Putting God First
Why do you think it is important to put God first in your life? The quick and easy answer is, well because it’s God! God is all powerful, all important and the being that created us. Of course God should be my number one priority. Although we may be quick to answer along those lines, the reality is often for more cloudy. It is hard to put God first in most things. It is hard to make the adjustments and sacrifices that are necessary. It is hard to trust someone other than ourselves to be in control. So much so, that we often just give lip service to the idea that God is #1 in my life. Living is just easier that way.
There are many different stories from the Bible when people did or did not put God first. For example: On a trip to Jerusalem (Luke 9), Jesus and the disciples needed to travel through the region of Samaria (a place where there were ethnic barriers between Jews and Samaritans). As they approached a small village, they discovered the village closed to them. The villagers wanted no part of them. The disciples were horrified at this lack of respect and personal offense. Their response? They wanted to destroy the place – literally with fire and brimstone. Jesus rebuked them. He instructed them that this was not what he was about. Why did the disciples want this to happen? Because they were hurt and offended (legitimately, by that cultures standards). Their pride and God’s honor demanded it (or so they felt). They wanted to put their pride, their dignity, and their plans over what Jesus desired from the situation. Thankfully Jesus intervened or there would have been a lot more hurt, pain, and ethnic hatred. How often do we put our own desires, pride, or sense of honor first over God? When we do, we often get into trouble. Situations go from bad to worse. Forgiveness is hard. Turning the other check is hard. But this is what God desires. When we put ourselves first, often we make situations far worse, not better. Instead of healing, there is deeper hurt and hatred.
I am often taken aback at how much anger I hear from people nowadays. It seems like so many of us are enraged by offenses (real and imagined) that have been done against us. And we want those who disagree with us punished, hurt, maimed, or removed from society (or at least removed from their position in it). Living with anger is not what God desires for us. God’s greatest desire for us is to experience God’s grace, forgiveness, and love. God’s second greatest desire is probably us helping others to experience God’s grace, forgiveness, and love. Putting God first means putting God’s desires for our lives first. We need to put God first in our lives not to show that we are great Christians, but because when we don’t our lives are worse off.