Putting First Fruits Into Action | Part 3

The Right Kind of Sacrifice

Giving God your first includes your time, your talent, your heart and the fruits of your labor. 
Consider that all firsts belong to the Lord: the first part of the day, the first day of the week (Sabbath), the first month of the year, and the first of our harvest—be it the wages for the first hour, the first day, the first week or month.

God tells us to “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, NASB). We also find the term zakar used here for “remember” the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the first of your week. It is what sets the tone for how the rest of your week will go. We are to “first fruit” the Sabbath, to mark it as devoted to the Lord, for Him, not for our own use. We all lead busy lives, but the Sabbath is to be set apart as holy. Its primary purpose is not a day for shopping or working, nor is it a day for doing your own thing. It is a day for acknowledging and celebrating the Lord, meditating on His Word, and rest.
Remember, understanding, knowledge and wisdom comes from studying the Word and establishes us (Proverbs 24:4-5). 
We have been given a designated day for worshipping, celebrating and obeying God and His Word in His house, “the church.” We need to ask ourselves...what are we doing with it? Are we making it paramount according to the plan and pattern of God? Do we not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as commanded in Hebrew 10:25?

Similarly, what you do first thing in the morning sets the course for the rest of the day. When you wake up say, “Good morning Holy Spirit, I bless you and praise you today, and devote this day to you.” Get your day started after you have worshipped and heard from the Lord. God knows you have need of many things, many tasks and things to do. Again, when you keep Him first, as Jesus declared, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness...all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, NASB). He did not say, “seek the kingdom of God.” He said “seek ye first the kingdom of God.” Putting God first is the fundamental rule of the kingdom prescribed by the Founder. But sometimes, putting God first can be a battle—a battle between the flesh and the spirit.

THE BATTLE BETWEEN FLESH AND SPIRIT 

True biblical prosperity has been a grossly misunderstood and misused word. It has to do with much more than just your finances. The Hebrew word for prosperous is “shalom,” which means safe, well, happy, friendly, welfare—i.e. health, prosperity and peace. It is the primitive root; to be safe (in mind, body or estate), figuratively, to be completed or to make complete. It is a “wholeness” word. It is a transformation of your heart and soul. Your life is transformed as your mind is renewed or “renovated.” To renovate means to take away the old and put in the new.

“Do not conform any longer 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. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:2-3, NIV).

I will refer to Deuteronomy 8, verses 17 and 18 frequently throughout this book because it is foundational to the principle of first fruits. It says, “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” Paul certainly understood these words of God when he warned believers not to “think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3, NIV).

The mind of the flesh says, “I’ve done all this with my abilities,” but the mind of the Spirit acknowledges that He is the one who gives you the ability to get wealth. The Hebrew word “wealth” means a force, whether of men, means or other resources, an army, wealth, virtue, valor and strength. You see, we can look right over the term “remember” in Deuteronomy 8:18, because we all know that “to remember” means to recall, to be mindful of, to retain an idea or to commemorate someone or something. Often, the Hebrew word translated as “remember” does mean that. But in this and several other places, it means something more.

In this verse, the Hebrew word is zakar. “Thou shalt zakar the Lord your God...” Zakar means “properly remembered as a male of man or animal, as being the most noteworthy; to mark as to be recognized as male.”

God commanded the Israelites to devote the first of their flocks and herds, and even their first-born sons to Him as a first fruits offering—to remember that it was God who led them out of captivity, that it is God that gives them the ability to get wealth. Now we see God using the word zakar, which means to properly mark as male...of Himself.

What did the process of marking the first-born male relate to? It relates to the principle of first fruits. Remember, the Hebrew root for first fruits is bikkurim, the same as the root for firstborn. So, we could read that scripture in a more literal translation to say, “But thou shalt [first fruits] the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth...”
It is not our ability to get wealth; it is God’s. When we “remember” Him properly, by placing Him as the first and foremost through the application of the first fruits principle, we are prioritizing His presence in our life. 
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) declares, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” When something is first, it denotes foremost in importance or rank. No wonder C.S. Lewis said, “When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed, but increased.” When we activate the principle of first fruits by the prescribed guide of conduct through the mandatory offering that God commands—in Exodus 23:15-16:

You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before me empty); and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
—we are acknowledging that it is God who gives us the ability to prosper and succeed in every area of our life. 
In other words, when we “first fruit” the Lord, He gives us the ability to get “wealth” or a great force. In this way, the principle of first fruits operating in our lives is the key to walking in the fullness of the promises of God. When we do not violate the principles...then we can claim the promises and see their manifestation in our life.

Every position of purpose comes with divine principles and policies. When you live by principles and in position, then you have positive results. The first fruits principle gives you the power to get the wealth and always be mindful to the fact “that He may establish His covenant.” The governing rule of conduct according to the truth of what God has to say in your life brings forth positive results. It is not something you have to “feel,” but simply obey His Word and follow His pattern. When you do, you will see God’s results and promises in your life. You will be victorious and a conqueror as God has declared. People who live a life with positive results have some type of principles that they live by. It is their rule of conduct and prescribed way of living.

- Paula White Cain
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