We all know what it means to have them, and most of us strive to structure our days accordingly. Any Christian who has been in the church long enough has the head knowledge that God should come before all else. However, is having God as our “top priority” what we ought to be pursuing?
Now, don’t get me wrong–of course God should still come first! I am not suggesting that there is anything of more importance that should replace your relationship with him.
That said, I would like to introduce you to a slight shift in perspective that has changed how I approach my day-to-day life.
Last year, I chose “priority” as my focus word and set out to learn what it meant to put God first in my life. I thought it meant just that–to put him above all else. Over the course of the year, however, my definition of “putting God first” actually became much more inviting than a structured list.
At the beginning of the year, I was thinking linearly—vertically. My priorities were a mental hierarchy in which God was at the top, and rightly so. But, as much as we strive and wish they were, our lives are not some vertical to-do list in which we hop cleanly from one task to another all the time.
Our lives are messy. Our lives are complicated. They are intricate stories in which side plots abound, and distractions litter our days beyond our control. There are no step-by-step instructions for us to follow when it comes to how we do life.
We can rise first thing in the morning and spend hours with him in prayer, but what good does that do if we leave him there? A lot of us treat our quiet time with God like a check box on a list—we put him first in the morning only to mark it off as complete and move on.
However, God should not only be first on our list; he should be second, and third, and fourth as well. Click To Tweet He is an all-consuming God (as Hebrews 12:29 suggests) who desires to walk with us all day long.
Which is why I’m proposing this:
The mindset of putting God first simply isn’t enough.
He needs to be at the center.
It might only seem like a slight shift in wording, but that slight shift makes all the difference. It means that instead of leaving him at our bedside at the start of our day, we invite him into every second of our lives. Instead of merely putting our relationship with God first, we invite him into the rest of our relationships as well. Instead of going to church at the start of the week, we live a lifestyle of worship in everything we do. Putting God at the center of our lives changes everything.
As Christians, all of our actions must stem from a central heart posture of desiring to bring glory to God. Having Jesus at the center of our lives helps us to remember our motives, as well as to get our other priorities straight. If he isn’t in his rightful place in our lives, nothing else will be either.
He is the Rock on which we stand, the Foundation on which we build, the Vine from which we grow, the Reason for everything we do, and the Source from which we get our strength. Everything exists through him and by him and for him.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
At some point in your life, you may have been told, “the world does not revolve around you.” And that is absolutely true. But it does revolve around God.
If our hearts are tethered to him as they ought to be, we will always have a link back to him–no matter where we are, what we are doing, or who we are with. We will always point back to him as the root of our success. Our relationship with him will always be at the core of our accomplishments.
Understanding the effects of this shift can revolutionize our walk with God. It encourages us to:
- Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Worship from the rising of the sun to its setting (Psalm 113:3).
- Live our lives on mission (Matthew 28:19-20).
“…loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days…” (Deuteronomy 30:20a).
We shouldn’t compartmentalize God or restrict him to one time of day, week, or year. We shouldn’t sing his praise or study his Word only in the context of a church building. Because he is the Alpha and the Omega and everything in between, he needs to be at the center. He needs to be constantly on our minds–the lens through which we view the world around us.
He has called us to “abide” in him (John 15:4), and the only way we do that is by constantly re-aligning our thoughts and actions to his kingdom purposes.
Seek his kingdom first, yes. But don’t just put him first.
Actively seek to put him at the center of your life today.