All my twenty-three years of living, I’ve always claimed it, I’ve always heard people say it, and I’ve always believed it, but I never knew what it truly meant to put God first until now.
I’m sure you, as a believer in Jesus Christ or not, have heard or read people tweet about it or put it in their bio’s on Instagram, solely to let people know what they’re all about.
Maybe you’re that person. I’ll be the first to admit that I am guilty of that, and there isn’t a problem with it, right? It lets people know my priority, my belief, my views, and who I am.
But do we know what we are really saying when we say “God comes first in my life” or “God over anyone” or “I am second?” These are statements, so powerful and meaningful, which we throw out there all the time, but are we truly living by those words? I know I wasn’t.
Putting God first – My Story
I was always a long-term relationship type of girl. From middle school to college, I was in relationships, and when I got out of one, I’d jump into another one.
I’d say about four times. Now, it doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but considering my age, it was. In high school, I was in a relationship with this guy for three years. Now, that’s quite some time for being so young.
I thought I was to marry this guy. I thought, like every young girl out there, “This is it.” He was a sweet, timid guy. We made a great pair. Well, like the majority of all young relationships, we broke up.
It happened in my senior year. But the main concern about all of this is why I decided to break up with him. I told my parents it was because I wanted to focus on God, and put Him first.
Ultimately, that was a big, fat lie, but even I believed my lie. I used God as a crutch to justify my action when really I was talking to another guy that I wanted to be with.
So, I ended up leaving one guy for another, and how did that end up? We broke up too, eventually. And why may you wonder? It had to do with my relationship with God.
You see, I’ve always had a calling on my life, since I was young, probably as of 12 years old I knew exactly what it was. I knew God would one day send me to minister His work in a third-world country.
I knew He was going to use me in ways I couldn’t fathom. I didn’t make this up. A guest speaker at my church spoke this word over my life, and to this day, I truly believe in that word. So this “calling” would always be in the back of my head, and when I felt like I was off-track with God, I felt like my calling was put on hold.
Young me knew of what happens when we decide to follow our own desires, and not His. Young me knew right from wrong. Young me knew what I was capable of accomplishing, but what was preventing me from doing it.
Fortunately, I was raised in a church and I attended a private Christian school a majority of my adolescence. My parents were hardcore religious when I was younger. Like so hardcore that one day my brother came home from school dancing to the “Macarena” and my parents flipped bricks.
Church wasn’t a question of if we’d attend or not. It was a must. Some may argue the fact that parents should give their children a choice, but I am grateful for the way my parents raised me.
I wouldn’t change a thing because it has moulded me into how I am today. I’m not saying to be hardcore religious like my parents were, but know that today, I am choosing this lifestyle, by choice, not because of my parents.
Trust me, I’ve had my doubts with my faith, but I have seen, witnessed, and experienced too much to not believe. Nothing can shake my faith. I’m at this point in my life where I can breathe.
I can say that I am internally and externally happy. I am so sane at this moment in life, and I haven’t felt this way, ever. But I do not take any credit. I credit my parents and of course, the good Lord.
How I put God first in my life. The 3 Step Process
Wherever you are at in life, whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad, know that you are not facing any situation alone. Some may have it better, but a lot have it worse than you do.
You are not the first of your kind to face what you are going through. Life isn’t easy. It’s actually hard, and God intended it to be that way. We will go through tough trials and tribulations.
Even when we think nothing bad can come our way, BOOM. Life hits you hard. The book of James talks a lot about this, so I encourage you to check it out. It talks about how our faith will always be tested, especially as believers in Christ.
But if you stand strong and know who you are, you will be fine. Trust me. Easier said than done, of course, but having a relationship with God is the key ingredient to overcoming obstacles and difficult times.
I went through a process to get to where I am at right now. I am still going through it. The first step was recognition, the second was making a change, and the third, well, that’s the best part… being patient. Kidding.
It’s actually the hardest part. I will explain each step thoroughly so you have an idea as to what I am talking about. But, just know that this process is tough, rare, and requires a huge commitment, but gosh. So worth it.
I know the reward at the end of it all will be beyond what you and I can ever imagine. Like Chance, the Rapper says, “Are you ready for your blessings?”
Put God first – Recognition
As I said earlier, I always knew when I was off track with the ways of the Lord, but I’d never do anything about it. Or at times, I’d attempt to put God first, but would never give my 100%.
Being able to recognize that you are doing something wrong is better than not knowing at all. But not righting your wrong is even worse, especially for us believers.
After my last long-term relationship, I dated for a few months. I met multiple guys and would see who fit my expectations best. I downloaded multiple dating apps. I’ve been heart-broken and I broke hearts.
Life went on. Well, I was talking to this one guy. He was a sweetheart, goal-oriented, kind, educated, a believer, and tall! I really liked him and he liked me a lot. We went out for a solid month.
