As Christians, we know we’re supposed to make God our number one priority. It’s all throughout the Bible.
In Exodus 20:3 (the very first of the Ten Commandments), God commands us:
You shall have no other gods before me.
And in Luke 14:26, Jesus tells us:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
(Not that we should literally hate our families. But that – compared to Jesus – nothing else should even close.)
This is nothing new. We know this.
But do we DO this?
Unfortunately, for most of us, we like the idea of putting God first, but we don’t actually put it into practice in real life. We say we put God first. But our actions don’t reflect it. (myself included)
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So, is your faith as important to you as you say it is? Ask yourself these four questions to find out:
1. Where Do You Spend the Majority of Your Free Time?
Whether you work outside the home or you spend your days caring for little ones, chances are a lot of your day is taken up by things you don’t have a lot of control over. And as much as you may want to read your Bible and pray for five hours straight – that just isn’t really practical.
But what about your free time after work, when the kids are sleeping or on the weekends? How do you spend that time?
Do you go to church, meet up with friends for Bible study or go see the latest Christian movie because it looks really good? Do you invite your neighbors over for Sunday dinner in hopes of forming relationships and eventually sharing the gospel with them?
Do you teach Sunday School, help out at a non-profit or get involved in various community service projects around your town? Do you read Christian Living books to help you grow in faith, hang out on Christian websites (like this one!), or at least listen to Christian radio as you go about your chores?
Or are you too busy with other commitments? Like running your kids around to a crazy number of activities or plopping down on the couch to watch TV shows and movies that aren’t quite as wholesome as you’d like.
Now please hear me, I’m not saying you can never watch TV or take your kids to activities. But think about how you spend the majority of your free time. Where do you spend the majority of your time? What things do you really look forward to? What do they say about where your true priorities lie?
2. How Do You Spend Your Money?
Just like with your time, the way you spend your money says a lot about your priorities as well. And while you may not be able to use ALL of it for God (you do have to pay the mortgage), you probably have a lot more financial flexibility than you think.
Look at your bank account or credit card statement – or even just around your house at all your stuff – and ask yourself: Where does your money go?
Do you tithe every week? Do you donate regularly to various missions, non-profits and organizations? If so, which ones? When is the last time you actively sought out someone who was struggling and found a way to make a difference in their life?
What things are you willing to splurge on? Which purchases do you have to rationalize? For example, maybe you routinely buy your children more and more toys – even though they already have more than they know what to do with. Or maybe you love shoes… or coffee… or Target. You can easily spend more than you mean to.
But what about when it comes to buying Christian living books, giving to those in need or attending Christian women’s conferences? Are you still so excited to hand over your money to support a good cause?
Or do you suddenly decide you can’t afford it (when you know you really could)? Or you decide you don’t really need it… (even though you’ll probably just spend the money on something else you don’t really need). Honestly, you’d really rather just hoard all your money for yourself so you can chase the American dream.
Again — not saying you can never buy toys or throw pillows or shoes. You absolutely can. And it’s not up to me to tell you how to spend your money – that’s between you, your husband and God. Just something to think about.
3. What Topics Do You Talk About All the Time?
When you and your girlfriends get together – what do you talk about? Your husbands, kids, hobbies, chores…? TV shows? Celebrity gossip or gossip about friends and family? Or do you share what God is working on in your life right now?
Do you regularly share your struggles and pray for each other, or would that be too “weird?” Have you made sure to surround yourself with Christian friends who will encourage and support you when you’re struggling?
What about your Facebook feed (if you have one)? What do you typically post about? Funny things your kids did? Political rants? Complaints about work? Cat memes? Do you follow and interact with any Christian Facebook groups and pages (like mine)? If not, what pages are you following instead?
Do you ever talk about your faith with your husband or your children? Or is it just day-to-day stuff?
Again, something to think about.
4. What Criteria Do You Use When Making Decisions?
Imagine your husband comes up to you tonight. There’s a big event coming up in a few weekends, and he wants to know if you’re interested. It’s a big enough decision that you have to think about it for a bit before you give your answer.
What do you think about?
Do you consider how much it will cost? Do you consider how much time it will take or if you are even available that weekend? Do you consider the other people who will be there and how much you enjoy their company? Probably, and you should.
But do you even stop to think about it from a faith perspective? Do you consider how your faith might be affected as a result – either positively or negatively? Do you consider if you’ll have opportunities to share the gospel or encourage others in their faith? Do you pray about it – either to ask guidance or to express thanks and excitement? Does it even cross your mind?
The truth is, Putting God First in your life means putting God first in ALL areas of your life — time, money, conversation and decision-making included. And these are just four examples.
It isn’t enough to just give God one hour on Sunday and call yourself good for the week. Putting God first means making God your #1 priority and centering your life around Him. Not just parts of your life – but all of them.
So… Do you have some things to work on? Yeah, me too. We all do.
The life God calls us to isn’t easy. Luke 14:33 tells us, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
That’s serious. And scary. And really, really hard.
But worth it.
What areas of your life are you really good at putting God first in? What areas of your life still need improvement?
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