Keeping First Things First
When we honor God with the first and best, He blesses the rest.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- First (protos): first, chief, before, best, first, first importance, first of all, first one, first things, first time, foremost
- You don’t have to get everything right; just make sure you get the first things right
- First things belong to God (Exodus 13:2, Leviticus 27:26, 30, 32, Deuteronomy 26:1-4)
- When we release to God what belongs to Him, his hand of blessing is on the rest
- What is done with our “first” governs what happens to all the rest
Matthew 6:31-34 What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so that you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
“When you put first things first, second things are not suppressed but they are increased.” -C.S. Lewis
Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
- When you pray (not if); the assumption is that prayer, fasting, and giving are all part of our Christian life
- This is to be God-aimed, not meant to impress people
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
- What you sow in secret as you seek the Lord is rewarded in the open
Jeremiah 33:2-3 Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, ‘Call to me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
- You gain a vantage point in the place of prayer that you would not otherwise have
- Prayer creates an atmosphere for your life and puts you in touch with heaven
Matthew 6:17-18 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
- Definition: a voluntary denial of the flesh in order to heighten your spiritual life
- Fasting helps us shut down the noise and more accurately tune into God
- Different forms of fasting: the denial of food, the denial of a certain activity, solitude
Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”
- We are called to honor God with our first and best financially by giving of our tithe
- 90% blessed is better than 100% cursed
- When we prioritize God in our giving, He pours blessing out over our lives