Making God Our Top Priority By Derek Long

      God expected the Israelites to be completely loyal to Him and Him alone. He told them, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, our of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord you God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:2-5). In the New Testament, God continues to expect us to put Him first. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). God must take priority over family responsibilities and even ourselves. Luke 14:26 says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”          How can we make sure we are making God our top priority? Let’s examine a few areas where we need to examine our actions and determine if God is being placed above all else. We will not willfully forsake the assembling of the saints and times of worship if we are putting God first. The Hebrew writer instructs us, saying, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). When we put other
things before assembling with other Christians to build them up and strengthen them, it is an indication God is not being put first in our life. If we allow family activities, work
responsibilities, recreational pursuits, etc. to stand in our way of assembling with the saints, we are not putting God first. God instructs us to partake of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), give of our means (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), sing to one another (Colossians 3:16), pray collectively (1 Corinthians 14:15-16), and hear His word be taught (Acts 2:42). If we decide something is more important than obeying these commands of God, then we have decided not to put God first.
      We will not neglect to pray if we are putting God first. The Bible teaches us to “pray without ceasing” and to be “continuing steadfastly in prayer” (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 12:12). How often do we pray? Do we simply pray when we go to bed and before meals? Is prayer a common part of our life? A failure to pray may indicate a lack of trust in God and an arrogance which thinks we can handle things on our own. Prayer is a means by which we can cast our cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7) and deal with anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7). How often do we feel overwhelmed in life and think we have to handle the situation all by ourselves? If we are not an individual who is given to prayer, it is a good indication God is not coming first in our lives.
      We will be diligent in studying the word of God if we are putting God first. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Do we go days, weeks, or months at a time without picking up our Bibles to study them except when going to services? If God is our top priority in life, learning about Him and discovering His will for us will equally be important to us. Let us, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2)! We will spend our time in carrying out God’s will if we are putting God first. If God is first in my life, I will make time to speak to the lost about the gospel (Mark 16:15). If God is first in my life, I will find time to help restore the lost (James 5:19-20). If God is first in my life, I will find time to visit widows and orphans in their trouble (James 1:27). If God is first in my life, I will help bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). When God is not first in our lives, our time will be spent entirely on ourselves. We will do the things we want to do. We will spend our time living for pleasure and entertainment. A great way to tell where our priorities are is to look at what we spend our time doing! Hopefully we will all examine our lives (2 Corinthians 13:5) and if God is not first we will put Him first in the time we have left upon this earth!

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