Don't put God first.
It's a bold statement. What I’m suggesting you do is contrary to what many of us have heard all our lives: Put God first, then yourself, your wife (if you’re married), then your children or family, then your church… The order and contents of the list may be somewhat different depending on whom you ask, but God is always first.
So, if the general consensus is to “put God first”, why would I say otherwise?
We all know that humans are given to idolatry. We worship many things, intentionally or otherwise. What makes this worse is anything can be an idol – money, your job, your spouse, your car, your church. The list is endless. The Old Testament is filled with people who loved God but idolized things. The Bible tells the story of the people of Israel, fresh out of slavery in Egypt, waiting at the foot of Mount Sinai for Moses to return from speaking with God. They became impatient and turned toward idols and away from the God who saved them. “They gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us’” (Exodus 32:1 NIV).
"We all know that humans are given to idolatry. We worship many things, intentionally or otherwise."
I’ve struggled with idols of my own. Most recently, I’ve found that I have been idolizing my relationship with my wife. Although we both are moving forward in our relationships with the Lord, I have found myself putting more and more emphasis and focusing specifically on the things that make her happy.
Please don’t misunderstand my message here.
Loving and caring for your spouse is of utmost importance in God’s Kingdom. He designed marriage and families specifically to provide a strong foundation for the church, and we should do everything we can to nurture those relationships. (Even small things matter. I joke that coffee is one of my wife’s love languages, and I love serving her by taking her a cup most mornings.) That said, however, when our marriage, or even more specifically our spouse, becomes the center of our attention, we lose focus on God’s involvement in our relationship.
So, if I’m not supposed to put God at the top of my list, where does He go?
God belongs at the center of everything.
The creator of the universe is not a box to check off. The relationship he wants with you isn’t just a brief prayer in the morning and a blessing at dinner time. God should be involved in every aspect of your life – your job, your serving, your finances, and, yes, especially your marriage. He loved you enough to allow His only Son to die so that you can live. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). So, gladly and thankfully make a place for Him in everything.
Ok… what should I do?
I encourage you to do these three things to help keep God at the center of your life:
Identify those things in your life that have become idols – the things from which you have excluded God.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will help take your focus off of those things you idolize and put it back on God.
3. Be Mindful
Be mindful of the things you do each day, and put God in His rightful place at the center of it all. “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:6 NLT).
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my wife a cup of coffee.