Covey’s Habit #3 – Put First Things First
Christian Habit #3 – Have no other god before the LORD
Isn’t it kind of weird that Dr. Covey would list a habit to “put first things first” as habit #3, instead of habit #1? Wouldn’t it make more sense to list this as habit #1? When it comes to Christian life, to be a highly effective Christian, there is absolutely no other way than to put God first. The one and only great God (Psalm 86:10), the great ‘I AM’ who does wondrous things, made it very clear, as he commanded his people, that “we should have no other god before the LORD (YHWH)”.
The first requirement for us is that we must be Holy as God is Holy (Leviticus 19:1-2) and His first commandment to us is that we should have no other god before the LORD. This kind of goes hand in hand. To be Holy is to start by having no other god before the LORD. But you and I know that this is easier said, than done. When it comes to decisions of life, we often place God in the back burner. Our families, our work, our hobbies, take more precedence. We at times even end up idolizing other pursuits over God.
Interestingly, the LORD does not want to be just the FIRST, but the FOREMOST; not just a PRIORITY, but PREEMINENT in our lives. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “PREEMINENT” as having paramount rank, dignity, or importance; outstanding, supreme. This word is rooted in the Latin verb stem “-minēre,” meaning “to stand out.”
Point(s) to ponder:
When you think of your life and the pursuits you are after, what is it that comes to your mind. Position, Power, Pleasure, Family, Business, Work, Sports, Wealth, … Make a list of that and see where in that list is the LORD placed (that is if He even made it into that list).
Now remind yourself of the first of the 10 commandments, that is, we should have no other god before the LORD and also remind yourself of what Jesus said, “Seek Ye FIRST the kingdom of God” and if I may take the liberty to say, all these things (whatever was in your list) will be added unto you, if it is in the permissive will of the LORD. If you’d like, you can now, scratch out the list you made and replace it with just one word – LORD.
To be a highly effective Christian, we ought to make God not just a priority, but PREEMINENT (having paramount rank, dignity and importance) in our lives. He must “stand out” in our lives, so that the cloud of witnesses, those observing us, will see an “outstanding” God in us. We must put first things first, i.e., have no other god before the LORD and put God First.
For related reading, see “The first requirement is to …” and “The Final Matter …”
Matthew 6:31-33 (KJV)
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Exodus 20:1-3 (KJV)
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.