When it comes to setting priorities, many Christians will tell you to “Put God first.” But is the foremost spot on our to-do list enough? Do you think top-billing is what Jesus has in mind when He tells us to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30)?
That’s the topic we’re discussing this week on The Loving Life at Home Podcast. Listen in, then let me know what you think. You’ll find the original post upon which Episode 27 is based below today’s show notes. Enjoy!
- “Honor the Lord with your wealth AND with the first fruits of your harvest.” – Proverbs 3:9
- “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” – James 1:17
- “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:19
- “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.” – Deuteronomy 14:22-23
- “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might.” – Deuteronomy 6:5
- You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:31
- “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” – Psalm 100:2
- Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking actual words of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:11
- “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” – Romans 12:1
- “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
- “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” – Romans 14:8
- “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:6
- “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
- “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” – Psalm 62:8
- “Whether then you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
NOTE: What follows is the sixth (and next-to-last) installment in the series 7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from my Husband: God wants the Whole Pie. This concept is key to understanding the Christian walk.
God Wants the Whole Pie
I grew up believing I should put God first in everything:
- He wants the first part of my week, so I should attend church every Sunday.
- He wants the first part of my day, so I should read my Bible each morning.
- He wants the first part of my produce, so I should tithe on every penny I earn.
As with so many other matters, when I got married, my husband really challenged my thinking in this area.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with attending church or reading the Bible or supporting missions.
Quite the contrary.
But worship services and quiet times and charitable giving cannot be where it ends.
God should be more than the top item on my to-do list.
When we think in terms of putting God first, then by definition, something else comes next. It implies that once God’s been given His fair share, the rest of my resources are mine to do with as I please, to pour into family, job, hobbies, or whatever else might be on my list.
But that’s not entirely accurate. This whole hierarchical way of thinking is fundamentally flawed.
God will never be satisfied with a trifling token of our time and talents. Our service to Him should not be ranked alongside dental appointments and PTA meetings and Little League games — just one more thing packed into an already overcrowded schedule.
God transcends our to-do list, and our devotion to Him must be all-encompassing.
If life is a pie, God doesn’t just want the first piece. He doesn’t even want the biggest piece. God wants the whole pie. And — what’s more — He has a right to it!
But what does this sold-out sort of living look like? And how do we get from here to there?
We do it by following these five simple principles:
Love God with all your heart:
The Bible states our goal plainly: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Loving God with our whole heart does not mean we have less love left over for our fellow man, as if our love supply could be diminished or depleted. Rather, the opposite is true. Loving God wholeheartedly compels and enables us to love others as Christ loves them, which is why Jesus follows that first command with a second like unto it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
As with the loaves and the fishes, when we give our love wholly to God, He multiplies and increases it many fold, so that there is an abundance of love left over to share with those around us in soul-satisfying ways.
Serve God with all your strength:
Unfortunately, Satan has duped us into believing that only certain activities “count” as “service” and that everything else is just stuff we need to rush through so that we can have more time for “real ministry.”
We live burdened down with guilt over all the things we are NOT doing, instead of viewing all the things we ARE doing as opportunities to joyfully serve, knowing that even washing dishes and folding laundry and changing diapers and chauffeuring children can be a spiritual service of worship and a sacrifice of praise when done “as unto the LORD” with a renewed heart and mind. (Romans 12:1)
Honor God in all you do:
As Christians, we have taken the name of Christ; let’s make certain we don’t do so in vain. We must live lives of integrity and sincerity, praying that the words of our mouths and the the meditations of our hearts would be acceptable to God. (Psalm 19:14)
Our faith should not be superficial, but should sink deep into our beings, transforming and molding us into the image of Christ. If we belong to God, then everything we do should be done for His glory. (Romans 14:8, 1 Corinthians 10:31)
Acknowledge God in all your ways:
Our lives should point others to Jesus. In all our ways, we should make Christ known, and He will direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:6)
I do not know who wrote this little rhyme that I memorized in my youth, but it is just as convicting today as it was the first day I heard it:
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,
By the things that you do and the words that you say,
Men read what you write, distorted or true,
What is the Gospel according to you?
Trust God with all the details:
God has promised to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him,” (Romans 8:28) and He can be trusted to keep that promise. Time and again throughout scripture, we are urged to put our full trust in God, to depend fully on Him instead of leaning on our own limited understanding or putting our faith in human reasoning:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8)
So, there it is. These are the areas that come to my mind when I think of handing all of my life over to God. What does sold-out living look like to you? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.