It’s a new year! It’s the time of year that we begin to set new goals and resolutions to shift some things in our lives.
Many people focus on changing their physical bodies. They set intentions to lose weight, go to the gym, and eat healthier. Wanting to become healthier and stronger is a good thing. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and it’s good to want to take better care of them.
But what about our spiritual lives?
Making a List—Checking It Twice
If you were to make a list of your priorities for the new year, I’m confident you would put God or your relationship with God at the top of the list. If you didn’t, you’d probably rearrange or rewrite the list to put God first. Why? Because in our hearts, we know that God comes first.
But what’s your reality? Is God really first?
We know the commandments. The first one is, “You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3 NIV). We know it, but do we live it?
In our modern Christian society, we “know” not to follow the gods of other religions like Buddha, Mother Nature (Gaea), and more. But what about the more subtle gods? These are the people, places, or things that we idolize. These are the things that people give much more attention and adoration to than they deserve. So many people have sold their souls to these other gods and idols without conscious knowledge.
Putting God First
How do you know if you’ve sold your soul? What consumes your thoughts? What consumes your free time? What’s the first thing you do in the morning? What’s the first thing you do when you get off work?
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).
If we want to experience the goodness of the Lord and live the abundant life Jesus promised us in this new year, we need to prioritize our relationship with God above all else. Putting God first in ALL things is the basis or underlying support for your success in all things.
One of the most important (and often overlooked) instructions of the Bible involves the principle of firstfruits. It is the law of first things first. It has a fundamental impact on everything in your life. When you choose to live by the principle of firstfruits, you are positioning yourself to receive the promises God has for you.
The firstfruit is the first of everything. After that, you tithe on everything else. I’m not just talking about your money, either. I’m talking about your family, time, talent, and gifts. I’m talking about the first hours of your day, the first day of every week, the first month of every year, and the first of everything sanctifies all that follows.
The first belongs to God and establishes the blessing or cursing of everything else.
That’s why many Christians start off the year in prayer and fasting. They are consecrating the first part of the year to God. It sets the stage for the rest of the year. It is a way of laying a foundation of God first so that He will bless the rest.
God tells us to seek Him and His kingdom first. God says when we seek Him, His kingdom, and His righteousness first, that all these things are given to us. They’re laid beside us. They’re added to us. They’re increased and repeated in our life. This means we don’t have to seek things. We need to seek God. As we seek Him first, He will increase all the other areas of our life in this new year.
C.S. Lewis said it this way:
To love you as I should, I must worship God as Creator. When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.
What were your “gut response” answers to the questions above? What do you think about? What do you do with your free time? There’s no judgment associated with your answers. What I want you to see is that if you choose to make God your priority and put Him first, then you’ll be in proper alignment to make the most important relationships in your life even better! God has good plans, purposes, and people for you. The gospel is good news. It’s not bad news. God is for you. He’s not against you.
Read what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (8:31-32 NIV).
Seek God First
When we seek God first, He will withhold no good thing from us. To seek means to worship. Worship means to shape or build worth, value, and respect. As we seek God first, we are building a life that denotes who God is, His worth, His honor, and His royalty.
My prayer for you in this new year is that this will be the year you put God first—not just with mere words, but in action and in truth. I pray that your heart experiences a fresh revival and that your relationship with God becomes personal.
Remember, God is a good God! It’s time to pursue His presence as if our lives depended on it (because they do!) As we pursue His presence, we will experience His goodness.
Whatever your lot in life is, whatever purpose God has for you, it will come to pass as you seek Him and know Him.
Trust me—you don’t want anything outside of God’s intentions for you. You want to live in the reality of His kingdom come; His will be done on earth and in your life as it has already been decreed from heaven.
For more information on God’s Principle of First Fruits click here
-Paula White Cain