by: Nicholas Costello
You shall have no other gods before me.
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
As a Christian, the very idea of putting Christ First in our lives is a common concept. You may hear it taught regularly in your church or small group, and maybe you’ve even declared it with confidence when talking to others about your faith.
The preeminence of God in scripture is very clear from the first commandment (Exodus 20:3), “You shall have no other gods before me.” To the great commandment (Matthew 22:37-38), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
Putting Christ first is practically demonstrated when we study God’s Word, pray by faith, and worship with others in community. What I’m prone to do, and see if this resonates with you… I tend to make putting Christ first a daily checklist. And I think that’s certainly a helpful and practical thing to do.
We create a checklist that goes like this:
- Did I read my Bible first thing in the morning? …Check
- Did I pray today? …Check
- Am I generous with my resources of in supporting and serving my local church? …Check
Are these things good? Absolutely! In fact, they’re all great!
But, I’m not suggesting that “Christ First” means that He is first in a list of priorities, but that He is preeminent in our lives. He is greater than all others and guiding every moment.
The Apostle Paul encourages us in Romans 12:1 with these instructions, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Paul is saying that our very lives are an offering and even worship! If you work in the business environment, your ethics and decisions are based on principles that are foundational in God’s Word. At school or in a secular environment, your relationships and words are honoring and kind. We live generously and graciously toward others.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul says our lives (or attitudes and behaviors) are literally letters of recommendation for the gospel. When we live surrendered to God’s Word and work, we are putting Christ first in every area of our lives. So, “Christ First” is not so much a list of things we do, but a reflection of who we are in Him.