What does it mean to put someone first? To put them before your wants, desires, even needs. If you want to know, just look at Jesus. He showed us what that looks like in practical terms:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross
It begins in the mind, but not in the natural mind. It is in having the same mind, the supernatural way of thinking, that Christ had. We must have the revelation that we do not live for our self, we are here to live for God. We understand that the possibility always exists to live for self, to live life our way for our benefit, but we choose the higher purpose, God’s purpose for our life. We daily make the choice to live in and through and for Him (Acts 17:28) and therefore, the benefit of others. With our renewed mind, we are able to know God’s will and by His grace, be empowered to walk it out in practical ways (Romans 12:2). We choose to put the needs of others above our own as Holy Spirit leads and guides us. Your first thought is no longer, “What do I want to do?” but becomes, “Holy Spirit, what would You have me do?”. It changes from, “How is this going to take from me?” to, “Holy Spirit, what do you want to give through me?”
This is impossible however, without death – first, accepting the gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and then, the death of self. That is why you must be born again. If you refuse to die to self, you will never be able to put someone else first, not even Christ. Dying to self can look painful and feel painful at the time, so we must always remember what enabled Jesus to do choose to lay down His life. It was because of “the joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2), that He was able to endure the cross. It was the thought of making a way for us to be with God. It was love that motivated Jesus to lay down his life willingly and joyfully, fully realizing the price He would have to pay, before He even came to earth. It is the same for us. It is the thought of Jesus being with us, His love for us and our love for Him, that will enable us to lay down our lives. And yes, He has made it possible for us to do it willingly and joyfully, even though it will at times, be painful. (John 16:33) Do not be distressed by this, remember, He has promised us that His joy will be our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Let’s fix your eyes on Jesus and know that He is perfecting our faith (Hebrews 12:2). In dying to self, we are living for Him.