How to Make Your Relationship with God First in Your Life
- Friday, April 18, 2014
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Stovall Weems’ new book The God-First Life: Set the Right Priorities and Unlock the Secret to Blessing and Freedom (Zondervan, 2014).
Want to make your life better? It may seem like you can do so by simply getting more of what you want – such as an exciting job, a loving spouse and children, strong health, or the money to buy a bigger home or newer car. Enjoying the best life possible isn’t about what you can get, however; it’s about what directs your life. That’s because whatever force has first place in your life will drive your decisions and shape your future.
If you decide to make your relationship with God first in your life, everything else will naturally fall into place in the right order, creating the fulfilling life you hope to enjoy. Here’s how you can make your relationship with God your top priority:
Take an honest look at your current priorities. Reflect on your life right now to consider what factors most determine how you choose to live. Where are you investing most of your time, money, and energy? Which relationships and activities do you devote yourself to every day? Where do you currently place God on your list of priorities? If your relationship with God isn’t your top priority right now, what specific changes do you need to make in your life to devote yourself to God first?
Recognize that stress of chaos versus the blessings of order. The more you try to make your life better by pursuing your own desires, the more your desires will spin out of control, creating stressful and frustrating chaos in your life. But the more you pursue a closer relationship with God above all else, the better you’ll be able to distinguish between what’s truly important and what’s merely urgent, freeing yourself up to receive more of the blessings God wants to send you.
Trust God’s promises in Matthew 6:33. In this famous Bible verse, Jesus encourages people to put God first in their lives, saying: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This single verse reveals three key promises from God to those who make their relationships with him their top priority: membership in a new family (the body of Christ), a new life (a fulfilling life in which you reach your highest potential), and new freedom (power over sin so you can live free of its burdens and enjoy the life God intended you to live).
Make a sacred commitment to placing God first in your life. Choose to make an irrevocable decision to make your relationship with God your highest priority, over everyone and everything else in your life. No matter what happens from this point on, remind yourself of your decision, and then you’ll avoid wasting time and energy on what doesn’t really matter, while experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings for you.
Participate in a local church. Participating in a local church is a necessary part of fully developing your relationship with God. Ask God to lead you to a healthy church in your area, where you can mature in the context of relationships with caring and trustworthy people who are also seeking closer relationships with God. Look for a place where truth and love meet to create a safe place for you to change and reach your fullest potential.
Grow to become more like Jesus through community. As you connect with other believers in your church community, God will teach you how to love in deeper ways, which will transform you into a holier person with a character that keeps growing more like that modeled by Jesus. Invest in your relationships with others in your church beyond just the weekend worship services. Get together regularly to build close friendships through small group meetings, service projects, fun outings, or simply to chat. Listen to each other’s stories, encourage each other to grow spiritually, pray for each other, hold each other accountable, and give each other practical support when needed.
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