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Over the years, I have stumbled many times, but I have never stumbled into a relationship with God. It has been built from a series of choices that have cemented God’s position as first in my life. Simply put, I found God when I chose Him. Any volatility associated with our relationship had little to do with Him, and everything to do with me. It took time for me to understand that my losses were also my spiritual gains. It took even more time for me to put into action what it meant to have God come first in my life.
To put God first requires us to purge the value of everything we’ve put before Him so that we know what it means to rely solely on Him. The vulnerability of this process is often what stops us from choosing total surrender. When the realities of walking with God start to set in, we are left with choices. We can knock down the walls we’ve built from the gods we’ve valued, or we can continue to live life as is. Our spiritual growth is counting on us to choose the first option. Whether it be relationships, careers, family, or friendships, anything or anyone that we choose to sacrifice our spiritual morals in exchange for perceived success has become a god we’ve placed before our God.
King David knew what it meant to leave the walls up when he decided to sacrifice a man’s life to cover for his lustful desires. There wasn’t enough mercy to save King David from the consequences of his decisions, which for him, meant the death of his child. (II Samuel 11&12) When our desires turn into gods, they become like prisons where freedom seems unattainable. Our spiritual view is so hindered, we become incapable of living out what God has in store for us. Instead, our choices reflect the selfish desires of own hearts, to the detriment of ourselves and others.
A Lesson from The Nobleman and His Servants
Jesus described this type of sentiment in Luke 19:11-26 when he shared the parable of a nobleman and his servants. The nobleman gave his servants varying amounts of money to do business with in his absence. Upon the nobleman’s return, he asked for an account of their business activities. When he questioned the servant who received the least amount of money, the servant responded that he had done nothing with the money because the nobleman was fearful and collected on money for which he did not work.
What the servant failed to realize was that the nobleman did not come to take from the servant what was originally the servant’s to own. Instead, the nobleman wanted a report on the money that was originally his, to which he entrusted his servant. God has not only entrusted us with His work and blessings, He expects us to exercise good judgement. We can only do that when our actions are in line with God’s requirements. Jesus reminded us in Luke 16:10:
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
Putting God First
God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that in order for us to be successful, we would need to build our spiritual foundation on solid ground. How do we do this? God gave us direct instruction in Exodus 20 when in the first commandment He states that we should have no other gods before Him. Why? Because “no servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:13) We cannot step out on faith and follow God if He isn’t leading the way.
Jesus provided us with the qualities of a person who puts God first when a scribe inquired as to which commandment was the first/highest of them all.
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.(Mark 12: 29-30)
To put God first is to love Him in a way that allows Him to abide in our hearts. If we fill our hearts with trivial gods, we cannot expect to feel connected to God. There is no room for Him to dwell. If we choose to live a life where God is first, then we enter into an agreement where we place God’s will above our own. Don’t let fears, stumbling blocks, or shortcomings be the reason why we do not strive towards living a life where God is first. Choosing God may be the hardest choice we make, but it’s the most valuable.
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