We have heard this many times, “Put God first in your lives”. It is the first commandment, “You Shall Love the Lord your God and shall have no false gods before Him.” But do we really know what this means? Do we know how to live it out in our daily lives? As men we are busy, we have many demands placed on us everyday, we must provide for our families, keep the boss happy (at home and at work), help with the kids, rest, sleep, recreate, etc. How do we keep it all in balance and still keep our sanity and most importantly, keep God first amongst all these demands?
First we must understand what God expects of us in reference to keeping him first in your life. God loves us more than anyone else in the world, we are his creation and he created us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. Our priorities should be God first, spouse (if we have one) second, children (if we are blessed with them) third and then everyone else.
To put God first means that when faced with an important decision or choice in our lives, we consult God first and seek to discern His will, then work our way down the list. If we are posed with a situation where our boss asks us to do something, and our spouse approves it, and yet God doesn’t approve, we are obligated to put God first. A beautiful example of this occurred in the life of St. Thomas More. The king declared himself to be the head of the Church (in place of the Pope) and St. Thomas discerned the will of God and found that it was very different than that of the King, so he put God first. Even St. Thomas’ wife and children tried to convince him to choose the King’s will over the will of God. St. Thomas held firm and it cost him his life, or did it? “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34-35
We are faced with difficult decisions everyday, where we must decide who we shall place first in our lives. Do we love the Lord more than life itself? Maybe that is too remote a possibility, our life may not be required of us today, but maybe our livelihood (our job) or our status, or maybe only our comfort. Think of those little things in life that occur around the water cooler at work such as when you announce that you and your wife are expecting your fourth child. Inevitably you get comments like, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or better yet people share with you how they took care of that problem with Dr. Chop (a vasectomy). You now have two paths before you, life and death, choose life so that you may live (cf. Deut 30:15). You can choose to join in the attack on the beauty of new life or you can share the Word that brings true happiness and explain how every child is a beautiful gift from God. Or maybe you are out with your coworkers and they decide to visit a topless bar. You can choose to go along with the crowd and look lustfully at other women and insult the dignity of those women or you can share the Word that brings true happiness and tell them how you love your wife too much to look at other women in that way. Both of these situations may cause you to stick out from the crowd, it is difficult to go against the grain and take the high road, but isn’t that what true courage is all about? Isn’t it better to please God than to please men?
It takes courage to be a man after God’s own heart, Jesus shows us the way, the truth and the life. It took a real man to lay down his life for us, the spotless Lamb of God was ridiculed, tortured, and killed for our sins. What is our response to Him who loved us to the end? All he asks is that we love Him with all our heart, mind and strength. For all of us are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God, but through Jesus Christ we are redeemed and indeed, we can do all things in Him who strengthens us.
Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
by Allen Hebert
Originally published: Tuesday, September 4, 2007