A few years ago, before I married my husband, I was drawn into a discussion with a man. He asked me, “Does God want us to love Him more or does He want us to love the people more.”
I answered that God wants us to love Him more, then people second. The man flipped out and over the next two days bombed my email with a barrage of ‘evidence’ supporting his stance that God wants us to love the people first.
He was so very, very wrong but refused to accept scripture supporting that he was wrong that that God wants us to love Him first. He finally resorted to name calling and personal attacks. It was then that I realized that he was not accepting and would never accept the Biblical evidence I provided that showed we are to love God first. He did not want to know the truth; he just wanted me to agree with him and not challenge his opinion – which I might add was inaccurate.
The truth is, Matthew 6:33 clearly says that we are to first seek the Kingdom of God. But if we look a little further, to Matthew 22:36-40, the question is very plainly answered.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Hmmm, it is pretty clear to me that we are to love God first.
From there, though, many people are confused. It makes sense because the Bible does not lay out a structure of priorities. However, when we study the scripture, we can see it quite clearly.
Ephesians 5 gives us a pretty clear picture of what our priorities should be. Ephesians 5:25 says that a husband should love his wife the way Christ loved the church. Well, when we look at where Christ placed the church in His priorities we can see that it had the highest place after God. Wives are commanded in Ephesians 5:22 to submit to their husbands as to the Lord.
Children come from that union of husband and wife; they are next in the line of priorities.
So, within the family structure, we are to love God first and foremost, our spouse second and our children third. This is God’s order, how He intended the family structure to be.
Now, we are also commended to honor our father and mother (Deuteronomy 5:16), our extended family (1 Timothy 5: , our church family or fellow believers (most of 1 Corinthians, Romans 14:10, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:32, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:24).
Finally, we see in Matthew 28:19 that we are to love everyone else, bringing the gospel to the lost, making them disciples of Christ and baptizing them in His name (Jesus name) – populating the Kingdom.
I hope this clears up any confusion that some of you may have had on this topic. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you have more supporting scripture please share.