Put God F.I.R.S.T.
Tonight's discussion will be focusing on our own relationship with God, but before we get into that, has anyone had the opportunity to encourage someone else's relationship with God?
This Sunday Blaine taught us about the most important commandment in the bible: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. He explained that this means putting God first, and offered a helpful acronym when taking self inventory: F.I.R.S.T. (Focus, Income, Relationships, Security, and Time.)
In our efforts to place God first in everything, it's important to remember God is pleased with us when we offer him ourselves as living sacrifices. Chances are, you're completing this study guide and attending small group because you want to please God. Be encouraged by the fact that God does take pleasure in you placing him first.
Read Hebrews 13:16
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
1. As in everything, Jesus exemplifies what it means to put God first. Keeping in mind the acronym F.I.R.S.T. search the brief passage below for the different ways Jesus prioritized his father.
Read Mark 1:35
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed
In this passage what barriers did Jesus overcome to prioritize God?
What is one practical way that you prioritize God on a regular basis, what challenges do you face in doing so? (If you're feeling worried about being prideful while sharing, remember, we're reflecting with our brothers and sisters on our relationship with God to learn ABOUT one another and to learn FROM one another.)
2. Putting God first means something is going to be put last. There are positive and negative consequences to prioritizing God as in our life, but Christ makes it clear that the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Read Mark 10:28-30
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
Since we know that people who give up property and relationships for Jesus don't literally gain a hundred times as much property, what is Jesus saying to his followers?
What have you gained from placing God first? Share this with your group as an encouraging proof that Christs promises hold true today.
Bringing it Home
We know God deserves to be put first; we know how much there is to gain from doing so; and God's expectations are clear from scripture; and yet, there's always something else competing for first place.
Share your fight with your group or another disciple, and discuss how Jesus's death and resurrection enable you to uphold the first and greatest commandment.