God First, Family Second, Everything Else

God First Hunting season is almost over for most of us, with only a few more weeks left in some of the less popular hunting classes, etc… For a few weeks, months we’ve come home from work and went straight to the woods or woken up early to get to our favorite spot before dawn. We’ve taken vacations and more or less put our lives on hold to be successful in harvesting an animal. We put off times with our family, we neglect chores, we don’t go to church on Sunday because it’s the last day and we want to get that last chance before the season closes. We’ve missed the most important thing that we should be focusing on in our lives. Putting God First, our family second and everything else in life thereafter. We forget that it is God’s plan for us to tag out, or never see an animal cross our paths. Everything we experience in life is his creation, our spouse, our children, our careers, our homes, the world around us is his blessing. “If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead”, (William Law, priest Church of England). Ultimately everything we do should bring glory to him. Romans 11:36 says, “Everything is from him and by him and for him. Glory belongs to him forever! Amen!” Often times we feel overwhelmed with finding our work/life/spiritual balance, we are stressing over upcoming large projects, financial decisions, disagreements over parenting, or treating each other better. We feel as if when there are successes that we are the reason things went well, or a promotion happened because of such hard work, or some bills finally got under control. We need to remember that when we succeed its because of God’s blessing and when we fail we needed to learn something or we needed to take the blinders off and ask God for guidance. A.W. Tozer, (Pastor from Canada) tell us, “As God is exalted to the right place in our lives, a thousand problems are solved all at once. The first commandment given to us in Exodus 20:3 and Deuteronomy 5:7 is, “thou shalt have no other God’s before me.” Mark 12:30 says, Thou shalt love the Lord they God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” Matthew 22:37 also points these very similar words. To love God is honor him, by pleasing him and following his word and example set forth through his Son, Jesus. When we love him first above all us we bring glory to him and everything we do should bring glory to him. Our daily actions, our words, our decisions, our teachings to our children and how we work. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” When we put God first will realize that we are nothing without him and the Lord is everything. We didn’t choose him, he chose us. Everything is because of Christ! A few years back, 2000 or so ago, God came to earth in the form of a man, which he was all God and all Man at the same time. Jesus paid for all our sins to take the pain and suffering of mankind on his shoulders, he paid the ultimate price and showed his love for us, his family in such that we could sit in a kingdom which we are not worthy of. Because Jesus loved us, Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The verse, speaks on the importance of being saved. We like Christ were once dead and we rose with him, to be born again where Christ lives in us. (God chose us). Jesus wants us to use him as the example of God’s Word, pray for guidance, ask for forgiveness(repentance) and bring glory to God in everything we do everyday. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.” The reference spoke of here is Jesus’s example of God’s living word. By doing these things we are putting God first. But if we don’t pray how can God be first in our lives. We are shown Jesus talking to his father in heaven, asking for guidance, asking why he has been forsaken, he talked to God everyday, all day and put him first. He put his church, his followers, his body, his family second. I’m not sure there was much else for Jesus though (there was no everything else which fills in his time). We as followers, disciples, Christians forget to talk with God all the time, we get caught up in our lives, we are reveling in our successes or sorrowing in our failures. Jeremiah 2:32 says,” Does a young woman forget her jewelry? Does a bride hide her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me.” Praise God for being patient with us. We put God first through prayer, we bring Glory to him by loving our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, enemies as Jesus did. When we do this, the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, minds, bodies and soul with God’s Joy, which brings joy to our lives. Finally, concerning love we need to not confuse the hierarchy of love in our lives. We must not put anything before God. We can have hobbies, past times, (sports, tv, games, etc…) however all should be in moderation to leave time for God. Does what we watch on TV, does the music we listen to, do the words we say to our families or friends portray love and bring Glory to God. We often read verses and don’t pay close attention to their meanings in our lives or what they are pointing to. Matthew 10:37-39 says, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Who does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” We too must practice our hierarchy of love, love God unconditionally above all else, love your spouse, your children, your family, friends and neighbors; in that order. Use the gifts that God has given you (find your purpose, pray for guidance, pray for discernment, pray for understanding) to advance His kingdom and glorify His name. Seek to glorify Him in all that you do. Pray for more passion and love for Him. Know Jesus more through prayer, read his word, pray for a greater understanding of the gospel and trust the Lord in all situations. Allow God to be your joy. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” God First, Family second, and everything else in life fills in the blanks. Hebrews 12:2, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He knew he was to die, be tortured, he experienced the pain of all mankind in the past, (before him), present, of his time and the future. Everything we do is for him, because of him and and from him. Put God First, your family second, and fill in the blanks with everything else performed by his example, guided through prayer to him and glorify his name in all things.
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