Who is the most important person in your life? Your spouse or partner? Your kids? Your parents? In the world in which we live, those are probably the most natural and predictable responses. For some people, it may not even be a person that occupies the top spot in their lives – it might be their job, a pet, or even an addiction.
As Christians, however, we need to consider carefully our answer to this question – and the implications that our answers have on our faith walk.
In Matthew 10:37, Jesus makes a statement that many Christians struggle to accept and/or apply to their lives. The NIV version says this: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” The NLT version renders “not worthy of me” as “not worthy of being mine”.
It is a difficult concept to get your head around. Many new believers question exactly what that means. Surely, they ask, God doesn’t expect me to give up my family for Him? No, He doesn’t. But what He is concerned with is our priorities. What God is asking in this passage of the Bible is for us to put our relationship with Him first, before everyone and everything else in our lives.
Created to be in relationship with God
When God created mankind, in the very beginning, before the Fall, His one desire was to be in relationship with mankind, with Adam and Eve. He walked with them every day in the garden of Eden. The Fall, however, made that kind of relationship impossible because sin separated us from God (until Christ came to reunite us with the Father). But the Fall didn’t change the fact that we were created to be in a relationship with God. Neither did it change God’s fierce desire to have that closeness of relationship with us again.
It is human nature, therefore, to seek people or things to fill the hole that our separation from God has left inside us.
Family and friends and jobs and pets are just some of the things that we grasp and put first in our lives. With salvation, the act of accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the relationship with the Godhead is restored when we are washed clean of sin by the blood of Christ, but often by the time we have accepted the gift of salvation, the first place, the one God should now be occupying in our lives, is already taken by something else.
When Jesus says that no one who puts someone else before Him in their relationship hierarchy is worthy of being His, He is effectively reminding us what we were created for: relationship with Him.
It’s not necessarily that He is asking us to stop loving our family and friends (although in some extreme situations people can feel as though they have to choose between God and their family), but rather that we love Him more, and that we put Him in absolute first position in our lives.
Nothing should be more important than Him – because there is nothing more important to Him than us.
Sometimes, loving God more and putting Him first does mean that sacrifices have to be made.
The message of Matthew 10:37 is that God’s poll-position in our lives cannot be compromised. Therefore, if we have someone or something in second place to God’s first place, and that person or thing is pulling us in the opposite direction to the one God is pulling us in, we have a choice to make.
If we choose anything other than
God’s will for our lives, we are denying that He is first in our lives, and therefore making ourselves unworthy of being in an intimate relationship with Him.
If we are to be worthy of being in a relationship with Him, His will must override all other influences and demands on our lives. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus reminds us that “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
That said, here are a few bible verses about putting God first to ponder upon.
Bible Verses About Putting God First
Matthew 6:31-33 KJV
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:24 KJV
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Colossians 3:17 KJV
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Matthew 22:37-40 KJV
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like, unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Mark 12:30 KJV
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Galatians 2:20 KJV
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Matthew 6:19-21 KJV
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 15:8 KJV
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Romans 1:16 KJV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Philippians 4:13 KJV
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Luke 12:31 KJV
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Colossians 1:17 KJV
And he is before all things, and by him, all things consist.
John 15:5 KJV
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 11:3 KJV
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.
Proverbs 3:9-10 KJV
Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
John 15:16 KJV
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Romans 8:5 KJV
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
1 John 4:9 KJV
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Psalm 27:4 KJV
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 KJV
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.