In the first weeks of the first month of this New Year, I’m thinking much about Firsts. What does it mean to be first? First place means no one is better at our trade, our craft, or our sport. It’s being champions! The Olympics are a month away and every athlete dreams of coming in first in their event and having the gold medal placed upon their neck while their country’s anthem plays (unless they’re from Russia, then only silence). First! We love being the best at whatever we do. However, not many of us relish the hard work and sacrifice it takes to get to first place. Whether trying to make our company first in the industry, seeing our book hit the bestseller list, or our team win the Super bowl; it all takes a willingness to work hard and when things get tough, to be willing to work even harder. It requires a sacrifice of time and talent.
So how does this apply to God wanting to be first in our lives? He says, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). He goes on to say, He is a jealous God. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, He replied, “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” (Matt. 22:27 -28). Does making God first in our lives require effort, sacrifice? Yes! I’m not trying to paint a picture that putting God in His rightful place in our lives requires toil and pain. However, it does require more than just saying God is first, it requires an effort to show He is first. An effort we’re willing to make when we LOVE Him! He wants our commitment from our heart, for Him!
How easy was it to sacrifice time with our buddies when we first fell in love? How easy is it to skip work or neglect responsibilities for a time to watch our favorite sports team compete in a playoff game? Putting someone or something first in our life takes sacrifice of our time, our attitude, our finances, but we’re willing to when we love them. How much money and time do we as a nation pour into our hobbies, our entertainment i.e. movies, video games, sporting events, technology? But we do it willingly, because we love them.
God doesn’t ask for us to put Him first because He’s an arrogant, self-focused God who is needy of attention. He wants us to put Him first because then our life will be blessed. Have any of you noticed how crazy our world is? How do we walk in this world with joy, peace, and abundance without the Lord? We don’t! The Lord is our shield, our refuge! We need to make the Lord first, because it’s the only sure way to true sanity and peace. He’s a God who loves us and loves to bless our obedience.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt. 6:33-34
When we put God first and seek to walk in His righteousness, He WILL meet our needs. “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Will we still have struggle in this dark world? Yes! However, we will have, “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20).
Let’s talk about ways to give God the first and best of us in my next blog…