if you wish for you to come back to it, but really What does putting God first look like for you? .
To really and truly understand our dynamics in faith, our walk with the Lord, our relationships and interactions with other Christians and even non-believers, we have to build a strong foundation. In Christians circles, doing ‘life’ together as Christians is effectively learning how we live better, fulfilled, purposeful lines as Christians’, and to do that we have to go to the starting point - and that is God.
To navigate anything in life, you need a foundation, and when we apply our faith to our lives, this should be building on a foundation. Our foundation is God, and not just God - but putting God first. Every action, thought, decision we make in our lives needs to be founded on that principle. This is challenging, this is hard, but it’s biblical.
I honestly think, and by all means correct me if I’m wrong, that most of our problems in life, in the Church and within Christendom overall come when we deter from this basic principle – putting God first. We see it in a lot of the terminology around debates in the Christian sphere where there is talk about offending/upsetting other peoples’ convictions – and therein lies the problem. Other peoples’ convictions, sentiments, understanding is presiding over what God says. Now I’m not saying we don’t take this into account – as the Bible says we are to be considerate to our fellow brother/sisters’ journey’s, understanding, feelings (Romans 15: 1-6) however this doesn’t preside over what God would want us to do (Psalm 118: 8-9).
What we will constantly be doing is marrying up what is said with scripture. We don’t ever want to impose personal feelings, we just always want to encourage what the scripture is saying.
What is putting God first?
Putting God first, is putting God at the forefront of how we live our lives.
Matthew 22: 34-40 - 34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”. 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Vs. 37 is one of the most commonly used verses when talking about how we should approach our relationship with God, as it really does summarise how we should approach our relationship with God. Essentially God should be our everything.
We aren’t just to compartmentalise him, but he supersedes everything, if we think of all the components that this verse mentions, the heart, the soul, the mind – these are 3 important aspects of our faith, our spirituality. We are guided by the heart in how we truly feel about anything, we are guided by the mind in how we apply what we feel, and this impacts our soul which essentially our spiritually is rooted in.
So if we are to love God with ‘all’ of these components, not just some, but all – then this means prioritising God with our heart, with our mind, and with our soul. But prioritising doesn’t just mean he’s one of the top 3, it has to be no.1.Wha is my
This effectively drives our communion/relationship with God (a phrase that I will be using a lot, our communion with God – because this relates to a unity with God).
Matthew 6: 33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
It’s interesting that the chapter ends with another poignant verse about our faith, because when you read it, it’s almost like if it started with the verse and continued it would relay – this is what we should put first, and these are the components of that. But it does the reverse.
Take some time to read Matthew 6 as that chapter is really foundational to this topic.
In the CEV version v.33 reads as follows - But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
- I’ve never really looked at Matthew 6 as I did when re-reading it recently i.e. Monday morning – and recognising this whole chapter is literally about putting God first, and doing things for God, or that God can only see etc.
- This chapter goes over giving, prayer, fasting, priorities (Treasures in Heaven), Light, Money and Worry, more than anything else we are to put God’s work first and do what he desires, because the outcome of that is everything else before.
- We can often think well what is my desire my wish, my dream and how can God help me with that? He’s an addition. But instead we are told well actually, God what is your desire for me, how can I do work for the Kingdom and then see an outpouring of the blessing? And that isn’t just working for the Church, it’s looking at our lives and what we do, because that enables the kingdom. – This actually steers more down the road of purpose (which we will be looking at), but it’s a key aspect of building our foundation. What is God’s work? What does he want for me? How can I prioritise that?
To be continued...
Romans 15: 1-6: