Putting God first . . .

That sounds easy, right?

Or maybe it just sounds like what we should do, but we know it’s not actually what we really do. We are so easily distracted by work, family, hobbies that we often feel guilty that God has fallen to the bottom of the pile. 

But what if we don’t need to change our thinking about our activities? What if we simply change our attitudes about our activities?

So often we think that our time at church or reading a devotion or watching a Your Time of Grace video is our God time. Really, all of our time is God’s time. So when we invest that time in our relationships, work, abilities, and hobbies, we are using the gifts he’s given to serve him, serve others, and bring him glory. We use our work and our friendships as opportunities to love people so they will ask about the hope that we have.

Will we get this perfectly? Nope. But two steps forward and one step back is better than one step back and then another step back.

Here are two small steps to help get you on the right track: 

1. Focus on God. Obviously. Read your Bible, set aside time to pray. But don’t limit it to the morning. Want to send a text? Pray a quick little “God, please be with them” as you hit send. Talk to him as you work through your to-do list. Running kids to their extracurriculars? Pray, “Thank you God for sports. Let them use the bodies you created to exercise, to learn how to be part of a team, to thank you for lessons learned from success and failure.” Or “Thank you for their band lessons, for blessing us with music. Help them play for your glory.”

As you work, thank God for the brain he gave you. Are you good at math? (I have no experience with this.) Praise him for the order of math. Are you better with words? (This is me, raising my hand.) Thank him for language and communication.

As you sit and rest, don’t guilt yourself for not being busy. Thank him for time to really enjoy downtime—and people to share it with. 

All these seemingly small things are simply an acknowledgement that whatever you do, you recognize that every good and perfect gift is from above.

2. Focus on yourself. Wait, that sounds strange in a post about putting God first. But really, I mean stop looking to other people’s gifts and wishing they were yours. Stop looking to other people for approval. God gave you your gifts for his glory. Use them. Not to earn his approval; he already approves of you. Stop looking for validation from a source that will not (because it cannot) provide eternal validation. Maybe that means you take a social media break. Maybe it means instead of wishing you had other people’s blessings, you thank God for theirs and ask that they would use them for his glory. You have plenty of your own work in front of you. Don’t waste time by looking at someone else’s.

What are some ways you help keep God first? Let me know! I’d love to hear them.

Linda Buxa is a writer, Bible study leader, and retreat speaker. It’s only taken her until her mid-40s to start thinking more about God’s opinion and less about others’.

 

 

Watch today's Your Time of Grace video about putting God first.