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What Does it Mean to Put God First?


Life is about choices. Choices are about prioritization. Putting God first means giving God priority in my life. So how do I do it? What does it mean to put God first? I took the acrostic F-I-R-S-T and I'm going to give you five ways to put God first in your life.

F – I Put God First In My FINANCES

Put God first in our finances.

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. We spend most of our lives trying to earn it, spend it, save it and protect it. 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 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. If we're out biking, say "Lord, thank you that You gave me legs to peddle with and thank You that you gave me stamina that I wouldn't have had if it weren't for You." Everything we do with an attitude of gratitude puts God first in that area.

You can tell what a person's priorities are by seeing what they get excited about. What gets you excited? 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.


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.  

Those of us who are parents, let me ask who or what type of people are we exposing our children to? Who are we inviting into our home? If we're serious about building strong values in our kids then we ought to be inviting people over to our house who model the kind of behavior we want our kids to have. If we don't provide models for them, they're going to get it from TV or online. Same thing for adults. That's why we ought to be in a small group. We get to know and do life with other people who love God and are following him.

The truth is if we really want God first in our life there are some relationships that are dead wrong for us.We need to choose our best friends carefully.

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. He doesn't ask us to do more than we have time to do.

Make a daily appointment with God. If God is going to be first in our family, in our life, we need a daily appointment with God. It doesn't matter when we do it. We just need to do it. Ten, fifteen minutes. Maybe we get up fifteen minutes early, drive to work and before we go into the office, we sit in our car we read our Bible and pray and talk to God about all the things we've got to do and ask, "What do You want me to do?" Have a quiet time.  

Even Jesus felt the need for daily prayer. If He felt the need for it we need it too.  

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." Many people, when they're in a tight situation, prayer is the last resort, not the first option. They do everything they can physically to try to correct the problem then they say, "I guess now all we can do is pray."  Like it must really be hopeless!  

Prayer should not be our last resort, it should be our first option. If we just got undercut by a competitor or slammed by our boss, pray "Help me, God." 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.”