30+ Bible Verses About Putting God First (with Explanation)

In the midst of life’s myriad demands and distractions, the biblical call to put God first stands as a timeless and foundational principle for believers.

Throughout the Scriptures, from the Old Testament to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, the resounding message is clear: God desires to be the supreme priority in our lives.

Let us embark on a journey of understanding and application, seeking to honor God as our foremost priority.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Young Men (with Explanation)

Bible Verses About Putting God First

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus emphasizes the importance of prioritizing God’s kingdom and righteousness. This verse is part of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus instructs his followers on various aspects of righteous living. By placing God first, believers are assured that their needs will be met. This verse encourages a mindset shift from worldly concerns to a focus on God’s purposes and principles.

Putting God first involves aligning our priorities with His kingdom and righteousness. This means seeking His will in all aspects of our lives, trusting that He will provide for our needs. This verse challenges us to examine our motives and goals, ensuring they align with God’s purposes. When we prioritize God, our perspective changes, and we experience the peace that comes from trusting Him completely.

 Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 offers practical guidance on putting God first by emphasizing trust and submission. Acknowledging our limitations and relying on God’s wisdom leads to a straightened path. This proverb underscores the importance of surrendering our plans to God and seeking His guidance in every aspect of life.

Trusting God with our whole heart involves surrendering our understanding and plans to Him. By submitting to His will, we acknowledge His sovereignty and wisdom. This passage encourages believers to cultivate a deep, abiding trust in God, recognizing that His ways are higher than ours. Putting God first requires an ongoing commitment to seek His guidance and submit our paths to His leading.

Exodus 20:3 (NIV)

You shall have no other gods before me.

In Exodus 20:3, part of the Ten Commandments, God establishes the foundational principle of exclusive devotion. Putting God first means recognizing His supreme authority and not allowing anything or anyone to take His place in our lives.

This commandment forms the bedrock of putting God first. It calls for unwavering allegiance to God, acknowledging Him as the sole object of worship and devotion. When we prioritize God in this way, we align our lives with His divine order. This verse challenges us to examine our hearts, ensuring that nothing competes with God for our affection and loyalty.

 Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

In Deuteronomy 6:5, Moses instructs the Israelites to love God wholeheartedly. This verse emphasizes the all-encompassing nature of our devotion, calling for a love that engages every aspect of our being.

Loving God with all our heart, soul, and might requires a holistic commitment. It involves not only emotions but also a deliberate act of the will to prioritize God in every area of our lives. This verse challenges us to assess the depth of our love for God, prompting a sincere examination of our affections and allegiances. When God is first in our lives, our love for Him permeates every aspect, shaping our thoughts, actions, and desires.

 Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

In Colossians 3:23-24, the apostle Paul emphasizes the idea of putting God first in our daily tasks and responsibilities. This perspective transforms our work into an act of worship, recognizing that ultimately, we serve the Lord in all that we do.

This passage challenges believers to approach their daily tasks with a mindset of serving God. When we put God first in our work and responsibilities, we shift our focus from seeking approval or success from human authorities to seeking God’s approval. This verse encourages a transformative approach to work, viewing it as an opportunity to honor and glorify God. By doing everything as unto the Lord, believers find purpose and fulfillment in their daily activities.

Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua presents a powerful declaration of commitment to serving the Lord. This verse underscores the need for individuals and households to make a conscious choice to put God first, regardless of external influences.

Joshua’s words resonate with a call for intentional decision-making regarding our allegiance. Putting God first involves making a deliberate choice to serve Him, despite the alternative options presented by the culture or environment. This verse challenges believers to take a stand for their faith, influencing not only their personal lives but also the spiritual atmosphere within their homes. It serves as a reminder that putting God first is a daily, intentional decision with significant implications for our lives and those under our care.

 Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 offers a unique perspective on putting God first by emphasizing the joy found in delighting in Him. This verse suggests that aligning our desires with God’s will leads to the fulfillment of those desires.

Delighting in the Lord involves finding joy and satisfaction in His presence and purposes. When we prioritize God in this way, our desires begin to align with His perfect will. This verse encourages believers to seek their happiness and fulfillment in God, trusting that as they delight in Him, He will shape their desires according to His plan. Putting God first, therefore, involves a joyful surrender to His guidance and a confident expectation that He will fulfill the desires of a heart attuned to His.

 Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus reiterates the importance of wholehearted love for God. This passage highlights the comprehensive nature of putting God first, involving not only emotions but also the intellect and will.

Loving God with all aspects of our being—heart, soul, and mind—encompasses the entirety of our human experience. It’s a call to engage our emotions, align our will with His, and dedicate our intellectual capacities to understanding and obeying Him. This verse challenges believers to pursue a holistic love for God, recognizing that putting Him first requires the integration of every dimension of our lives.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul emphasizes the universal application of putting God first. Every action, no matter how mundane, can be an opportunity to glorify God.

This verse underscores the all-encompassing nature of putting God first. It challenges believers to view every aspect of life—eating, drinking, and all activities—as opportunities to bring glory to God. When God is the focal point of our actions, even the seemingly insignificant aspects of life take on eternal significance. This perspective encourages believers to live with intentionality, seeking to honor God in the details of their daily lives.

 Matthew 10:37-39 (NIV)

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

In Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus presents a challenging perspective on putting God first by highlighting the necessity of prioritizing Him above even the closest relationships.

This passage speaks to the radical commitment required in putting God first. Jesus calls for a love and allegiance that surpass even the strongest earthly bonds. It challenges believers to be willing to surrender their own desires and ambitions for the sake of following Christ. In losing our lives for His sake, we find true life and fulfillment. This verse prompts reflection on the depth of our commitment to God and challenges us to prioritize Him above all else.

Psalm 16:8 (NIV)

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8 expresses the idea of unwavering focus on the Lord. By keeping our eyes fixed on Him, we find stability and confidence in the midst of life’s challenges.

Keeping our eyes on the Lord implies a conscious effort to maintain a constant awareness of His presence and guidance. This verse encourages believers to cultivate a deep, abiding trust in God, acknowledging that His companionship provides assurance and strength. When God is the focal point of our attention, we navigate life’s uncertainties with a firm foundation, knowing that He is with us, and we will not be shaken.

 Mark 8:34-35 (ESV)

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus outlines the sacrificial nature of following Him. Putting God first involves a willingness to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, even at the cost of our own desires.

This passage echoes the call to radical discipleship, emphasizing the self-sacrifice required in putting God first. Denying ourselves involves surrendering our ambitions, comforts, and desires in obedience to Christ. The imagery of taking up the cross underscores the willingness to endure hardships for the sake of the gospel. By losing our lives for Christ’s sake, we paradoxically find true life and purpose in Him.

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2 calls believers to present themselves as living sacrifices, emphasizing the transformation that occurs when one chooses to prioritize God’s will over conformity to the world.

Offering our bodies as living sacrifices involves a continual surrender to God, both in our actions and thoughts. This passage challenges believers to resist conforming to worldly patterns and instead pursue a renewal of the mind through God’s truth. By prioritizing God in this way, our lives become a worshipful offering, and we gain the discernment to understand and align with His perfect will.

 Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.

In Philippians 3:8, Paul reflects on the supreme value of knowing Christ, even to the point of considering all worldly achievements as loss. Putting God first involves recognizing the unparalleled worth of a relationship with Him.

Paul’s perspective challenges believers to evaluate their priorities in light of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. When God is truly first in our lives, other pursuits pale in comparison. This verse prompts reflection on what we value most and encourages a reorientation of priorities, with the goal of gaining a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ.

James 4:7-8a (NIV)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you.

James 4:7-8 emphasizes the importance of submission to God and drawing near to Him. Putting God first involves actively resisting worldly influences and seeking intimate communion with Him.

Submission to God requires a deliberate choice to resist the pull of worldly temptations. This passage encourages believers to actively engage in spiritual warfare by resisting the devil. The promise that he will flee underscores the authority that comes from putting God first. Additionally, drawing near to God is an invitation to intimacy, emphasizing the reciprocal nature of our relationship with Him. When God is our priority, we experience both the power of resisting evil and the closeness of His presence.

Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

In Galatians 2:20, Paul expresses the transformative impact of putting God first. This verse highlights the surrender of the self to Christ and the new life that emerges through faith in Him.

