Putting God First in Today’s World

The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about following God’s will. It kind of goes without saying that to follow God’s will, we have to put God first. But what does it really mean to put God first in the modern era? The Bible calls on Christians to put God first and to live out Jesus Christ’s commands to love the Lord and love others. It can be complicated considering the chaotic and busy nature of life. Putting God first must be a daily choice.

Wake up – Choose God
Go to Work – Choose God
Having a Good Day – Choose God
Having a Bad Day – Choose God
Bored – Choose God
Happy – Choose God
Sad – Choose God

Well, you get it.

Proverbs 3:6 says, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success,” and 2 Corinthians 5:21 adds, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” When we put God first, we live our lives with the purpose of pleasing God, following His will for ourselves and obeying by His commands and the Holy Spirit’s direction.

It may not always be easy to put God first, or you may not know where or how to start seeking Him first day to day. Quite simply, it takes actionable steps. Here are a few thoughts on where to start.

  • Start Your Day with Prayer

This cannot be stressed enough – The Bible makes it clear that prayer is essential. Begin each day with a prayer to God, thanking Him for another day and asking for guidance to cope with the ups and downs that are sure to come. Starting the day with Christ is the best way to put God first. Be sure to ask Him to be with you as you move about your day, so you can continue to feel His presence in your life.

  • Create a Verse Card

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Another step toward putting God first is to take the time to write out a Bible verse each day on a sticky note or index card. Posting this verse around the house or putting it in your pocket, wallet or purse is a great way to keep truth close to your heart. No matter what your day brings, having the Word of God close to you can remind you to seek God at multiple points throughout your day.

  • Journal Your Faith

As you navigate the Word of God, consider journaling your thoughts, prayers and reflections. Sometimes this helps you better understand the Kingdom of God and helps keep your faith in check. A journal is a wonderful and private way to speak to God. Setting aside as little as five to ten minutes to journal and talk to God is a great way to reflect on the day, or to set up your day for success. This can also be combined with a prayer journal.

SIDEBAR: One journal can serve a multitude of purposes. You can journal your faith and your questions, talk to God, write your prayers and keep track of verses you choose to meditate on. And, at night, log your gratitude.

  • Subscribe to a Christian Podcast

    It can be complicated to understand Christ’s love on your own. Podcasts are a wonderful way to learn more about Christ, to deepen your understanding of Scripture and to learn more actionable ways to live out God’s love.

  • Play a Morning Sermon

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27 (NIV)

Sometimes it’s hard to find time to infuse truth into the morning routine, but with countless Bible apps and online resources, it’s now more possible than ever to play a Christian sermon, to listen to the Bible and to hear biblical messages while on the road to or from school drop off, commuting to work or getting your morning coffee. Small little changes like this are what lead up to making a larger impact in putting God first in your daily life. The Daily Dose offered by North Coast Church is a quick and easy daily infusion.

  • Pray Throughout Your Day

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

Don’t just pray in the morning. Be sure to make a focused effort to bring God into your day. Invite Him into your meetings and conversations. When problems do arise, praying throughout the day will help remind you to pause and talk to God before reacting to the problem. This simple act can help you develop more patience and obedience as you continually put Him first when encountering difficult situations.

Some time ago I found that directly asking God to intercede in a situation or problem opened the door, or maybe my heart, to accept His solution.

  • Take Every Struggle to God

There’s no set time frame for when prayer is appropriate. Remember that God is the best guide when it comes to navigating tough decisions. He’s there; you simply need to ask.

  • Keep an Eye on Media

“Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.’” – Matthew 15:10 (NIV)

In a world in which questionable messages often come through the media, putting God first means making an active assessment of what you’re listening to and watching. It’s easy to slip into bad patterns and to forget that what media we consume permeates our hearts and soul. If you want to put God first, it’s helpful to be sure to make wholesome or enriching entertainment choices. A friend once said just picture Jesus sitting on the couch next to you as you watch that show, read that gossip or scan the internet. Would you say, “Hey Jesus, check that out!”

  • Look for Ways to Help Others

Jesus’ first command is to love God, but it’s also important to live that out by loving others. If you’re looking to put God first, consider finding ways throughout the day to help others. This help can come in simple forms, like holding the door, donating food and resources — anything kind that expresses love for others. Random acts of kindness work just fine.

  • Memorize a Verse Per Week

In addition to creating a verse card, consider picking a Scripture from the Word of God to memorize each week. Maybe it is your verse card. Over time, these verses will permeate your life and help you more readily act in accordance with your faith in Jesus Christ

  • Help Connect Others to God

God also calls believers to share the gospel — to explain Jesus’ sacrifice and the importance of asking for forgiveness of sins. If one is truly concerned with putting God first, then sharing the gospel is a key component to living out that desire. Another way we can share the gospel is to spread Jesus’ love for His people. By loving others how Jesus loves us, we can show our neighbors what God’s love looks like in action.

  • End Your Day with a Devotion

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

Just as you start the day with God, end it with the Lord in prayer and devotion. Put God first by reading the Bible or a devotional that is designed to help you learn and grow. What better way to pursue putting God first than to start and end the day with Him?

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re living out your faith in Christ is to focus on Jesus’ sacrifice with gratitude. Consider creating an ongoing list of things in your life that you’re grateful for — a list that you build on each day. Writing down what you’re grateful for will help you focus on the positive elements in your life.

When I get busy and distracted, I often forget to include God in my days. I have to make a conscious effort to choose Him, to love Him, and to follow Him each day. When He is part of my daily routine, it is so much easier. Yes, it should just come naturally, but it is easy to get distracted in this world. Sometimes, I just need to turn off all electronics, pick up my God journal and talk to Him. How about you?

For God and you,

Deb Bostwick