A friend of mine who is in my bible study group posted a very interesting question and asked for responses. She simply asked how we define putting God first in our lives. I immediately felt that little nudge and I felt convicted. If I was going to answer this question, I better well make sure I do exactly what it is I say I do. Or maybe that was a tiny nugget of guilt and His voice whispering that He isn’t always first.
So, I started to think and wondered how do I put God first. Or maybe a better question to ask was how do I remind myself about God. And I honestly feel that is the better question to ask because through constant reminders, I will then put God first!
Well, first and foremost, I think the only way I could ever put God first is to admit that I am forever a sinner and forever in need of a Savior. I cannot move forward without those two things. Second, I must acknowledge that Jesus died for no other reason than to save all those who believe (John 3:16 comes to mind):
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Now knowing that I know and believe that, I am left with the everyday ways that I put God first…and yes, a serious reality check it about to happen! Below are some of the ways I am putting God first in my life. Now, I’m not perfect, I mess up…these don’t always work, but I am trying. I am a work in progress.
Reading His Word
Reading is one thing. Application is another. First, I must read it, and I do. Every morning, I receive five emails. Two contain the same verse of the day, but I read it in two different versions; NIV and The Message. The second email is a verse of the day specifically from the Proverbs. Most days (say 5 or 6 out of 7) these are read immediately after getting out of bed. On my bus commute to work, I read two wonderful devotions that also include some scripture. Although this routine and reading are fairly new to me, I am in the habit of doing it, and when I don’t, I am not myself and I feel most lost.
Listening to Music
We all do it. I’m not here to tell you what you listen to is bad. However, one of the callings I heard from God a few months ago was to give up music, except for music that honored and glorified God. So, I began listening to Christian music. And much to my surprise, it wasn’t “preachy”, but rather real. I could relate. God let me in on a little secret…I wasn’t the only one with problems and searching for answers. But He did make it very clear where those answers come from…not the music, but from Him. The music was just a tool in which I could honor, praise, glorify, and find some peace.
Studying His Word
Big difference from just reading His Word. And in all honesty, this blog wouldn’t even exist without God telling me to study (and write) about His Word and my journey.
When I write, it becomes so real to me and in ways I never thought possible. In studying God’s Word, I have learned scripture verses, dug deeper into their meaning, and be able to apply the teachings of the bible studies directly to my life. I’ve also been able to reach out to a wonderful group of women who are also seeking God and on an incredible journey of their own.
I’ve learned God will use me to reach others. But I’ve also learned that God will use others to reach me! This entire post came to be because of a question posted by one of my bible study friends. Let me rephrase that: God used her to reach me because I wasn’t focusing enough and putting Him first!
Yes, it’s that simple. And sometimes, we don’t even know it…until we receive that discipline from God which will put our focus back where it needs to be. And I am grateful for the discipline, the grace, the lesson, and most of all, the fact that God allowed me to just grow.
Talking to God
This is my latest lesson God is teaching me. To simply talk to Him! Prayer, yes, but more so of just having a conversation with Him. I’ve begun to write letters in my journal that are specifically for God. It’s not always easy. Sometimes I struggle for words…the right words. But that is the very lesson…there aren’t right and wrong words…He just wants me to write Him.
Just thinking and calling His name
Sometimes, it’s nothing more than simply saying “God”. When I speak His Name, there is always instant peace. But I will admit…this is more of an afterthought and not a first thought.
Wearing my cross
I have a gold cross that I have had for many years. I don’t even remember who gave it to me or when. But I would say that is the biggest reminder to me to put God first. I don’t wear it to brag to others that I am Christian, or to give a picture that I am better than another. I simply wear it because at any time I can put my hand up to my neck and feel just how close God is to me, and it also serves as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus gave so that I could simply know God.
Looking in the mirror
This has been a real effort, but I am trying to hard to say that image looking back at me is beautiful. God created it…and He doesn’t create ugly. Cutting down the image is like cutting God down for what He has created.
Yes, my iPhone. Technology plays a huge role in my journey and putting God first…or at the very least keeping God at the front of everything I do! My phone never leaves my side, so I’ve put it to good use to help me on my journey.
Like many, I have the Bible on my phone…and I read the version on my phone more than my print bible! It’s convenient, quick, and a great reference whenever I am in need!
My lock screen photo is a heart that says I love my Husband. This reminds me every time my phone comes on the precious gift of another human being that God has given me to love and cherish for the rest of my life! The wallpaper is a photo of a sunset I took from my front porch. God loves to shares His paintings with us!
And then there are apps! I was actually so amazed at how many wonderful apps there are to help keep one on their journey. I have three that I really like, and although I am sure there are so many more good ones, these are my favorites!
Bible Study Tools: This app syncs with the website, which is awesome for when I want to highlight bible verses. It also has access to reading plans, and reference materials, but I use this to read scripture verse that are highlighted in the devotionals.
Our Daily Bread: This app is exactly like the email I get, but I can easily go back and read past devotions. The app also has built in audio (like the email). Honestly, it’s a mirror of the email, but I like the option of using the app if email isn’t working.
Ending Your Day Right: This is a “pay” app, but it was so worth the money. The devotional is a night time devotional (although you can easily read the day’s devotional in the morning) as everything talks about reflecting on the day. This is the very last thing I read before bed. It’s kind of the comfort of a blanket to wrap up in and have God be the thing on your mind as I fall asleep. I love this app.
Jesus Calling: This app is on my wish list! This was introduced to me by another wonderful friend in my bible study group. Through the app’s ability to have the day’s writing shared, I have been able to read and benefit from it. I am hoping to get this app very soon!
In conclusion, I have many resources and tools that help me to put God ahead of everything. But I also know what just having the tools won’t do it…I have to use them! Fortunately, God is willing to hold my hand and walk with me every step of the way, and pick me up when I fall. He gently reminds me of the tools I have and how they should be used, and also challenges me to use them.
This blog entry was simple because a friend asked a question about how we define putting God first. I wonder if she ever saw God using her to challenge me into not only thinking about, but acting upon it more than I do?
God is amazing!