What Does It Mean to Put God First and How Do We Do It?

The Lord desires for you to place Him first in your life, but He knows it can be hard with the worries of life. He wants you to come to Him and place Him first, for He is the One who ultimately establishes your steps.

Contributing Writer
Updated Jan 22, 2024
What Does It Mean to Put God First and How Do We Do It?

Placing God first in our lives is extremely important for us as believers. If we place God at the first and forefront of our lives, our lives will be full of joy, love, and grace. Choosing to place other things at the top of our lives will only leave us feeling hollow, hurt, and alone. Busy schedules, entertainment, technology, careers and success, even our kids can take first seat in our lives. While these things may be good for us, only God can satisfy our soul and it is His plan for our lives that will bring true fulfillment.

Putting God first means making Him the central and highest priority in your life. It involves giving God supremacy over all aspects of your existence, including your thoughts, actions, decisions, and values. Here are a few key verses that emphasize the idea of putting God first:

  1. Matthew 6:33 (NIV): "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." This verse from the Sermon on the Mount encourages believers to prioritize God's kingdom and righteousness above worldly concerns.

  2. Exodus 20:3 (NIV): "You shall have no other gods before me." This is one of the Ten Commandments, explicitly stating that God should be the foremost and exclusive object of worship and devotion.

  3. Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV): "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." This verse emphasizes wholehearted love and devotion to God.

  4. Proverbs 3:6 (NIV): "In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Acknowledging God in all your actions and decisions is a way of putting Him first.

Putting God first means aligning your life with His will, seeking His guidance, and prioritizing the fruit of the Spirit - those qualities and characteristics of a follower of Christ. It involves living in a way that reflects your love and devotion to God above all else, even in the midst of worldly distractions and challenges.

What is the reason we put God first? We put God first because he created us and loves us! Scripture promises us an abundant life for those who make it a goal to keep a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord. Let's look at why and how we can put God first.

1. We Put God First... For A More Joyful Life

Putting God first in our lives will enable us to live more joyful lives with the Lord. When we set up anything above God in our life, we are setting an idol above God. The Lord is clear that we must not have idols (Exodus 20:1-26: 1 John 5:21).

As Christians, our top priority in life needs to be God and serving Him. Even good things can become idols in our lives if we place them above God, such as family, friends, school, careers, or hobbies.

While these things are good in and of themselves, they can become idols if we place them above God. When we place God at the first and foremost of our lives, our lives will become more joyful.

As well-known Christian theologian, pastor, and writer John Piper has said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” (Desiring God). When we place God first in our lives, our lives will be more joyful because of Him. Without Christ, our days will be bleak and miserable.

The moment we place God first in our lives will be the moment that light can begin to shine in our hearts again.

2. We Put God First... Because He Is the Solid Foundation to Build Our Lives Upon

A second reason why we need to put God first in our lives is because God needs to be the solid foundation that we build our life upon. Jesus shared a parable of this truth during His early ministry.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).

We have to build our lives upon God’s Word, which is the Bible. When we build our lives with the solid foundation of God and His Word, our lives will be much more fulfilling, happier, and pleasing to God.

Without building our lives upon God, we can easily be blown away by the winds of life; however, when we place God first by building our lives upon Him and His Word, our lives will be much better and more joyful.

3. We Put God First... To Live Our Lives for Him

Living our lives for God is another reason why we need to put God first in our lives. When God is placed first and foremost in our lives, we will be able to better live our lives for Him.

As Christians, we should want to live our lives for God since He has extended such grace, compassion, and love to us.

The Holy Spirit can help us live our lives to God by walking in His steps. Paul tells us this about walking in accordance with the Holy Spirit, 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:16-18).

Living our lives for God will be a natural outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. If we do not place God first in our lives, we will not be able to live our lives truly for Him.

If we are not living for God, then we are living for ourselves. As believers, when we find this happening, we need to turn back to God and set our priorities straight.

4. We Put God First... So Everything Else Will Fit

A fourth reason why we need to place God first in our lives is that if we do place Him first, everything else that we need to do will fit. This was a lesson I learned from my Bible College teacher while I was taking an early college course.

She was teaching us that if we place God first in our lives, everything else will fit. We can place God first in our lives by setting up a marked part of our time day to devote to meeting with God in prayer, Bible reading, and reflection.

It is ideal to do this in the morning for the purpose that your mind will stay on Christ throughout your day. By placing God first in your morning schedule, everything else that you need to do for the day will fit.

Many people think that if you carve out time for a daily Bible study and time with God will eat away at your day, but this isn’t true.

Even if it means waking up a little bit earlier each day to spend time with God and reflect on His Word, it is worth it. You will quickly find that if you place God first in your life, everything else will fit.

5. We Put God First... So He Will Direct Our Paths

A final reason why we need to put God first in our lives is because He will direct our paths if we do. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

If we place our focus and establish God as first in our lives, He will direct our paths. When we follow God’s path for us, it will be filled with growth, joy, and love. It won’t always be easy, but it will be fulfilling, and it will be in obedience to following God’s Will.

When we refuse to place God first in our lives, it will be harder to follow God’s directions because He is not our focus. If you have found that you have been following your own path instead of God, you can turn back to Him today and place Him first in your life.

We may create plans for ourselves, yet God is ultimately the One who establishes our steps (Proverbs 16:9). Placing God first in your life will be a decision that you will never regret.

A life focused on God first and foremost will be a life full of good fruit for the Lord, spiritual growth, and service to God.

If you are not placing God first in your life today, you can start now. The Lord desires for you to place Him first in your life, but He knows it can be hard with the worries of life. He wants you to come to Him and place Him first.

How to Start Putting God First

Here are some practical ways you can actively pursue putting God first in your life:

  1. Daily Prayer: Begin and end your day with prayer, seeking God's guidance, thanking Him, and sharing your thoughts and concerns.

  2. Bible Study: Dedicate time to studying and meditating on the Scriptures to deepen your understanding of God's Word.

  3. Worship and Attend Church: Regularly participate in worship services and attend your local church or religious community for spiritual growth and fellowship.

  4. Fasting: Practice occasional fasting as a way to focus on spiritual matters and seek God's presence more intensely.

  5. Tithe and Give: Allocate a portion of your income to support your church and charitable causes, demonstrating your trust in God's provision.

  6. Serve Others: Engage in acts of service and kindness to reflect God's love and compassion to those in need.

  7. Avoid Idolatry: Be mindful not to prioritize material possessions, success, or relationships above your relationship with God.

  8. Seek God's Will: Before making important decisions, consult God in prayer and seek His guidance for direction.

  9. Community Involvement: Connect with fellow believers and engage in Bible studies, small groups, or ministries for mutual encouragement and accountability.

  10. Practice Gratitude: Cultivate a thankful heart by regularly acknowledging and appreciating God's blessings in your life.

By implementing these practical steps, you can consistently put God first and nurture a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him. When you place Him first and as the top priority in your life, you will be able to notice how much more joyful your life will become because of Him.

For further reading:

How Do We Seek First the Kingdom of God?

What Does it Mean to Be Without God?

How Can We Talk to God?

What Does it Mean to Seek God’s Face?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/lolostock



Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

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