GOD FIRST – Giving Him the highest place

If we say we are believers in Christ, there is a pertinent question to ask ourselves. The question is – ‘Am I a lover of God?’. You see, when the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is, He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Why do you think Jesus said that loving God with all that we are and all that we have is the greatest commandment? It is because that is God’s greatest desire. He wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind. He’s not a God who will force Himself on us. He is a God who showed us the greatest love of all and with that love gently summons us to embrace Him. That is why, it is so important for us, as believers, to be lovers of God – because it is God’s greatest commandment and more so, His greatest desire.

I love a statement that I’ve been reading for a few years now, here and there – “When people tell me say that I take this Jesus thing too seriously, I say, Well Jesus took me pretty seriously when He died for me on the cross”. It’s true, God, our Father, and our Lord Jesus took us very seriously when Jesus DIED for us. How hard would it be for us to LIVE for him?

So what does it mean to love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength? Loving Him with our everything would mean putting God first in our heart, soul and mind. It means placing Him above yourself, people and everything in this world. The word ‘FIRST’ literally means , ‘foremost in position, rank, or importance’. Is God foremost in all aspects of our lives?

It is so important for us, as believers, to be lovers of God – because it is God’s greatest commandment and more so, His greatest desire.

In fact, in 2 Timothy 3:1‭-‬5, Paul tells Timothy how people who know God might become in the end times. He says, ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.’

He points out at all that they shouldn’t have become and the one thing they should have become. They should have been LOVERS OF GOD. I do believe that since it has been more than 2000 years after Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God, and the end may be nearer than we anticipate.

There is no middle ground – we are either putting God first or putting Him last.

Are we going to be lovers of God by putting GOD FIRST, or are we going to be these lost people in the end times that Paul is talking about? There is no middle ground – we are either putting God first or putting Him last. It is time to check our hearts and lives and see where we’ve placed Him and if we are truly LOVERS OF GOD.

As lovers of God, GOD SHOULD BE OUT FIRST –

1. FIRST ONE WE LOOK UP TO –

The Psalmist knew well where He could find all his answers and purpose. That’s why He says, ‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord , the Maker of heaven and earth.’ (Psalms 121:1‭-‬2).

Who are you looking up to? Your own self? Family? Friend? If you think the creation can be looked up to, how much more the creator?

We shouldn’t become lovers of ourselves and others, rather grow to become lovers of God. And the best part is we always have the creator to go to, who loves us and is ever present to help us, lead us and guide us, as He says in Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

2. FIRST ONE WE RELY ON –

Too often we find ourselves relying on or trusting tangible things (things that give us a hundred percent guarantee of results), yet God calls us to trust in Him, His wisdom, His timing and above all, His omnipotence.

Things of this world like money, people, career, earthly possessions can be here today and be washed away tomorrow, but God is the only one who will remain.

Noah relied on God, that is why when the entire world was washed away, He was saved.

Too often we find ourselves relying on or trusting tangible things, yet God calls us to trust in Him, His wisdom, His timing and above all, His omnipotence.

Let God be the one you rely on first and foremost, because only He remains and only He can save.

3. FIRST ONE WE OBEY –

Have you come across a situation where your near and dear ones tell you to do something, but God directs you differently? In these situations, we tend to quickly obey these close people and disobey God. Most of the time, our own desires stand in our way of obeying God wholeheartedly. Our pride, wicked ways, evil desires and selfish gain. That, however, only goes on to show whom we place first in our lives and in obedience.

Who created us? Who laid down His life for us? Who is everlasting? If the answer is ‘Jesus’, then doesn’t He deserve our foremost obedience in everything in life? No wonder Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 16:24, “…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

4. FIRST ONE WE DESIRE –

Paul pointed out to Timothy that in the end times people will be lovers of pleasure. This is one thing that we see our generation moving into. In fact, living for pleasures has slowly made its way into the church too. It’s not wrong to have a good meal or enjoy, yet when the thing we’re wanting is replacing our desire for God, we know we’re placing the pleasure above God.

King David has realised that nothing on earth can satisfy the human heart, except God himself. So he says to God in Psalms 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”

When the thing we’re wanting is replacing our desire for God, we know we’re placing the pleasure above God.

5. FIRST ONE WE THANK AND ARE GRATEFUL FOR –

Of ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, only one came back to thank Him. You know why? Simply because He knew that Jesus was the one who healed him.

In all circumstances in life, as believers, we know that God is sovereign over us and helps us no matter what. Yet when something turns out for good, do we actually go back and thank God? Do we realise that He is the one who turned our situation around? Or do we go on praising other people and ourselves for what happened?

Let God be the first one we thank and be grateful for because if not for Him, we can do nothing.

In another instance, we find ourselves grumbling over something that God gave us rather than being grateful that He gave us that thing/person in the first place.

Let God be the first one we thank and be grateful for because if not for Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)

In a time such as this, let us be found and known as LOVERS OF GOD, as we put Him first in everything – heart, mind, soul and strength.

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