Saturday, October 1, 2016

Devotion: Put God First

Most of us claim to love God and put him first in our heart, or at least this is what we believe to be true.

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:26-38).

Jesus tells us that loving God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind is the first and the greatest commandment.  But did you know that you could love God with all of these things, your heart, your soul, and your mind, and still not put God first in your heart?  Yes, it is truly possible to do both.  So many believers love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, yet God does not have first place in their life.  We find the reason for this explained in “The Parable Of The Sower.”

“And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, ‘Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.  And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred’” (Mark 4:2-8).

The sower sows seed, which according to scripture is “the word of God” (Mark 4:14), into the hearts of the believer, who faithfully receive it, but then they “allow the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things to enter in their heart” (Mark 4:19).  It is these things that believers tend to give first place to in their hearts instead of the things of God.  It happens day in and day out.  This does not mean that these people love God any less or are doing sinful things; it just means that they have focused their attention on other things and have no longer put God first in their hearts, so the word of God is choked from their hearts.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).  “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Instead of “keeping our mind stayed upon God, which will keep us in perfect peace,” as is stated in scripture, we keep our mind stayed upon the things of the world, the things that everyday living brings about.  We focus our attention on family, friends, and work, in no particular order and tend to put God “on the back burner or in the back seat.”  We tend to think about this situation and that situation going on in our life, we focus on this tragedy and that tragedy, and we get caught up in this daily struggle and that daily struggle, eventually meditating on these things day and night, which ultimately produces doubt, fear, discouragement, and unbelief.  These are the things that we now give first place and because we think on these things in our heart.  These are the things that we become because “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  We become depressed become we think on depressing things.  We are fearful, because we think on fearful things.  We are discouraged because we think on discouraging things.  We have doubt and unbelief because we allow them to come into our hearts and then we think on them, “for out of the heart come the issues of life and it determines the course of your life.”

“And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.  Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about” (Philippians 4:8).  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).

Finally, we are to think on these things instead, those things that are true, honorable, right and just.  We should think on those things that are pure, lovely, admirable, and are of good report.  Think on those things of virtue, things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  And about all, think on those things that you can praise God for and give praise to God for them.  We are to seek first the kingdom of God, putting his work first, above all other things that we may do.  We are to live righteous, doing all that God wants us to do.  And when we have done these things, all of the other things will be ours as well, for God will give us everything else we need.  When we think on these things and seek first the kingdom of God, we put God first in our heart, we keep our mind stayed on him, and we guard our heart with all diligence, which keeps us in perfect peace.

We pray that today’s inspirational message will give you a new perspective on what it means to “put God first.”  We also pray that this message will bless you, inform you, and that you will be the better for having read it.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

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