Those who have placed themselves under the lordship of Christ are certainly in the minority. If you have acknowledged God’s call on your life, accepting Jesus as your Savior from sin, you have begun to desire to follow God’s design for your life. All your friends might live to please themselves, but you realize that your life now belongs to God. In a sense He purchased you — with the precious blood of His only Son — and you want to live your life to please Him.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.” You see, God first created us to bring glory to God (Revelation 4:11). However, Adam and Eve chose to go their own way, and we inherited their sin nature (Romans 5:12). We are born in sin, wanting to fulfill our own desires. But this is not God’s design.
God wants to be first place in our lives (Exodus 20:3). He is to be our number-one priority, with no exceptions. That means that God is over me. His wishes come before mine. I must choose to go His way, not my own.
This sounds harsh, doesn’t it? I know my natural reaction is to say, “Yeah?! Well, what about my needs?! What about my health? My time? After all, if I don’t take care of me, how will I be able to think about anyone else — including God?”
I don’t think God intends for us to have a self-debasing attitude. After all, He created us and intends for us to care for our bodies, our health, and our genuine needs. However, it comes down to a question of motive. Is my motive for taking a bubble bath so that I can rest my body enough to stay well so that I can please God? Or am I putting my own personal desires ahead of what I know God wants me to do?
Let’s talk about the litmus test of motives: “For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:16).” If I check my motive for actions against the things listed in this verse, I will immediately know whether my first priority is God — or myself!
So let’s get practical. How can we ensure that God is first in our lives?
First of all, realize that our relationship to God spills out into all our other relationships. Only when our vertical relationship to God is
correct can our horizontal relationships with other people be harmonious.
Since we’re talking about a relationship, let’s think about how much time we spend with God. If you want to foster a love relationship with God, of course you’ll spend lots of time with Him. Sometimes I don’t feel like it. I guess that’s similar to how sometimes I don’t feel very loving toward my husband. But I must still choose to spend time with God if I want our relationship to get better and better and closer and closer.
So making God my first priority can be as simple as scheduling a time each morning to read my Bible, His love letter to me. I need to spend time talking to Him, so maybe I should purchase a prayer journal. Or I can learn the habit of staying in a running conversation with Him all day long. God should be first in my finances, so I should learn to give Him the first part of all my income, trusting Him to meet all my other needs.
As God’s importance in my life spills out into my other relationships, I will notice that my family life improves. Why? Because God wants me to consider others’ needs above my own. Philippians 2:1-11 tells how Christ was our example in this. Even though He was God, Jesus became a servant, humbled Himself, and even died on a cross in our place. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” says verse 5.
So making God my first priority means that I will put my husband’s desires above my own, that I’ll have an unselfish attitude toward my children, that I’ll have a non-critical attitude toward my brothers and sisters in Christ, and that I’ll make sacrifices in order to show the love of Christ to a needy world.
Putting God first in your life isn’t popular, but it’s biblical. It isn’t easy, but the benefits are many. It takes discipline and endurance. But “we love Him, becaus He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). As you contemplate God’s great love for you, start to take practical steps that will make Him the number-one priority in your life.
Bible Reading & Study…
- Knowing God — I love these practical suggestions for studying the Bible personally and with your family!
- Listen to God’s Word, online for free! KJV NIV
- Reader’s Guide to the Bible
- An overview of translations of the Bible
- The Bible online in several different languages and versions.
- Want to read through the Bible in a year? Here is the Bible-reading plan I use, with an explanation of why.
- Other good Bible-reading plans are available from the Navigators and from Revive Our Hearts.
- Crosswalk.com has Bible study tools available at your fingertips online! What a helpful resource!
- E-sword is the free software my husband and I use daily in our home. It includes the Bible (KJV and other translations), as well as commentaries, historical church literature, concordances, dictionaries, maps, and more.
- I have learned much about prayer by studying the prayer habits of the Jewish apostles at the time of the early church. Read more about our Hebrew prayer heritage here.
- The Scripture Memory Connection – Helping you hide God’s Word in your heart and meditate on it all day long.
- Look up the meaning of Bible characters’ names in the Hitchcock’s Bible Name Dictionary. This is a great Bible study — you’ll be
amazed at what you’ll learn!