Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Maximizing Ministry Part X.I – The First Commandment
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In asking you to put Him first, God simply desires the place that is rightfully His. When you understand who God is and His role in your existence, you realize that keeping Him first makes perfect sense. He both created and sustains you. If you invented a new and useful gadget, you might acquire a patent before releasing it to the public. If you were a painter, you might sign your artful work with a unique symbol. If you authored a book, you might register a copyright to protect your interests.
God has the patent to your soul (Genesis 1:27, Ezekiel 18:4). He made you fierce and wonderful (Psalm 139:14). He signed your blood with DNA, and prepared you with a cross (laminin). He numbered the hairs upon your head (Luke 12:7) and varnished your skin from His palette (Jeremiah 33:22). He authored your faith (Hebrews 12:2) and gave you a measure (Luke 17:6), then issued your license to His treasure (I Corinthians 6:19). He sent His Son to free you from bondage (John 3:16). He prayed for you (Luke 23:34) and made you a promise (II Chronicles 7:14). He opened the doors that no one could close (Revelation 3:8) and gave you a way to reach His throne (Acts 4:12, John 14:16). He goes before you and follows to guard (Isaiah 52:12). He knows your dreams (1 Samuel 16:7) and gives you the stars (Nehemiah 9:6). He planned your success (Jeremiah 29:11) and He’ll give you rest (Matthew 11:28-29), as soon as His gift you wholly accept (Romans 10:9).
The First Commandment
Scripture Basis: Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
God has invested so much in you! He wants to see you through to eternal life (II Peter 3:9). If you abide in God, which places Him at the center of your monotheistic worship, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7).
We are charged to give God His due glory (Psalm 29:2, Isaiah 43:7). In undervaluing Him, people do miss opportunities to experience His benefits; and disregarding Him completely is a provocation to wrath (Jeremiah 25:6). The Bible confirms God’s sovereign right to be the head of our lives. We see that there is no other god like Him who made heaven and earth (Exodus 15:11, Isaiah 44:8, 46:9, I Corinthians 8:6), before whom were none and after whom none shall be (Isaiah 43:10, Revelation 1:8). Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We must take care to keep Him at the center of our being, because He is jealous for our attention and devotion (Zechariah 8:2).
Tips on Keeping God First
The Ten Commandments are about consecration, setting yourself apart for God’s purpose. Since He will not dwell in an unclean temple, He is calling us to meet the conditions in order that we might become one with Him. A challenge is ever before us to achieve a higher calling. Here are some tips on keeping God first.
Practice. Keeping God first gets easier with practice because devotion is like a muscle. You have to exercise it in order for it to grow stronger; and if you do not exercise it, it atrophies from underuse. In serving God, every part of the body of faith has a job. So it is in your personal walk with Him. Every faculty available to you needs an assignment to help you stay on course.
Love God More. The key to keeping God first is love – it is your greatest tool (Corinthians 13:13) and the reins to all of the other implements. It takes love in order to be obedient. It takes love to override your ego when it conflicts with God’s will. Love conquers the selfish-desires of the flesh and makes you consider others (). If you love God, you will keep His commandments (John 14:15) by virtue of that love. And to those who love Him, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) as you overcome the world (I John 5:5). Perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18) and fosters holy boldness (Hebrews 4:16), which opens the door to God’s full capacity to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that you could ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20). God has not ordained fear as part of His awesome benefits package (II Timothy 1:7). When you love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind (Matthew 22:37), you enable your heart to trust in Him.
Have an Active Worship. In order to accomplish a lifestyle of primary devotion to God – having no other god before Him, you should develop an active worship (Do not get stuck on the word “worship.” It can encompass many behaviors (i.e. yours may not look like the person who was standing next to you, but is now running up the center aisle) as long as they are done in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24)) because serving Him is not human nature (Romans 3:23). You need a divine influence in order to live that lifestyle (John 6:44). When you are drawn to God, your consecration must be perpetuated in your life to avoid weakness.
Study The Word of God. You will need to study God’s Word and make them your standard. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Notice we said, “study,” and not “read” only. Now that you are contemplating the Ten Commandments, seeking a stronger relationship with God, it is time to start doing more than taking milk of the Word. You have to at some point move on to tough meat (Hebrews 5:12-14). Studying implies examining and thinking, searching, researching, developing questions and seeking accurate answers. For more on Bible study, read Maximizing Ministry Part I.
Trust in God. Rather than depending on your own knowledge (Proverbs 3:1-35), trust in God and you will have more peace. You will free yourself from worry about what tomorrow may bring and many other questions that are mere distractions from your most important task – to seek God (Matthew 6:31-33).
Spend More Time With God. You should grow to enjoy being in His presence, whether through worship, prayer, supernatural communion, or fellowship with other believers. Whatsoever your hands find to do for Him, spend less time procrastinating and more time getting it done (Proverbs 16:3).
Listen More. Seek God’s advice and guidance in your situations. Research topics that are important to you and need clarification. Source the Bible as you starting point to get a better understanding. Ask God, what would you have me to do, before asking what He can do for you.
Change Your Focus. Place more value on heavenly treasures than on things of this earth (Matthew 6:19-21). A change in your values may manifest in differences in the places you go, time management, who you choose to spend your time with, the words that you speak, and the desires of your heart. You should have a growing desire to please God, which will challenge you to increase your faith (Hebrews 11:6). The desires of you heart should change from self-centered ambitions to seeking the things that are above (Colossians 3:1-4). You may have the testimony of getting “everything you want” – but what you want may be different from past concerns, more God-ward, which make them more likely to be granted by a holy God.