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May the Lord fill your life with the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

If God is not first in your life, then something else is (Deut 6:4-5, Matt 6:24, 33; 10:32-38, Mark 8:34, Luke 11:23, 1 John 5:21).

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Holy Spirit
Is God first in your life?
It is no coincidence or surprise that the Bible opens with the words “In the beginning God created” and reminded in the last Book that God is always the Almighty One, from beginning to end (Revelation 1:8)! So, ask yourself. If God has absolute sovereignty over everything from A-Z (John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:16-18), is He the daily focus of your life? In other words, is God first in your life? If He is not, then rest assured that something else is. The sad truth is most of us really do not realize, understand, or accept the fact that God usually plays a distant second in our lives. We all get caught up in this life; this world. Yet we are commanded not too (Romans 12:1-2, Galatians 6:8, Philippians 2:14-15, 1 John 2:4-6; 15-17, Revelation 2:4-5). Not only is it the first commandment, making it the most important commandment, but we are also told that we are foreigners and not of this world (Matthew 6:25-34, 1 Peter 2:11). That if we chose to love this world, then we have in fact exchanged our love for God for the love of this world (Matthew 12:30, James 4:8, 1 John 3:1). But how is this possible? I go to church. I read the Bible. I surround myself with Christians. The answer is very simple (Matthew 6:24, Mark 4:19, Luke 9:62; 16:13, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, James 1:6-8, Revelation 3:16). The path to evil is wide (Matthew 7:13-14) and sin encompasses all of us (Proverbs 6:16-19, Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 18:7, Mark 7:15; 7:21-23, Romans 3:10-11, Galatians 6:7-8)!
God hates sin because it separates us from Him and He does not want this kind of relationship! He wants all of us to have a personal, intimate relationship with Him. One that is filled love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, obedience, and faith. But it is a cold fact that we are all sinners (Mark 7:20-23, James 1:14-15) and sin keeps us from having this kind of relationship. We are all guilty and imprisoned because of our lifestyles and the choices we make (Galatians 6:7-8). That’s right. We are all no less guilty than the thief and rapist sitting in a jail cell or the murderer on death row. The very truth of it is we are all on death row! We will all face judgment for the decisions we make on earth (Hebrews 9:27). Notice the word “all” was used in every one of those statements. That's because nobody has immunity for our sinful lives (Ecclesiastes 12:14), but we can be declared righteous before Him once again (John 5:24, John 10:14-16; 25-30, Romans 5:1-2; 8:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:17)!
If you were imprisoned on death row at a state penitentiary would you want to be free and get out? Would you want clemency? Well, guess what? We have been given clemency! Our sins have been cleansed by one, single Man. Through this one, single Man we shall enter through the narrow gates of Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). This one, single Man is Jesus Christ. By the way, His last name is not Christ. His last name probably would have been something like Bar-Joseph, meaning “from Joseph.” The word Christ means “Messiah.” He is Christ, the Messiah, because He represents God's salvation for everyone (Hebrews 9:11-28). In fact, His first name is Jeshua (or, Joshua) which means “Lord is salvation,” or “God saves/delivers.”
Scripture clearly points out that God gave up His one and only Son for our clemency (Colossians 1:21-23, 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18, Hebrews 9:11-14). He purchased us and restored us with the blood of His Son (Matthew 26:28). He did this because of His grace, His mercy, His love (Romans 8:28-39, Ephesians 1:4-8; 2:4-7).
Now ask yourself some questions. If you go to church, how often (and is it fruitful)? If you read the Bible, how often (and, how much)? If you surround yourself with Christians, how often (and who is setting the example)? You see, unless we do these things in great redundancy, that is with consistent discipline, we will easily slip right back into this world. We are to be encouragers and ambassadors. We are to be respectful and loving. We are to be patient and understanding. We are to forgive one another. We are to wash the feet of our fellow brothers. We are to do these things from the heart, without condition. Is this not what we want from God? So, just as God demonstrated with His love, we must not be one-sided or partial (Romans 3:22, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 2:14, Colossians 3:11). We cannot let God become second fiddle in our lives, nor can we assume that we are doing the right thing without first seeking Him. Just ask what happened to Uzzah when David tried to move the Ark without first consulting the Lord (2 Samuel 6:1-11, 1 Chronicles 13). We must make sure that our habits are the kinds of habits that put God first in what we think, say and do and not allow it to become misdirected zeal (Romans 10:2). These habits begin by spending more time at church, more time reading the Bible, and more time in fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters. These habits help build a solid foundation so that we learn to spend valuable time with Him, knowing Him better, absorbing His love, joy and peace (Psalm 119). But, as we learn from Martha's behavior (Luke 10:38-42), let's not get too bogged down by trying to serve Him more than getting to know Him. That is the very pitfall we fall into by allowing something else to become first in our lives such as focusing on salvation by works!
When we have fully accepted Jesus as the Messiah, our Savior, and develop a close, personal relationship with Him by studying and obeying His Words, then we know that God is first and center in our lives. His Spirit then becomes our communicator, guide and strength and we become united as one body!

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.” (Ephesians 2:1-3, Made Alive with Christ)
Read the story of the Gentile widow & Elijah in 1 Kings 17:8-16 to see the reward of putting God first!
Seekers, Finders (by C.H. Spurgeon)
Integrity (by Chuck Swindoll)
Created Wednesday, March 18, 2009