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Church Talk: Making God our top priority

Friday 23 June 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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Church Talk: Making God our top priority
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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 scripture.

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 unthinkable:

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)

“Suddenly, there 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.

Assuring the 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 Kings.

Paul and Silas put God first. Praying that their example and the love of God will compel each of us to do the same. 

The following 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!