Putting God first in your life doesn’t mean literally locking yourself away from the world so that you focus on Him continually (though if you are called to be a monk, priest, or nun, that is between you and the Lord alone). However, having a Christ-filled walk requires a drastic change in your heart – which may mean changing your lifestyle, habits, or even foods/drinks you consume. Why? Because the moment you accept Jesus as your personal Savior, you are agreeing to live your life differently. You can’t help but be changed in response to what God has done to redeem you from your past life of sin.
Walking in Newness
While we are never free from sin, or even free to sin, sin abounds nonetheless – even after we claim the Lord for ourselves. The difference becomes knowing when temptation strikes, and what we do to respond. If we give in, that is sin. Things happen, angers flair, people entice us. The moment we recognize our error and repent, we are forgiven! No brow-beating necessary (even if we feel ashamed enough about what we did). The caution here is with not doing everything in our power to refrain from sin, because in knowingly sinning while we are sinning is in itself sinful. Thinking that Jesus is there to “cover us” and taking that as an invitation to sin anyway so we can ask for forgiveness later is a grave mistake. God does not like being bargained with or made as a cheap token-God. He is real, wanting us to be conscious of our actions and thoughts as much as possible each day. That is why each temptation is a choice (of free-will), and He always hopes we choose wisely. When we don’t, and are truly sorry for not mimicking “What Would Jesus Do?” for all the decisions we face in a day, He knows the difference between our trite prayers and heartfelt ones. He knows our unrighteousness is like filthy rags, and we need Him each day.
Where the Mind is, So is the Heart
In order to cope with living in the world, we have to be out there experiencing life with others. If we are supposed to be “going out into the world” to reach the Good News to people that have never heard it, we have to put God first in our lives, by taking time out regularly to read and understand the Bible’s teachings, including everything that Jesus commanded, including having the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control; and putting on the Armor of Spiritual Warfare. As others see the way in which we conduct ourselves, they will be drawn to hear what we have to say – not the other way around!
Doing All for the Glory of Christ
Is has been said that everything that we do should be a reflection of Christ in our lives – this includes giving Him the glory in how we eat, drink, and communicate with others. Why? Because our conduct is so important as our testimony of the Lord! Those who are gluttonous in regard to hording meals or buying only the best portions for themselves are surely concerned only about themselves. Those who curse and grumble (no distinction between cursing and not, since the two can be equally bad) can do just as much harm to their reputations and turn people away from God as preaching spiritual truths to people who are not interested in hearing them. Indeed, kind and humble words and actions are ten times more convincing to anyone, let alone those who are eager to learn more about God.