Growing up in church, we were told on a regular basis about the need to put God first. Even in our family home our parents had this slogan to remind us: ‘God first, school second, and girlfriend last’. Though we saw the funny side of it, but they were teaching us that above everything else, to make God our highest priority, writes Pastor Eric Toleafoa from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
What does putting
God first look like?
The apostle Paul
has always put God first but, as he persecuted the followers of Jesus, Paul
could not see what was right in front of him. It was only when Paul fell to the
ground, blinded by the light of Jesus, that he began to truly see. For Paul
putting God first meant humbly questioning his assumptions and going back to
After three years
in Arabia, Paul returns with a renewed conviction that God had not given up on
the world. Jesus was the Saviour who wanted to reach every human being.
Paul continued to
put God first as he travelled from city to city and from village to village teaching
people about Jesus. Nothing would deter Paul from putting God first, including
the many times people tried to kill him.
On one occasion, Paul
and his companion Silas had their clothes ripped off in the middle of the city
square. The Bible tells us that “The crowd joined in the attack against Paul
and Silas” (Acts 16:22). They were beaten and put in the inner cell, with their
feet clamped in the stocks. Though beaten and bruised, Paul and Silas did the
The Bible says, “Around
midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). Instead
of complaining, what did they do? They worshipped their God.
For many it is
much easier to praise God when everything is going ok. But it’s much harder
when we are suffering.
Maybe you are in a
situation where you may not see a good ending, or even lose someone you love. If you are at your lowest moments and everything
seems to be collapsing around you, God says “Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jer 33:3)
was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the
doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts
16:26). God sent an earthquake.
prisoners had escaped, the officer in charge picked up a sword to kill himself.
Paul and Silas remembered the beatings, torture, and humiliation that the officer
put them through. For Paul and Silas to have revenge, all they needed to do was
wait for the officer’s body to hit the ground.
But Paul and Silas
were the kind of men who put God first. In the split second, they decided to
forgive the officer and shouted for him to stop. That officer and his family
met Jesus, and by the end of the night, they were also worshiping the King of
Paul and Silas put
God first. Praying that their example and the love of God will compel each of
us to do the same.
verses will help us understand what putting God first looks like:
“Trust in the Lord
with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways
acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Pro 3:5-6)
“But seek first his
kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as
well.” (Mat 6:33)
“I have been
crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I
now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave
himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)
“Fixing our eyes
on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he
endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God.” (Heb 12:2)
Have an enjoyable weekend
with your families and friends, keep safe, but most of all Be Encouraged!