November 21, 2012

Putting God First - What Does That Mean?

You may be familiar with phrases like "If you just put God first..." or "as long as they put God first in their relationship..." and "God, marriage, family---in that order..."

So what does that all mean? What does it mean to put God first in our lives? Is there an actual pecking order that we must arrange our lives in, biblically speaking, of course. What are we actually called to do, what priorities are we to make, and what are we to actually do?

Beth Moore has some very thought-provoking statements in her study on the book of James. And when we get to this section of James' epistle (Chapter 5) we start talking about circumstances or feelings and what our responses to those feelings can be, and should be. 

After last week's medical incident with my husband, I was reminded that our health (as much as we see it in our control with how we eat and exercise) is really out of our control! Does anybody feel helpless in your circumstance right now? Really? James 5:13 says if anyone is suffering, he should pray. That's hardly nothing. Other places in Scripture we are told to be still and know He is God, trust in a God whom you can't see, hold your tongue, be patient, count it all joy, submit, confess your sin, rest in Christ, pray. These things that we are commanded to do in Scripture are a long ways from nothing! We are actually far from helpless even when we find ourselves in circumstances completely out of our control! Any of you suffering? He should pray! Anybody happy? Rejoice. Any of you sick, call for prayer. If our response lines up with how we are commanded to respond in the book of James, we are automatically engaged with God - living in relationship with Him. Beth Moore calls this our ultimate health measure - LIVE LIFE WITH GOD.

So is this what it means to put God first? It's not a tricky love equation that puts your family second, or your career or your ministry even. You don't have to keep a timetable recording how many hours you spend in prayer versus how much time you spend chatting on the telephone. There's grace for the times you are convicted later that your priorities may have been a bit off balance. But putting God first means inviting Him into every area of your life. By default, you ask Him to guide you in a situation, by default you praise Him for the good gifts you experience daily, by default you confess your sins when you're convicted. 

Colossians 3:4 doesn't call Jesus number one in your life. It says that He "is your life."

All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" Hebrews 4:13 NASB

We have an open invitation to a divine invasion. (Beth Moore, James study, p 176)
If we're willing, God is our song when we are happy, our escape when we are tempted our hope when we're despairing, our joy in tribulation, our strength in weakness, and our immortality in dying. Ultimately, He Himself is our health. (Beth Moore)


  1. I love this - really thought provoking. You're right - there is such power in taking everything to God - it is fluid and instant, not like checking things off a list, where God is first, and others second, third etc. I'm not expressing myself v well here, but I really loved this and echo what you say.

    I'm interested that you're doing mission in Africa. I always thought that is what I would do- and yet i'm married to a vicar instead, in England. And it is good too,mthugh not as hot :-) Blessings to you!

    1. Hi Tanya, thank you for visiting. Interesting that you always saw yourself serving in Africa, because I certainly never saw myself here. The Lord's plans for us seem to be bigger than we could think up on our own. You can learn more about our family's mission here at MAF, Barber Family if you want. Blessings.