Our church recently began a 4-week series entitled \”Living the Blessed Life\”. The first week, I preached a message called Principle of Firsts, in which we found that God has an expectation of being first in our lives. He[God] won\’t take 2nd place nor will he ultimately receive the \”seconds\” that many times we insist he receive from us. This important in the thought process for the blessed life, since if he is placed first, then everything else (being second) is blessed and supplied. In that message I expressed a truth found in scripture that stemmed all the way back to the time of Cain and Abel. For so long, theologians have debated the reason that God accepted Abel\’s offering, but not Cain\’s. We found in the scripture that it was due to Abel offering the fat of the firsts of his flock, whereas Cain simply gave \”some\” of the fruit of the ground. The principle of acceptance is found in the firsts things firsts with God.
But as I was listening to another message from a minister on the West coast, it occurred to me the profound truth that God expresses following the offering \”scandal\”. Cain gets angry and God says to him that \”if you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you don\’t do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.\” Now taking into consideration the truth that Cain didn\’t place God in honor as the first priority in his life, the statements that God makes to Cain begin to make more sense.
It is easier to deal with sin and sinfulness and gain victory over it, when God is placed as the First in our lives! Without the focus on God as First, then all other things begin to come in to the view of our lives and brings with it enticement. In other words, sin crouches at the door of our hearts waiting to pounce upon us and bring us down. Like a cat strategically waiting for its moment to strike upon the prey it is hunting, sin will bring enticement after enticement until we are vulnerable and \”weak\” enough to be attacked and utterly destroyed. Cain hears this but then has to realize that he must master the sin as well, in other words he has to gain control over it. God is implying that when he is first, this is easier, but when we are first its tougher to do. Once you have given in to the enticements of the enemy, and he gains a foothold in your life, it becomes increasingly more difficult (NOTE: NOT IMPOSSIBLE), to overcome sinfulness in our lives.
A side note attribute of God not being first, we find in the curse placed upon Cain after he slays Abel in anger….\”you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.\” A vagrant doesn\’t have a home, and has no real rest in his/her life. They go from one place to the next without being able to grow roots and settle. Its an uneasiness or unsteadiness in their lives. James refers to this as a double mindedness, not able to settle in and focus on any one particular thing; being pulled in two differing directions. Almost like a limbo in a persons life, they will walk aimlessly through without a true sense of destiny or purpose or plan! How devastating to be labeled as this, all because God wasn\’t placed first in their lives. Not only this, but think about the natural outcome of this….in the society in which they lived at the time, everyone knew everything about everyone since they were all family. SO then not only is the life you live insecure, but you are known as one who suffers consequences of placing God close to the front but not really first; beneath your own personal convictions and heart.
It just seems like it isn\’t rocket science to have God placed as first in all things in our lives! What say you? Is He first, or are you finding yourself now scrambling to find yourself, your identity, purpose, calling, etc.