"Put God first."
The first time I ever heard this phrase, it came from my Grandmother's lips. In her way, she was trying to instill in me the same wisdom passed down from generation to generation. The idea that having god as your number one priority would cure all of your ills and grant you everlasting life in Heaven. Mind you, she meant well. I am sure someone in her young life said those words to her, meaning no harm but trying to save her soul. But, now that I am older and away from the trap, I no longer think this phrase to be true -- or even correct.
It is the idea that a supposed all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, all-[insert your description here] would need so much (or anything) that makes it hard to believe. Basically, I fail to see what something that is supposed to be perfect and complete could gain from people praying to or worshiping it. By definition, being perfect implies there is no fault or defect or lack. Yet, Christians state that God wants you, needs you to love Him, even though He is fully complete and perfect already.
In all of the twisting and contorting, everyone forgets one thing: You can't have it both ways. Either God is perfect and requires nothing from us, or he is faulty and needs our love and adoration. God is not supposed to be like a flawed human, yet love, pride, jealousy, wrath, kindness, caring, hatred, and rage are all attached to Him -- all traits a human possesses. This is always explained away though. "God is outside of everything, and logic does not apply", they say. Well, unfortunately, this is not an answer. It is just mental gymnastics at it's best, trying to answer something that is impossible.
Another thing I have come to hate about the phrase is the implication that family and even children are to take a back seat to a deity. Again, why does a god need more from me than a child would? A child is helpless up to a certain age. They cannot survive without a parent's love and care. On the other hand, something that can answer prayers, punish the wicked with awesome displays of power, and created everything in existence, wouldn't need to care about whether or not I paid my lip service for the evening or read a few lines in a book. Yet, the mantra stands: "Put God First," and people believe it.
In my opinion, this idea is meant to keep you fastened to the cult. If everything is focused on the main character of the story, how can you entertain any other view? Kids, spouses, other family members, work, hobbies, and other things become second class to a deity. Who, if given the chance, would take pleasure in watching you suffer forever and ever. But forget about that, He loves you. Eye on the prize, baby, eye on the prize.
Christians can cut this any way they want. Main thing is, however, it's just another ridiculous example of cult mentality. When you take all of your energy and being, and put it into something that requires your full compliance, you are asking for trouble. It is dangerous to lose who you truly are in anything. But, it is even more dangerous to buy into a way of thinking that would put you in the place of choosing something you can't see over the people you love.