First Things First Pt. 1
Understanding God’s Principle of First Fruits
by Paula White Cain
Wouldn’t it be nice to know where you’re going in life, to have the abundant means to get there and enjoy the journey? I believe you can. God has a perfect design and purpose for your life. And He wants you to have the ability and resources you need to accomplish that divine destiny. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, if that is so then why is my life so chaotic? I never have enough energy, emotional stamina, associations or finances. I feel like I’m at my wit’s end struggling to survive. And how do I even find God’s plan for my life?”
A simple principle from God’s Word holds your answer. It’s found in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). “Seek first” is a foundation principle that has changed my life. And it can transform yours, too! Keep first things first, and God will take care of the rest.
When you put God first by obeying His principles and following His divinely established patterns, your life becomes aligned with His plan and purpose. But all too often, we get thrown off-track by the worries and clutter of life. You see, when we step out of God’s perfect plan, we get off-balance. And when you are off-balance spiritually, it spills over into every area of your life. Nothing else seems to fit and you don’t feel whole. Your emotions, relationships, finances and health can suffer. But wholeness is prospering in your spirit, soul, mind and body. While it includes your finances, prosperity is not materialism, it is a wholeness word that means everything prospering, everything functioning properly in your life.
What good is it to have money, and yet be bankrupt in your spirit? As Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
When you are whole and in alignment with God, you can experience peace, joy, restoration, love, a right mind, freedom and liberation. And you should have enough resources to do everything that God has assigned in your life and called you to do. Read the entire biblical context of “first things first” in Matthew 6.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear’ For after these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:25-33).
That is “prosperity” and peace of mind. That is wholeness! And that is what I want to help you achieve by sharing the importance of keeping first things first.
The key is to align yourself with the patterns of God. His principles were established long before man ever had a revelation or a vision of them. They are unchanging. And as I’ve said before, God’s principles propel you into His promises!
A pattern is an order of arrangement or parts . . . a model or a design from which copies can be made. For every pattern, there is a design and for every design there is a designer. It is not your job to design or to develop, but to discover and implement or put a decision and plan of God into effect. Patterns are established from concept, the original intention, thought or notion.
God’s original intention is His final decision. That means God doesn’t change his mind—His patterns are permanent. All that God creates is “perfect,” including you! You were created with a God-intended position and purpose. That intention will not change. In other words, as a surrendered, yielded life, if something is not supposed to be a part of your destiny, it will not be. You cannot lose what is supposed to be part of your destiny and you cannot keep what is NOT a part of it.
God still considers first things to be holy and devoted to Him, but today first fruits has to do with the practice of keeping the Main Thing—the main thing, and God IS the main thing! First fruits means the first in place, order and rank; the beginning, chief or principle thing. God says first things belong to Him in order to establish redeeming covenant with everything that comes after. In God’s pattern, whatever is first establishes the rest. The first is the root, from which the rest is determined.
What a release from pressure to try and make life happen, or force something to fit! Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Plans are the contrivance of a mentally fabricated plot. What a waste of time, energy and talent when God’s ultimate intention will always succeed!
All you need to do is “flow” with the determination of God. You have been positioned, or “accurately arranged,” to simply walk out the pattern or predetermined plan of your destiny! You do so by implementing His principles. When a divine principle is implemented, a divine result is reaped.
So what is God’s original intention for you? From the very beginning, God states His purpose and carries it throughout His entire Word. He wants to conform His character in you individually . . . that you will look like Him, act like Him, think like Him, walk like Him, talk like Him and create like Him. As we individually embrace this continual process of change a transformed “people,” or “church” will come forth to bring reformation and advance the kingdom of God. You will live in His image, complete and whole. That means you will be fruitful. You will grow and increase in the abundance and anointing of God. You will be replenished . . . you will take dominion and subdue.
How do you live out your destiny? Because God is a God of patterns, when you follow the pattern, you see the manifestation of the promise from being in position. All covenant privileges are released and received by believing and activating the Word of God. That’s why you must have the truth of God’s Word operating in your life for all things to comply and agree with the determination of God.
So if your life is spinning out of control, it is time to clear the clutter and put first things first according to God’s patterns and principles.
I have often said, “You cannot conquer what you don’t confront; you cannot confront what you don’t identify.” What is throwing you off? Fear? Unhealthy relationships? Finances? Improper motives? Your purpose or destiny? Your emotions? Poor health? Later in the book, I’ll share how you can clear the clutter in these areas of your life by aligning your priorities with God.
God has an arrangement for things in your life. When something is arranged, it is put into a proper or systematic order. God has a time and a purpose for everything.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven; A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear; and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:6).
God has an order and a plan for you. To be in harmony with the will of God and attain the highest state of purpose for your life, you must follow God’s precepts. If you fail to keep God first, your life can become out of balance and out of order.
Many precious believers have bypassed and overlooked the principle of first fruits in God’s Word, perhaps not intentionally but unknowingly. If it’s important to God, it must be important to us! This principle is foundational, even fundamental for the manifestation of God’s promises and provision to come to pass in our lives. As I have experienced in my own walk with God, this principle unlocks many, many doors and releases promise for the purpose of God in the earth.
It is so simple, yet has the power to impact every area of your life—your well being, your spirit, your soul, your body, your marriage, your relationships, your finances— every single area. Through the truths of first fruits, you can position yourself in God’s order of things.
I want to direct your attention to a key scripture having to do with first fruits. “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18, KJV).
God is the only One who has the power to give wealth, which is a word of wholeness that is nothing missing and nothing broken, and blessings—that is a life of empowerment. But it is exciting to know that He has given us the knowledge we need to receive those blessings. His truths are available to you. His commands and blessings are outlined in God’s Word for all who will search them out to see.
Are you ready to honor God?