Is God First in These Areas of Your Life?
You were created by God, for God. Until you understand that, life will never make sense.
God says, “I want top priority in your life.” He deserves to be number one in our life because He made us. If He hadn't made us, we wouldn't even be around. Everything we have in life is from God because He's given it to us. He's allowed us to have it.
What does it mean to "not have any other god besides Me"? “No other gods? I thought there was only one God.” There is. The word "god" is written with a small "g". He's not talking about "THE God"; He's talking about little gods.
What is a god? A god is anything that dominates our life, anything that controls our life. Can a career be a god? You bet it can. Can another person be a god? Yes. Can a sport be a god? Even good things that God has created for us to enjoy, become gods if we give them first place in our life. God says, "I deserve first place in your life."
How do you do that, practically? What does that look like?
F – I Put God First In My FINANCES
Put God first in our finances. Let's just start with the most difficult one.
Prov. 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.
God says, “Give Me the first part back and I'll bless all the rest.” God has said that money is the number one test of our priorities. The way we spend our money says what's first in our life.
Deut. 14:23 (LB) "The purpose of tithing is to teach you to put God first in your lives."
What's tithing? God says that the first 10% of all I make goes back to Him. Why 10%? That's just what He said. The purpose is simply to teach us to put God first in our lives. I don't know any clearer, simpler advice to give you as a pastor that cares about you than to say, if you're in a financial mess right now, step one is put God first in your finances. Whatever we want God to bless, we put Him first in it.
I – I Put God First In My INTERESTS
If God is really going to be number one, I put Him first in my interests. That means in my fun times, recreation and hobbies.
I Corinthians 10:31 Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Does that include going on vacation? Yes. We can eat to the glory of God, we can play golf to the glory of God, we can go fishing to the glory of God, we can collect stamps to the glory of God. How do we do that? In everything we do, we put God first. Do it with an attitude of gratitude. You enjoy the gifts and abilities He's given you with a grateful heart. Whatever you do.
You can tell what a person's priorities are by seeing what they get excited about. What gets you excited? That's what's important to you. What do we talk about the most? I know people who can talk for hours on end about other people's lives. But they couldn't talk three minutes about the Lord. If He's first in our life we're going to make God a part of our conversation. We won't be ashamed to talk about Him because He's first.
R – I Put God First In My RELATIONSHIPS
If we want God first in our life we're going to have to choose our friends carefully.
Prov.13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
Why is that? What does who my friends are have to do with God being first in my life? Because we become like the people we spend the most time with. If we spend time with people who take God lightly, we will tend to become a casual believer. But if we spend time with people who are committed and take God and His word seriously we will become a stronger, committed Christian. Whoever we spend time with that is what we're going to be like.
S – I Put God First In My SCHEDULE
Put God first in our schedule, in our time.
Eph. 5:16-17 “Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
How do I put God first in my schedule? I ask Him to help me use my time wisely. We get up, make a TO DO list of things we have to do and we say, "God, which of these things do You want me to do? I have 17 things to do today and I only have time for 5."
How do we select? We ask God to help us. We have just enough time to do God's will. Since God made us, He has a plan for our life. If we find ourselves having more things to do than we have time to do, it means we're doing some things that aren't God's will. They may be good things. But God never puts more on us than He puts in us to bear it up. He doesn't ask us to do more than we have time to do. When we start feeling frustrated and hassled and frazzled it's because we're trying to do more than God wants us to do.
Mark 1:35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
We can get so busy that we forget God. Schedule a daily appointment with God.
T – I Put God First In My TROUBLES
When we face unexpected problems and pressures, when we have a crisis, who do we turn to? God says, "Turn to Me first when you've got a problem."
Prayer should not be our last resort, it should be our first option. Make God our first resort in a crisis. He says He is an ever present help a refuge in time of need. God is waiting. He commands us to turn to Him first.
Psalm 50:15 Call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”