Key #9 to Happiness – Putting God First
We all have priorities in life. When it comes to happiness people all have different goals, needs, hopes and desires. What makes one person happy may not even come close to satisfying another. Whatever is most important to us will always come first in our lives. That which we love the most will always be our highest priority. The things and people that bring us joy and happiness will always get the most of our time and attention. So, the question is this, what matters most to you? What is the first priority of your life? Is it your family, children, career, money, material things? Is it achieving fame or status? Maybe your appearance is most important to you? First identify what you are actually putting first in your life. Discover why it so important to put God first and what happens when other things and people come before God. Lastly learn specific ways to put God first and help you begin to put God first in your life right away.
Lamentations 3:40 (New International Version)
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
Psalm 26:2 (New International Version)
Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
Identifying what you really put first in your life:
Learning what your true priorities are in life is really pretty simple to do. Start by asking yourself this, “what do I spend my time, energy and effort on most?” If you have to, grab a piece of paper and pen and roughly write out a list of what you generally do each day, from start to finish, first thing in the morning to bedtime. Can you recognize any patterns or things of special interest? Whatever you devote most of your time, money, energy, and efforts to is what you are putting first in your life. God knows the truth and He knows your heart. He knows what means the most to you and where you’re true devotion lies.
Deuteronomy 6:5 (New International Version)
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Jeremiah 17:10 (New International Version)
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
Do not worry God is so full of love. God is faithful to forgive us.
1 John 1:9 (New International Version)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Putting God first is important for obtaining happiness:
Putting God first is extremely important for many reasons, but one of those reasons is that it does produce happiness in our lives. The reason we should put God first is because of our love for Him. We should find happiness and joy in putting God first. Happiness is not the reason or the motive it is the reward, it is the harvest, and it is the blessing. How exciting and wonderful this is. Our reward for making God our first priority is happiness and joy and blessings.
Psalm 37:4 (New International Version)
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
If you delight in the Lord he will give you the desires of your heart. There is true happiness in delighting in the Lord.
Psalm 35:9 (New International Version)
Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation
Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You choose and cause to come near, that he may dwell in Your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.
Psalm 112:1 (Amplified Bible)
PRAISE THE Lord! (Hallelujah!) Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.
Matthew 6:32-34 (Amplified Bible)
For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. But seek ([a]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([b]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [c]taken together will be given you besides. So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
Putting God first is more than a goal to keep in mind. Putting God first is the main ingredient to happiness. Without God being first in your life the recipe for happiness will not ever come out right. No matter how hard you try, you can not make yourself happy and other people (all in themselves) can not make you happy either. It also makes sense that no inanimate thing can bring happiness either. Only God can give us an abundant and fruitful life.
The outcome of failing to put God first in our lives:
When we fail to put God first we fail miserably. We do not reach happiness. We then turn to other things and try to replace the missing ingredient in our lives. We turn to habits, addictions, we try to fill our time and entertain our minds and we seek alternate means of pleasure. We discover that nothing else could ever be enough. It is like trying to bake a cake without flour. It is like a turkey sandwich without turkey. It could never satisfy because it is missing the main ingredient!
God wants for us to seek Him first and to delight in Him. He wants to be the one to give us happiness, joy and abounding blessings! When we try to please ourselves or seek out happiness on our own apart from God, not only do fail to find it, we also slip farther and farther away from Him and our only real hope of happiness. We end up angry, sad, depressed and feeling unloved and unaccepted.
Cain is not a favorite of most people. He is known and remembered for killing his brother Abel out of cold blood. We can actually learn a lot from the story. Take a moment and read it.
AND ADAM knew Eve as his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Cain; and she said, I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord. And [next] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering, But for Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.
Cain felt dejected, and when God did not respect or accept his offering it made him exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. This is the same outcome for us when we fail to put God first. We end up allowing sin to master us and we achieve the exact opposite of happiness.
Specific ways to put God first in your life:
In looking at the story of Cain again we read that God saw how Cain was behaving, and He noticed how Cain was feeling. He came to Him in love much the way any loving parent would go to their child. He asked Cain why he was feeling that way, even though He all ready knew the answer. He questioned Cain saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” He also explained that if he didn’t do well he was only opening himself up to trouble. Sin is there waiting at our door, it desires us but we must master it through Christ Jesus.
Here are some specific things we can do to put God first, but be creative, and find new ways to show God you love Him and you are so happy and full of joy because of Him. The basic idea is to put Gods will above your own. If you really want to you can think of endless ways to demonstrate how much God really means to you.
Keys to happiness exercise:
- Read the Word of God and desire to do well and follow God’s commands. Find happiness and joy and take delight in God.
- Begin each day in devotion to God. In prayer, study, and praise. Offer God your first time. It is a very special time of day to seek God and pray. We are rested and alert and blessed to have a new day.
- Offer thanks to God for your food and drink and give God of your first fruits. Be sure to give to God and toward the Kingdom of God. Give as Abel gave. Give God of your first and best. Give with a glad heart and offer up your praises to God too.
- Trust God to provide your heart’s desires and all of your needs. God promises that if we seek the kingdom of God first that God will make sure to provide all we need.
- Seek God first in all aspects of your life. Seek God first in regard to relationships, finances, dreams, hopes and desires, in your career and in every part of your life.
- Attend Church (if you don’t all ready)
- Begin a spiritual journal devoted to bible study and prayer.
In conclusion, God loves you and wants you to be happy. God wants to provide you with all you need and even your heart’s desire. God has proved His great love to us by giving His only Begotten Son so that our sins might be forgiven and so that we can have life everlasting in Christ Jesus. He gave His ALL for all of us. Jesus gave His all. He willingly and lovingly gave His life on the cross as a perfect, sinless sacrifice for our sins. There is no greater love than the love of God. His love, His salvation, His happiness and joy are all gifts from God to you. All you have to do is believe it, accept it, confess it and live it. Begin to put God first right now and begin to live life more abundantly!
John 3:16 (New International Version)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 6:47 (New International Version)
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
John 10:10 (New International Version)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Previous Happiness Lessons:
How to find Happiness – 15 Lesson Series – Overview
How to find Happiness – Introduction
How to find Happiness – Key #1 – A relationship with God
How to find Happiness – Key #2 – Being Thankful
How to find Happiness – 15 Lesson Series – Overview
How to find Happiness - Key #4 – Learning How to forgive others
How to find Happiness - Key #5 – Living in the present
How to find Happiness - Key #6 – Overcoming fear
How to find Happiness - Key #7 – Giving of your money
How to find Happiness - Key #8 – Giving of your time
May you find happiness through giving of yourself! Check in next week for another key to happiness. Get notified via e-mail