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What does it mean to put God first?

"I'm putting God first," or "make sure God has first place in your life," are common phrases used by Christians. Such phrases are used so frequently that they risk becoming Christian clichés. The idea of putting God first, on the other hand, is far from trite; in fact, it is thoroughly biblical.

Priorities exist for everyone. Our schedules, budgets, and relationships are prioritised based on perceived importance. Putting God first means that we prioritise Him above all else. He is the central figure in our lives and influences everything we do and think. When we choose to put God first, we are deciding that He is more important than anyone else, that His Word is more valuable than any other message, and that His will is more important than any other command.

Putting God first requires us to follow the greatest commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind" (Matthew 22:37). In other words, our relationship with God is completely invested in us. Everything we have and who we are is dedicated to Him. We don't hold back anything.

Putting God first means abstaining from all forms of idolatry: "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21). Anything that takes the place of the one, true God in our hearts is an idol. We must tear anything from our hearts that lessens our devotion to or reverence for God, just as Gideon demolished the altar of Baal and chopped down the Asherah pole (Judges 6:25–27). We must dedicate ourselves as "living sacrifices" to God and thus put Him first, just as Gideon built an altar to the Lord to replace idolatrous images (Romans 12:1).

Putting God first means striving to walk in Jesus' footsteps (1 Peter 2:21). Total submission to the Father's will, service to others, and prayer were hallmarks of Jesus' life. "Not my will, but yours be done," Jesus prayed in the garden, facing unimaginable agony (Luke 22:42). That is prioritising God. The Father inspired Jesus' words, actions, and teachings (John 5:19; 7:16; 12:49). In every detail of His life, Jesus glorified the Father and accomplished everything He was sent to do (John 17:4).

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else," Jesus taught (Matthew 6:33, NLT). That is, we are to prioritise God's things over worldly things. We are to seek the salvation that is inherent in God's kingdom, which is worth more than all of the world's riches put together (see Matthew 13:44–46). "He will give you everything you need" if we put God first, according to the promise associated with the command.

Those who prioritise God over everything else will stand out from the crowd. They will obey God's commands (John 14:15), take up their cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23), and not abandon their first love (Luke 9:24). (Revelation 2:4). They give the firstfruits to God, not the scraps. The Christian life is defined by selfless service to God that flows from love for Him and His people on a daily basis. The believer trusts, obeys, and loves God above all else in everything. When we remember Romans 11:36, "Everything comes from the Lord," it becomes easier to put God first. Everything was created for him and will return to him. Forever, praise the Lord! 'Amen' (CEV).


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