Putting God first involves a profound identification with the crucifixion of Christ. Paul’s words emphasize the death of the old, self-centered life and the resurrection of a life lived in constant reliance on faith in the Son of God. This verse challenges believers to embrace a radical transformation, allowing Christ to become the central driving force in every aspect of their existence.

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

In 1 John 2:15-17, the apostle John warns against the love of worldly things, emphasizing the incompatibility of such love with a commitment to putting God first.

Loving God above all means rejecting the allure of worldly desires. This passage identifies the source of such desires and underscores their transient nature. By prioritizing God over the fleeting pleasures of the world, believers align themselves with eternal values and the enduring will of God. The call to “live forever” speaks to the everlasting significance of a life centered on God.

Isaiah 43:10 (NIV)

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”

In Isaiah 43:10, God emphasizes the uniqueness of His identity and the purpose of His chosen people as witnesses to His supremacy. Putting God first involves acknowledging His unparalleled position and participating in His divine purpose.

As witnesses of God’s greatness, believers are called to prioritize Him in their lives. This verse underscores the exclusivity of God’s divinity and the privilege of knowing and believing in Him. Putting God first means aligning with His plan, understanding that no other god can compare to Him. Believers are chosen to bear witness to this truth, reflecting God’s supremacy in their thoughts, actions, and testimonies.

2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

In 2 Corinthians 5:15, Paul highlights the transformative impact of Christ’s sacrifice on the lives of believers. Putting God first involves a shift from self-centered living to a life devoted to Christ.

The death and resurrection of Christ usher in a new way of living for believers. Putting God first means recognizing the purpose behind Christ’s sacrifice—to free us from self-centered living. This verse challenges believers to embrace a life marked by devotion to the One who died and rose again for them. It calls for a radical reorientation of priorities, with Christ at the center of every decision and action.

Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11 expresses the importance of treasuring God’s Word in the heart as a means of staying faithful to Him. Putting God first involves a commitment to internalize and live by His teachings.

Hiding God’s Word in the heart is a practical step in putting God first. This verse emphasizes the transformative power of Scripture in guiding believers away from sin. By prioritizing the study and application of God’s Word, individuals create a foundation for a life that aligns with His will. It serves as a reminder that putting God first requires an intentional engagement with His Word, allowing it to shape and direct every aspect of our lives.

Matthew 16:26 (NIV)

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

In Matthew 16:26, Jesus poses a rhetorical question that challenges the value people place on worldly success compared to the eternal significance of their souls. Putting God first involves recognizing the surpassing worth of spiritual priorities.

This verse prompts believers to evaluate their pursuits in light of eternity. It emphasizes that the temporary gains of the world cannot compare to the eternal value of the soul. Putting God first requires a deliberate choice to prioritize spiritual well-being over worldly achievements. It challenges individuals to consider the true worth of their pursuits and encourages a shift toward eternal priorities.

 Luke 10:27 (NIV)

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

In Luke 10:27, Jesus consolidates the essence of the law into two commandments—loving God wholeheartedly and loving one’s neighbor. Putting God first involves a dual commitment to vertical and horizontal relationships.

This verse encapsulates the comprehensive nature of putting God first. Loving God with heart, soul, strength, and mind represents vertical devotion, while loving one’s neighbor as oneself reflects the horizontal aspect. Putting God first requires a balanced commitment to both vertical and horizontal relationships, emphasizing the interconnectedness of love for God and love for others.

John 14:15 (NIV)

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

In John 14:15, Jesus connects love for Him with obedience to His commands. Putting God first involves a commitment to aligning one’s life with the teachings of Christ.

This simple yet profound statement underscores the link between love for God and obedience to His commands. Putting God first is not merely a sentiment but a practical expression of obedience. This verse challenges believers to demonstrate their love for God through a lifestyle that reflects His teachings. It highlights that true love for God is manifested in the daily choices and actions of those who prioritize His commands.

Romans 8:5 (NIV)

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 8:5 contrasts two mindsets—one focused on worldly desires and the other on spiritual priorities. Putting God first involves cultivating a mindset aligned with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

This verse speaks to the importance of the mind in shaping priorities. Putting God first requires a deliberate choice to set the mind on the desires of the Spirit rather than the fleeting desires of the flesh. It emphasizes the transformative power of a renewed mindset and challenges believers to intentionally align their thoughts with God’s perspective, paving the way for a life centered on spiritual priorities.

Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus addresses the church in Ephesus, highlighting the importance of maintaining the initial fervor of love for God. Putting God first involves a continual commitment to cultivate and preserve a vibrant relationship with Him.

Jesus’ words to the church in Ephesus serve as a cautionary reminder. Putting God first is not a one-time decision but an ongoing commitment. This passage underscores the danger of losing the initial passion for God and calls for repentance and a return to the fervent love that characterized the early stages of the believer’s journey. It challenges individuals to assess the vitality of their relationship with God and take steps to rekindle the flame of devotion.

Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 emphasizes the outward expression of putting God first by living in a way that glorifies Him. Believers are called to shine as lights, demonstrating God’s love through their actions.

Putting God first extends beyond personal devotion to impacting the world around us. This verse challenges believers to be a positive influence in their communities, workplaces, and relationships. When good deeds are rooted in a commitment to God, they become a testimony that directs attention to Him. This outward expression of faith is a natural outcome of prioritizing God in our lives.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2 uses the metaphor of a race to illustrate the journey of faith. Putting God first involves shedding hindrances and focusing on Christ, the ultimate example of faithfulness.

The imagery of a race underscores the commitment and perseverance required in putting God first. This passage encourages believers to identify and discard anything that impedes their spiritual progress. By fixing their eyes on Jesus, the author emphasizes the importance of emulating His faithfulness. This involves an intentional and enduring pursuit of God, navigating life’s challenges with a steadfast focus on Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16 advises believers to live wisely and make the most of every opportunity. Putting God first involves a discerning and intentional approach to daily living.

This passage speaks to the urgency of wise living in a world characterized by moral challenges. Putting God first requires believers to navigate life with discernment, making choices that align with His wisdom. The call to “make the most of every opportunity” highlights the need for intentional living, utilizing each moment to bring glory to God and advance His purposes.

Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:2 directs believers to focus their minds on heavenly things rather than earthly concerns. Putting God first involves a deliberate shift in perspective, prioritizing eternal values over temporal distractions.

This verse underscores the importance of a mindset that aligns with heavenly priorities. Putting God first requires intentional effort to fix one’s thoughts on eternal truths and values. By setting their minds on things above, believers cultivate a perspective that influences their attitudes, choices, and actions. This intentional focus serves as a safeguard against being consumed by the fleeting concerns of the world.

1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

In 1 Timothy 6:6, Paul highlights the value of contentment in the pursuit of godliness. Putting God first involves finding satisfaction in Him rather than in material possessions.

This verse challenges believers to reassess their understanding of true gain. Putting God first means prioritizing godliness and finding contentment in the sufficiency of God’s provision. The pursuit of material wealth is contrasted with the enduring value of godliness and contentment. It encourages believers to seek fulfillment in their relationship with God rather than in the accumulation of worldly possessions.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Preparedness (with Explanation)

What Does the Bible Say About Putting God First

Exodus 20:3 (NIV) – The First Commandment “You shall have no other gods before me.”

This commandment from the Ten Commandments makes it clear that God demands exclusive devotion. Putting God first means acknowledging His supreme position and refusing to prioritize anything or anyone above Him.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

This verse emphasizes the wholehearted love and devotion that God expects. Putting God first involves loving Him with every aspect of our being.

Matthew 22:37 (NIV) – The Greatest Commandment “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'”

Jesus reaffirms the importance of wholehearted love for God, emphasizing the inclusion of the mind. Putting God first involves engaging our intellect, emotions, and will in devoted love.

A Prayer for Putting God First

Heavenly Father,

In Your presence, O Lord, we humbly come, acknowledging Your sovereign reign over our lives. Your Word teaches us to put You first in all things, to love You with our entire being. Today, we bring our hearts before You, seeking the strength and grace to prioritize You above all else.

Lord, we surrender our desires and ambitions at Your feet. May our hearts beat in rhythm with Yours, aligning our will with Your perfect plan. Help us let go of anything that competes for Your place in our lives, recognizing that true fulfillment is found in You alone.

Heavenly Father, renew our dedication to You each day. As we seek Your kingdom first, may Your Spirit guide us, shaping our character and molding us into vessels of Your love. May our lives bring glory to Your name, reflecting the beauty of a heart that has chosen to put You above all else.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.