Making God First in Your Life

This article is excerpted from Kingdom Stewardship by Dr. Tony Evans.

The priority of a kingdom steward must always be God the King.

Most people, even Christians, have God in the kitchen of their lives, and not in the den. If a family puts a television in the kitchen, it is there to be glanced at. People don’t typically sit on a stool and watch entire movies from start to finish in the kitchen. The television in the kitchen exists to provide updates here or there from shows such as the news, game shows, or cooking shows. It is there so that while someone is cooking or cleaning, they can hear or see a bit of entertainment and information.

But the television in the den is for the full experience. That’s where people sit in their easy chairs, grab a blanket, and watch an entire game or movie. In fact, you’ll never find a big screen TV in the kitchen. But you will find one in the den because that’s where you can focus.

Far too many believers keep God in the kitchen of their lives. He is there, sure. You might glance at a verse or think about a passage while you do other things in your life. But He is not the priority. He doesn’t get your undivided attention. God doesn’t go for that. He cannot be second, third, or anywhere else in your priorities but first. God is to be the sun of your solar system, where the activities of your life revolve around Him and Him alone. If you relegate God to anything less than first, you have removed Him from the primacy of active involvement in your life.

Know that truth. Embrace that truth. That truth impacts you far more than you may even realize. The further you move God down the line of your priorities, the less involved He is in your life. The less power of the Spirit you tap into, the less consistency of favor and grace you activate. The less peace and calm He supplies. Not because it isn’t there to supply but because you have chosen not to prioritize Him in your life.

God wants and deserves to be first in all areas of our lives. But there are a number of areas He keys in on for us to examine in Scripture. For starters, God wants to be first in your affections. Revelation 2:4 says, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love,” in spite of the fact that these believers were commended for their orthodoxy and religious activity. But it was not enough when first love was missing. He doesn’t chastise them for not loving Him at all. The love is still there. It’s just no longer first.

In Matthew 10:37-38, He explains first love this way, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” God wants you to love Him more than you even love your family. Beyond that, He emphasizes in verse 38 that He wants you to love Him more than you even love yourself. To deny yourself and take up your cross means to put His desires, His goals, and His priorities above your own. When you have to choose between His will and your own, you choose His. God says if He is not at that level of love in your life, then you are not worthy of Him. It’s plain and simple. God doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t stutter. If He’s not first in your priorities, then you don’t deserve His involvement in your life and our stewardship becomes greatly impeded.

Now, these verses were written to disciples. Eternal salvation is secure through faith alone in Christ alone. But marginalizing God in your life removes His active engagement with you. God demands to be first in your affections. He wants to be your primary love relationship. He wants your greatest pursuit to be that of pursuing intimacy with Him. He demands to be first in your devotion. Suppose your mate says to you, “I will fulfill my

duties in this marriage, but you won’t be first in my life.” Such an attitude would remove the value of even good actions. Duty, in a marriage, is never to be disconnected from devotion. Similarly, neither is devotion to be disconnected from a kingdom steward’s relationship with God. Loving God first is the most important step in getting everything else (including your finances) into proper working order (Matthew 6:33; Revelation 2:1-7).

But not only does He want to be first in your affections, He also wants to be first in your worship. In the Old Testament culture, they worshiped on Saturday. The New Testament culture shifted worship to Sunday. Sunday was, and is, the first day of the week. Not only that, but the prioritization of giving was also moved to the first day of the week. This way, the people honored God with the firstfruits before all the other expenses got paid. We read about this prioritization in 1 Corinthians 16:2: “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.”

In fact, the Resurrection happened on the first day of the week and this designation of worship was to celebrate and commemorate the risen Savior. Colossians 1:15-18 speaks to the “firstness” of Christ. It says,

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

For Jesus to hold the position of “first place in everything” means there cannot be any category of your life where He does not dominate. When we break down the meaning of the word “everything,” we discover that it means “every” thing. That may have been obvious to you, yet far too many of us miss it. Jesus made everything and so He owns everything. As a result, He rules everything as well. If you are going to truly be a kingdom steward, His viewpoint dictates your viewpoint. His will informs your will. Everything in your life must surrender to your commitment to Jesus and His say-so in your thoughts, words, and decisions.

In addition to being first in our affections and in our worship, God wants us to always pray to Him first. We read in 1 Timothy 2:1, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men.” Notice how he starts out the call to prayer with the word “first.” We are to start with prayer. God doesn’t call us to pray after we have made a mess. He didn’t establish prayer as an avenue of communication with Him for only those times when we need help out of a crisis. God wants us to pray first. Talk to Him first. Consult Him first.

And not only are we to consult Him in prayer but we are also to consult Him through His Word. We are to first see what God has to say on the subject and not what humanity believes (Romans 3:4). God’s Word holds the answers to every question. But you will never locate that answer if you don’t go to Him first—through your affection, worship, prayer, and study of His Word.

That’s what’s wrong with so many Christians today. God’s not first. He’s in the mix somewhere. He’s in consideration, sure. But He’s not the first point of consultation and communication. He’s not the first point of trust, affection, communion, and worship. He’s just in there somewhere. Yet God says that “somewhere” is unacceptable simply because of who He is. He is God. He is the Creator. He is the Owner. He is first.

Kingdom Stewardship by Tony Evans

In Kingdom Stewardship, Dr. Tony Evans inspires you to broaden your perspective of Christian stewardship. In this encouraging and challenging book, you will learn that stewardship includes how you manage all that God has given you—your time, your talents, and your treasures—to advance God’s kingdom and bring Him glory. While many stewardship books focus on managing financial resources, Tony Evans says that your finances are one small part of a much bigger calling. He teaches that God owns all things, and you are the manager of His assets. When you bring your entire life into alignment under God, you will be blessed with purpose and the abundant life that comes from living by God’s eternal principles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I agree with the Privacy Policy