If you grew up in church, you probably heard on a regular basis about the need to put God first. Making God your number one priority is a theme often taught at Vacation Bible Schools, often accompanied by slogans like,

“God first, others second, I am third."

And while these slogans and themes sound good, it can be hard to know exactly what it looks like to make God your highest priority. Should you pray and read your Bible first thing in the morning? Should you attend Bible studies every night of the week? If you don’t do these things, are you not putting God above everything else?

To answer these questions, we need to look at what the Bible says. In this article, we’re going to look to God’s word to see what it says about putting God first.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Why We Must Put God First

Is it really so important to make God your top priority? Can’t God just be one part of our lives, along with career, finances, hobbies, etc?

No, He can’t.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says,

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

This verse makes it clear that God is to hold the highest place in our hearts. Our greatest love and deepest affections must be given to Him. If we love something more than God, we are saying that thing is better and more valuable than God.

This is deeply insulting to God and devalues Him. We give our affections to the things we think are most important. If we love a sports team, we spend time watching games and wear clothes with the team logo. If we value our career, we spend hours at the office. If a man spends all his time at work and never makes time for his wife, it insults the wife. When we make something a higher priority than God, we’re declaring that it’s more deserving of our love than God is.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God is the greatest, most valuable, most precious thing in the universe. In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus spoke of God’s inestimable value:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

When we don’t put God first, it’s like finding a priceless treasure in a field. But instead of selling everything we have so that we can buy the field, we bury the treasure and never think about it again. It’s treating treasure like trash.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

"The scourge of the twenty-first century is half‑hearted Christianity. Half-hearted Christianity will not do it. It never could. But surely not in these times. Are you seeking for Christ with all your heart? Is there anything in your life you love more than the Lord Jesus Christ? If so, then my friend, that thing—whatever or whoever it is—has become an idol in your life. Realizing that, what steps can you take today to remove it from the throne and put Christ back in His proper place in your life?"

We tend to think of idols in terms of statues of false gods. But the reality is that anything we love more than God is an idol.

Putting God First Bible Verses

The Bible has quite a bit to say about the need to make God our top priority. Here are some additional verses to consider:

Matthew 6:31-33

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:31-33)

Obviously, food, drink, and clothing are very important. But this verse tells us that we are to seek God first and trust Him to provide for all our needs. It’s easy to become so preoccupied with meeting our own needs that we neglect our most important need: God. If we seek God above everything else, He’ll meet every other need that we have.

Matthew 10:38-39

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:38-39).

Jesus calls every person to take up their cross and follow Him. To take up your cross means to die to ourselves and to follow Jesus above everything else. If we try to “find our lives” (put ourselves first), we will ultimately lose. But if we put Jesus first and seek Him most, we will find ourselves.

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:17).

Everything we say and do should be done in a way that honors Jesus. Our speech should point people to the Lord and help them love God more. Our deeds should glorify God and show how great He is. At work or home, with friends or strangers, our lives should be centered on Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

We are to acknowledge God in all our ways. This means that every action we take and decision we make should be done with God at the center. God must hold the place of highest importance, and the way we live should reflect this reality.

Helpful Tools and Resources on Christian Priorities

God’s Desires For You: A Biblical Guide

What are God’s desires for us? The good news is that the Bible makes it very clear what God wants of us.

Read More >

How To Put God First Every Day

Practically speaking, how do you make God your top priority each day? There are a number of simple actions you can take.

Read The Bible

The Bible is God’s word, and in it we learn what God is like, what He desires for us, and how we can please Him.

By reading the Bible each day and seeking to do what it says, we put God first in our lives.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

"Now, you cannot love someone that you do not know. And you can not know someone that you don't spend quality time with. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to trust Him. To trust Him is to obey Him. And to obey Him is to be blessed...And it begins with a quality quiet time, daily communication with the Lord."


Through prayer, we lay our hearts open before the Lord. We ask Him to strengthen, encourage, and refresh us. We ask Him to give us the power to obey Him. We tell Him what we need and appeal to Him to meet us in our weakness.

In response to our prayers, God works in our lives. He does great things and helps us to live in a way that pleases and honors Him.


We can’t live the Christian life on our own. We need to be in a community with other believers who can encourage us and point us toward the Lord. We need to serve them and lay our lives down for them. Being a Christian isn’t just about our personal walk with the Lord. Rather, we are called to live in community with other Christians.

A Lifelong Process

Learning to put God first is a lifelong process. There will be times when we succeed and times when we fail. The good news is that our hope is not ultimately in ourselves, but in Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, always putting God first. He truly did love God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength.

If we have believed in Jesus, then God credits Jesus’ perfect righteousness to us. He looks upon us as if we have always made God our top priority. Even when we fail, we are still completely righteous in Christ.

The more we read the Bible, pray, and fellowship with others, the more success we’ll have in making God our top priority. But when we stumble, we can still come confidently back to God, knowing He fully accepts us in Christ.

More Helpful Tools and Resources about Christian Priorities

What Are God’s Commandments?

What are God’s commandments and how can we know them? To answer this question we must look at what the Bible says about what God desires for us.

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What Is Worship According To The Bible?

What is worship to you? The reality is that worship is more than just music. If we want to honor God, we need to understand the nature of true worship.

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What Is The Essence Of The Christian Life?

Everyone has a different answer, but what does God say about a Christian life? That’s what matters most. To answer that question we need to look to the Bible.

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Related Articles and Sermons about Putting God First

The Incredible Power of Proper Priorities, Part 1 (1703)

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The Incredible Power of Proper Priorities, Part 2 (1704)

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Things That Count

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