Definition: First place, as used here, can be defined as that which is given preeminence or held supreme.
1. We are to desire the Lord above all else.
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [See also 11:1.]
Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
Psalm 42:1,2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? [See also Psalm 143:6.]
Psalm 63:1,8a O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; … 8a My soul followeth hard after Thee.
Psalm 73:25,26 Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside [more than] Thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. [See also Psalm 16:5.]
Psalm 84:2,10 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. … 10 For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 89:6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?
Isaiah 26:8,9a Yea, in the way of Thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy Name, and to the remembrance of Thee. 9a With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early.
Matthew 22:37,38 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. [See also Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:1; 30:6; Luke 10:27.]
2. The Lord wants us to be in constant communion with Him.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually. [See also 22:19a.]
Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 71:3a Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort. [See also Psalm 73:23.]
Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee.
Proverbs 3:5 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Lamentations 3:41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. [See also Psalm 25:1; 86:4.]
Acts 17:28a For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.
Ephesians 5:18b,19 Be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. [See also Acts 16:25.]
Hebrews 13:15 By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.
Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto Eternal Life.
3. We are to give the Lord first place in our hearts, and demonstrate our love with wholehearted obedience.
Deuteronomy 10:12,13 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear [love and respect] God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
John 14:15,21 If ye love Me, keep My commandments. … 21 He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. [See also 15:10.]
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.
4. God is a jealous God; He's jealous for our sakes, knowing that only in Him will we find true happiness and fulfilment.
Exodus 20:3,5a Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. 5a Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God. [See also Isaiah 42:8; 1 Corinthians 10:22.]
Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, Whose Name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Psalm 96:4 For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared [loved and respected] above all gods.
5. We should love Him in thanks for all that He has done for us.
Psalm 116:1,2 I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications. 2 Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.
1 John 3:16a Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.
1 John 4:16,19 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. … 19 We love Him, because He first loved us.
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. [See verses 8-13.]
6. We are to love and worship His Word and to give it first place in our thoughts.
Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the Words of His mouth more than my necessary food. [See also Psalm 119:131.]
Psalm 119:47,48,97 And I will delight myself in Thy commandments, which I have loved. 48 My hands also will I lift up unto Thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in Thy statutes. 97 O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 138:2b Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name.
John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of Eternal Life.
1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.
2 John 1:6a And this is love, that we walk after His commandments.
7. God won't take second place in our hearts to others, in either our love or our loyalties.
Genesis 22:12 [Abraham was willing to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, to demonstrate his love and obedience to God.] And he [the angel of the Lord] said [to Abraham], Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.
Matthew 10:37,38 He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.
Acts 5:29 We ought to obey God rather than men. [See also Acts 4:19.]
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
James 4:4b Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
8. God won't take second place, even to His service.
Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His Word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Hebrews 11:4a [Cain's "service" to God was out of pride, not love for the Lord, and therefore wasn't accepted.] By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.
Revelation 2:2a-4 I know thy works, and thy labour ... 3 And [how thou] hast borne, and hast patience, and for My Name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy First Love.
9. God ultimately wants all of you!
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. [See also Luke 16:13.]
Matthew 16:24,25 Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.
Philippians 3:7,8 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
Colossians 3:1,2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are Above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things Above, not on things on the earth.
10. God blesses our putting Him first.
Deuteronomy 30:19b,20a Choose life ... 20a That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days. [See also Psalm 23:1.]
Psalm 18:1,3 I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength. 3 I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Psalm 91:14,15 Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My Name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things [food and clothing] shall be added unto you.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.
11. The Lord reserves a special intimacy for those who put Him first.
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me.
John 12:26 If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.
John 14:21,23b He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. 23b and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.
John 16:27 For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.
James 4:8a Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
12. If we put Him first, He puts us first.
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine.
Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Malachi 3:17 And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light. [See also Titus 2:14.]
Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.
Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.
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