According to my list of expectations from a significant other, he met a lot of them. He claimed to put God first in his life. The key word is “claimed.” Not to get off track here, but it’s one thing to claim it and another thing to live it.
Getting to know him, I continued to like a lot of things about him but would notice that God was absent from our relationship even though we both told each other from the start that God comes first.
Well, one night I was going to go visit him for a little while. Before I did, I stopped by a Barnes & Nobles bookstore because I really wanted a book for work the next morning.
At work, there is downtime often, so a good book would be ideal for me to invest in. I was looking for a book I saw someone recommend on Facebook. So, I went to the Christian book section of the store, and couldn’t seem to find it, so I began to search for another one.
I’m pretty sure I gleamed across every book in those few aisles multiple times. I felt the pressure to just pick one already, so I did. I saw a nice looking cover of a book written by Levi Lusko called “Swipe Right.”
This book has been the best investment of my twenty-three years of living. It is a book I will treasure forever and pass down to my friends, family, and future children.
Currently, my friend from work has it, and that makes me happy because I know it will have a powerful message and effect on her. I can’t express into words the gratitude I have towards Levi. A pure genius he is!
I will summarize this book into one sentence as best as I can. It talks about God’s views on sex and romance, and what happens when we put our own desires aside for His. Yeah, I think I did pretty well at explaining the book properly.
But you do have to read it for yourself. It truly helps with the next step, which is making a change. I know it helped me make a change with only reading the first couple of chapters. I believe I got my money’s worth!
Put God first – Making a Change
This step may not happen overnight and needs a lot of commitment. For me, I am honoured to say that it did happen from one day to the next. It is possible, through prayer and faith.
After reading the first few chapters of this book, I knew what I had to do and that was to make a drastic change. I couldn’t continue what I was doing because something wasn’t right, and that was that God wasn’t first in my life.
So, I stopped talking to the guy I was talking to. It wasn’t because of something he did wrong. He was a good guy but just not the one for me. God told me, “How bad do you want it?” I made the choice to cut off any distractions and became sexually pure until marriage.
I chose to change my life, for real this time. I made up my mind and I’m never going back. I got a tattoo on my forearm that says, “redeemed” as a reminder that I am no longer the same person, and my past is put behind me.
I was reborn. I was a brand new person in Christ. I completely cut out all those lingering guys I’d text here and there when I was bored. I didn’t even have an urge to talk to a guy, which was rare for me because I was always talking or texting someone.
So, this was something new, and I got used to it quickly. Praise the Lord! Now, I’m not forcing you to cut off everyone and dump your current partner. There’s no problem with going on a date or texting someone of the opposite sex.
What I’m saying here is that you need to do whatever it takes to put God first, and if you can do that while being with your partner or keeping some ties, by all means, do it.
Hopefully, your partner or spouse is on the same page with you. It’ll make things a lot easier. I encourage you to pray hard before making any rational decision and pray for the person whom you are seeking. You’ll know what to do.
To help me stay busy, on top of college, work, the gym, my family, my best friend, church, and photography, I joined a young adults tribe at my church. I’m a busy body as you can tell.
I also got into the Word more, and I’ve never felt more close to God. I talk to God daily, as if I am talking to a friend because He is my friend. Being able to dig deep into the Scriptures made my relationship with Him grow stronger.
I take notes on selected chapters, analyzing each verse in my notebook. I made a huge change in my life and I couldn’t be happier. I know He was waiting for me to make this choice, and now that I did, the opportunity finally presented itself.
You guys: I’M GOING TO GO ON A MISSION TRIP. How fast and so sudden did His blessings unveil. My calling is unfolding. I knew this was the beginning to something beautiful. If all goes well, I will be going to Haiti.
Put God first – Being Patient
No one likes to wait. Whether it’s waiting for your mom to finish cooking dinner or waiting for your girlfriend to finish getting ready or waiting for that new scary movie to come out, no one likes it.
But in God’s eyes, being patient is one of the best things we can do, when we don’t know what to do. I often worry about what kind of career I’m going to have, where I will be in five years, how I’m going to get by, who I’m going to marry, etc.
There’s always going to be doubts and worries. It’s inevitable. What matters most is how we handle it and whom we put our trust in.
I know that God has a plan for each and every one of us. We will be where He wants us to be, eventually. Life will happen and our higher callings will play out. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” Philippians 1:6.
We just have to have faith and be patient in the meantime, but of course, still working hard, saving money, getting that degree, etc.
He will put us where we are needed most. Right now, you may not have a significant other, and that’s completely okay. The right one will come along. Don’t search for the right one, he or she will come to you in God’s timing.
Right now, you may not have the ideal career, and that’s okay too. You’re doing what you can. You are exactly where you should be at this very instance in life, so breathe. Relax. Focus on Him. Go to church.
Read the Bible. Pray hard. Lose yourself in worship music. Strengthen your relationships with family and friends. Surround yourself with fellow Christ followers. Stay humble and don’t give up. His blessings, whether spiritual or physical, will come in His perfect timing. Have patience, my friend.
