Pastor Dominic Cardamone
What or who is first in your life? Firsts are important to God. Remember, in the first commandment, God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Clearly, He wants to be before everything else in our lives. He wants us to put Him before our jobs, our money, our things, etc. even our spouses and children (these can be “gods” we sometimes put before God). He wants to not just be a priority, but rather he wants to be preeminent in our lives.
In Deuteronomy 5:6-10, God again reiterates that there should be no other gods before Him.
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
Here we see that He is a “jealous God.” The word jealous is derived from the word zealous and means to be vigilant in guarding a position or possession. God wants His rightful position in our lives (before all else). He has no desire to share being first with any other. In His jealousy, God will impart either judgment to those who “hate” Him or mercy to those who “love” Him and keep His commandments. It is important to note that love and hate are not simply feelings but are descriptive of habitual behavior. Those who hate God have turned away from Him and have not made Him preeminent. Their habitual, sinful behavior reflects this hatred. Those who love God have submitted to Him and made Him preeminent. Their habitual, obedient behavior reflects this love (see John 14:15).
So, what does our daily behavior demonstrate concerning our love and His preeminence in our lives? How does our time, money, thoughts, efforts, etc. reflect the will and leading of the Lord? Or do they reflect a turning away from the Lord? Does God have a place in those areas at all? Is He first place? These are questions we must wrestle with daily. Many times we turn away from God in pursuit of other things, even important things. We must heed Jesus’ words when He says in Matthew 6:33, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” We must make the commitment of the psalmist in Psalm 16:8 when he says, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
Not putting God first is like buttoning your coat incorrectly. If you get the first button wrong, all the others will be out of place. However, when you get the first button right, all the others will line up too. As you put God first, the other things of life will begin to line up as they should.