What Does ‘Putting God First’ Really Mean?

What does it really mean to put God first in your life? Perhaps, to answer that question, we might begin by answering from a biblical perspective. In Deuteronomy 6:5 we find these words, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Quickly review Exodus 20:5-6, “You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.”HCSB. ‘Them’ refers to ‘other gods.’The first order of the day is to love God primarily as the first 4 Commandments tell us and the remaining 6 are a result of obedience to the the first 4.
We cannot love without first loving Him in the Person of Jesus Christ for in Him we are a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”2 Corinthians 5:17–21 HCSB. What we are now able to do is to love as He loves because we are in Him.
Because we are ‘in Christ’ we will follow Him and not the desires of our hearts. John writes in 1 John 2:3-6, “This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.”Verse 6 is the operative phrase which simply tells us that Followers of the Christ will walk as Jesus walked. This is not as difficult as one may think. Remember that Paul spoke of his ability to accomplish difficult things, “I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13. His strength to endure and accomplish is found in Christ Jesus. We also know that our relationship with the Christ has foundation in two inseparable stones of spiritual truth: “For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” Galatians 2:6-21 and “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you. Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.” You might think that v 18 is the operative statement here, but not so. Vv 15 and 16 introduce the thought of being filled with the Holy Spirit; “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” Followers of the Christ, we must not neglect who we are in Him, but take care of how we walk in Him because our environment is deceitful.
We will love one another and without question, but a lost person cannot love apart from the love of Christ which comes by faith expressed in His grace. Jesus is Lord.

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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