It’s so exciting to me to know that what I am doing right now is exactly what God wants me to be doing. Where I’m at, is where He wants me. I was always so confused on if the guy I was talking to at the moment was the right one or not, and look where I’m at now. Completely focused on Him, to where I feel like I don’t need any other man in my life at the moment, besides my dad and dog, of course.
It’s just exciting knowing that when the day comes, it will be more than I could have ever imagined and so worth the wait. A true blessing. I can’t wait till the day.
I’m so excited that I’m preparing for my future spouse now, by being loyal to him, when I don’t even know who he is. I’m even praying to God about him. It sounds funny, but it’s actually quite thrilling, spiritually satisfying, and honouring to God.
Putting God first during Trials
I know this won’t be easy for you and I. We will be tempted, faced with problems, have worries and doubts, feel alone, and much more. The enemy will come in like a slithering snake at the moment when we think nothing can stop us.
Just know that God is always with us. He will never leave us and can help us get through anything. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phillipians 4:13. The choice is up to you and the time is NOW.
You can’t do what you want right now and then decide to make a change later for we are not promised tomorrow. Just know that you can make a life change from one moment to the next. Your past does not define you, for we are redeemed through Christ Jesus.
There are a lot of things left unsaid about my past, and I know if you knew every bit of it, you’d think differently of me, but it doesn’t matter what you and I think of myself.
It only matters what God thinks and how He views me. I can’t even begin to tell you of how perfect He sees me. Now, that’s true love.
I’ll go ahead and share one thing I am ashamed of. This is taking a lot for me to tell you, but I will because I want you to know how I overcame this so please bear with me.
After making my vow to become sexually pure and change my life, I immediately got hit with my first trial. BOOM. STD. I go to the doctor for my annual and my doctor immediately told me there was something abnormal.
I was afraid and nervous as to what it was that she was talking about. I had to wait five days for the lab results. Earlier, I talked about patience and how hard it is. Well, it was so hard for me, especially when waiting for the result of something that can be very serious and bad.
During this time, I wanted to doubt God so bad but just couldn’t do it. I will admit that I was afraid. I was fearful, but I held myself together and kept my faith strong.
I didn’t tell anyone other than my best friend, and she was there for me through everything, for which I am truly thankful for. I figured that this would be the first of many trials I’d go through as a changed woman in Christ.
Then those words came out from my doctor’s mouth on my next visit… “You have tested positive for Chlamydia.” My mind was racing and I couldn’t even grasp hold of these words I was hearing.
In case you are as clueless as I was, Chlamydia is an STI that can be passed on through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Most people who have chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms, so it’s always best to get tested if you’re sexually active.
Getting tested for chlamydia is simple and the infection can be easily treated with a short course of antibiotics. Left untreated chlamydia can lead to other health problems for both men and women. Having chlamydia also increases the risk of passing on, or being infected by HIV.
It didn’t feel real to me knowing I had this. I had only heard about this stuff. It was hard for me not to question God. It also felt ironic to me. I decide to become sexually pure and shortly after, I find out I have a sexually transmitted disease? Are you kidding me?
It’s easy to think that way, but our Father doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t plan things ironically, but purposely. He’s a good Father. He’s all about our faith, and I knew He was testing mine. He does this to make us stronger, so we can become mightier in Him and help others who go through similar situations.
I felt like God was saying, “Okay Alison, how will you handle this situation? How much faith do you really have in Me?”
What I had is such a common disease, according to my doctor. She made me feel a bit at ease when she mentioned how I only had to take two pills in one dosage and POOF, it would be gone. I feel like I got away with it. Like, that’s it? Two pills and my STD will vanish? Yeah, that’s how it worked.
I left that doctor’s office so relieved and happy to know that. I kept my faith and God was faithful. He always is. I am not lucky but blessed. I start to wonder what would’ve happened if I was diagnosed with something more serious.
How I would have reacted to God. Fortunately, I’ll never know, but I do know everything would have been fine in the end because God will always take care of His daughter.
So now, I no longer have this disease. I am set free. Isn’t God good? He is so good and I am so in love with Him. He holds my heart.
Ready to put God first?
We are so blessed and destined for amazing things in our lives. You and I are capable of greatness, regardless of our past.
Our past does not define who we are. Now, it may catch up or stay with you, like a serious STD or a pregnancy would.
But just know that anyone is capable of making a change, today, right where you are at. This change isn’t temporary, but an eternal lifestyle.
It’s so simple and easy to accept God in our lives. It’s a free gift. God has so much in store for us. We just have to open our arms wide and receive Him.
Put God first in your life.
Put God first in your marriage.
Put God first in your relationships.
Put God first in your business.
Put God first in your finances.
His blessings aren’t for some people, but for all. Will you put God first in your life? Are you ready for your blessings?
Mind On Jesus