Since the beginning, men have shown rebellion against God’s deepest desire; human well being in communion with Him. Firstly, Adam and Eve decided to put him second and prioritize their own thinking and curiosity against God’s specific and clear instructions. Israel rebelled against God while on the way to Canaan many times; again, they rebelled against Samuel asking for a king, after they had already stood up against different judges that God had put to guide His nation.
The story continues throughout the Old Testament. In the same way, in the New Testament human superiority, desire, strong expectations and blatant blindness led God’s people to refuse the Only Begotten Son, and opening a new chapter, one in which Jesus would carry our sins, and would wipe away our guilt, if we allowed him to do so. Another chance to put God first by obeying and attending His calling.
Although this is somewhat interesting, it’s rather painful to know that after seeing the consequences of our continual rebellion in history, nowadays, we continue to establish priorities others than God. We’re neither better than Israel nor the Pharisees when we pay attention to our inner calling to do things “our way.” Therefore, God’s biggest desire –being mankind’s priority; needless to say, for mankind’s own good- vanishes.
But, how did we get this far? Or even more important, what can we do to fix it? Looking at Abraham’s story we’re able to have a glance at God’s jealousy and strong, human-oriented heart, yet we overlook his fierce desire to be first. We are Abrahams in this era, we’re those who need to go to Moriah and sacrifice our most beloved possessions, we must give in our Isaac. What’s taking God’s place in our life? … Is it social media? Is it school? Is it friends or a girlfriend/boyfriend? Or even, is it church or ministry? These aren’t bad or dangerous things in themselves, they do not harm by themselves, however, when they interfere with God’s space in our life, with His glory, there is a problem; one in which our eternity depends upon.
So, let’s break it down with this core question, what does it practically mean to “put God first?” I have heard many people answer this thought-provoking question with no more than clichés, or fancy statements. Here I would like to –humbly- share some steps that may help you in life that puts God first day by day, please feel welcome to think about your recommendations, and share them in the comments as they may also help others. Well, here we go:
- Establish a clear idea of who God is. It is imperative for us to know the God we worship. Many people fail to give God the correct place because they really don’t have a clear concept of God (if I may say). There’s no better way to do this by learning through His Word; separate a daily time to know God, His attributes and His works in humanity.
- Develop dependence. This is necessary for growth. We need to understand we’re nothing without God. If we put that in practice we’ll have Him occupying the very first spot in our hearts. Work in your spiritual disciplines (praying, reading, fasting) and make them a key element of your daily routine.
- Make him part of your decisions. God is not just someone up there whom we pray to when we need something; like passing a subject in school. He’s rather a companion. When was the last time you consulted God about an important decision? I’m not asking you to consider a prayer asking God to help you decide between what to eat (Wendy’s or McDonalds for example); there is something nice here, those who honor God as first, will make the best decisions because those decisions will reflect a godly character.
- See him in every aspect of your life. What is God trying to teach me with this? That’s a question that should be more present in our mouth. Let’s try it more often. Be aware of God’s work in your life. Think of that anger, that frustration, that denial; see God in there.
- Obey, even when it’s crazy to. Well, there’s no better example than Abraham. We do know in our hearts what’s correct and what isn’t. Don’t let the peer pressure or society shifting standards to tell you what to do, obey GOD.
- Continually assess your heart. What’s ok? What should I work more on? What are my strengths and weaknesses? Why am I doing this? These questions help us see a clearer image of our heart and see how much should it align to God’s character.
- See life events/moments like opportunities to share Him. The church has a calling, which is to preach the Gospel, once we go through the previous steps we are challenged by the Great Commission to share what we know and show others how to live it. Share GOD every moment or chance you have, there’s no better way to put Him first than proclaiming Him and giving Him the credit for the wonders in your own life.
Lastly, I really hope this lengthy post has helped you see this topic a little clear there are things I have easily learned while there are others that took me time to identify. Identify yours; check what God is trying to say through these lines. As a Biblical anchor for this topic, consider Abraham in Genesis 22:1-8, see how God tested his priorities. What is hindering you from putting God first? What are you doing to fight against that? Think, think, think and may the Spirit lead you to evaluate your heart and be sincere.
Written By Alexander Lopez
Bio: Alexander Lopez is UI City Organizer for Dominican Republic, he also serves in his church as a youth worker while he enjoys reading, hanging out with folks and occasionally watch movies.