Putting God First

May 6, 2016

“…but you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will come to you as a matter of course.” (Matthew 6:33, J. B. Phillips)

The message of the entire Bible can be summed up in two words: “God First.” That is not easy.  In fact, that is impossible without the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).  This concept is not complicated, but we complicate it because we do not want to put God first.  However, over and over again in the Scripture the bottom-line truth in a Psalm, in the life of a Bible character, in a parable, a metaphor, and a teaching of Jesus will come down to this simple concept: “God First.”

I was blessed with a godly mother.  She often said to me: “If Jesus Christ is anything to you, then Jesus Christ is everything to you.  Because until Jesus Christ is everything to you, Dick, He isn’t really anything to you.” As I have carefully studied the values of Jesus Christ, I have realized that my mother had the support of the Lord when she brought my profession of faith to a verdict the way she did.

Matthew 6:33 is the conclusion of a study Jesus gave regarding values. He taught that our heart is where our treasures are. He challenged us with questions like: “Where is your heart? What are your treasures? What is your life? What is your body?” and “Who is your master?”

Think of a target with a bulls-eye surrounded by ten or twelve circles.  According to Jesus, the bulls-eye of our priority target should be that our first value is God.  We are to put Him first.  If we do that we have the promise of Jesus that God will bless us with everything we need.

Are you putting God first?

Dick Woodward, 09 November 2010

Eternal Values: Inner vs. Outer

July 8, 2014

…This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in common earthenware – to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us.”  2Corinthians 4:7 (J.B. Phillips)

Many years ago the famous American statesman, John Quincy Adams, was crossing a street.  Due to his poor health it took him five minutes to reach the other side. A friend passing that way asked, “How is John Quincy Adams this morning?”  He replied, “John Quincy Adams is doing just fine.  The house he lives in is in sad disrepair. In fact, it is so dilapidated, John Quincy Adams may have to move soon, but John Quincy Adams is doing just fine, thank you!”

John Quincy Adams had good theology.  To make a clear distinction between the inward man, (our spiritual man who is eternal), and the outward man, (our body which is temporal), and clearly value the inward man above the outward man, is a vital dimension the Apostle Paul shares with us in II Corinthians chapters 4 and 5.

According to Paul, the outward man does not always know why things happen the way they do. Therefore, the outward, physical man is often perplexed. However, Paul tells us that in our inward man, there is a continuous persuasion because Christ lives in us. Paul writes that the outward man is persecuted and suffers, but in the inward man there is a Person Who is continuously assuring us, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Speaking from his own experiences of suffering, illness and persecution, Paul acknowledges that sometimes our outward man gets knocked flat. Sometimes our little clay pot gets knocked down, but never knocked out. Because there is a Great Treasure living in our clay plot, we always get up and keep going.

Dick Woodward, In Step with Eternal Values