Wednesday, March 2, 2016

the ten: love God first (part 3)

And God spoke all these words: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:1-3)

No other gods but God... this is indeed the hardest decision that you will continuously make while on this planet. And, it is not a one time only, past tense decision. No, it is an active, living choice that, if obeyed, will permeate every thought, every action, every motive, every task, every duty, every pleasure, every object, every person, every priority and every other relationship you will ever have. Choosing God over anyone or anything else is, hands down, the greatest challenge in all of life. We are called to keep Him first, and this is no small task. For at it's core, it is not about our service to the Lord (although that is a natural outcome).... rather, it is about our relating to the Lord with every fiber of our being. It is a willingness to give Him everything - heart, soul, mind, body, spirit. It is the choice to hold nothing back, but rather to offer it all to Him in worship. Loving God first is giving Him all your heart and trusting His ways over your own. It is an eternal commitment and a covenant not to be taken lightly.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

These verses pretty much sum it up, don't they? We are either going to trust God first with our hearts... or we are not. We are either going to give God top billing before our families, our friends, our possessions... or we are not. We are either going to be desperate for God's presence in our lives and be in such dire need of His direction that even the air we breathe falls short of matching His greatness... that even our own well-being is worthlessness in contrast to His glory.

This is command #1: God is first. God is everything. There is nothing else more interesting. There is no one else more worthy.

Let me point out that this command is not offered to us from a pompous or insecure God who in His heart is secretly attention starved for the world to feed His ego. That thought process is based on the incorrect assumption that God has sinful characteristics - which He clearly does not. No, God is complete in Himself. He does not NEED anything from anyone. He is magnificent whether we acknowledge Him or not. He was and is and is to come. He is the Alpha and the Omega... The Beginning and the End. He does not require the pitiful approval of mankind to remain wonderful. His ego does not seek stroking to feel better and more secure. No, God is a God of good character... period. His glory is eternal... period. His greatness is unending... period. His holiness is astounding... period. God doesn't just set a standard... God IS the standard! God doesn't just extend love... God IS love! So, when we read that we are to have no other gods before Him, we must realize that this command is not for His benefit... instead, it is for ours.

Command #1 was offered to us for our own good. It's purpose is intertwined in direct correlation to the heart attitude behind accepting Jesus' free gift of salvation. As a complete, perfect and gracious Father who holds the plans to our lives, God has given His people this first command with the intent for us to prosper in His grace. The choice to love Jesus and follow His headship over any other is a decision that leads us to the eternal LIFE He has promised by the washing of His blood. With Him, we will enjoy His presence and an abundant future within His glorious family. Otherwise, the choice to reject Jesus and demote God's ranking in our lives will lead us astray and away from anything holy. Without Christ's principle influence, the only other outcome for mankind is sin and destruction. Either way, each of us must choose which path we will take. And each of us will be held accountable for the choices we make.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

All that said, let me show you the other side of the relationship. Let me share with you the love that God Almighty has for you and where you rank in His eyes. Psalm 116:1-2 says, that God hears our voice. Not only that, when He hears our voice, He turns His ear to us. Think about that. No matter what is going on, no matter what God is doing... He is immediately inclined to turn aside from His present work to give you His ear first hand. He is fully attentive to you because you are that important to Him. By trusting the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding... by acknowledging Him in all our ways and placing Him first in our lives, we are given freedom to LIVE fully under His care - the care of the Almighty Powerful Creator of the Universe who offers us His full and complete attention. WOW!

Human understanding and the ways of mankind are so limiting, unoriginal and inadequate. In our attempt to be different and stand out, we are more and more the same pathetic creatures whose hearts are naturally filled with sin. We have no imagination or creativity in contrast to that of our perfect Master's. No, we are a flawed and broken race, corrupted by our own doing. By looking around at the state of this world, it is so clear that we need the aid of a perfect Redeemer to rely upon for wisdom and a sense of direction. For we cannot trust our own intelligence to see us through except to find death and distruction.

"There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 1:12)

Those who do not seek after God's guidance, no matter how sincere their desire to be good people, good parents, good children, good citizens, good teachers, good laborers... no matter how lofty their motives, they will still be snared into the deceptiveness of sin and get lost in this corrupted world. We must take care to stay away from the reasoning of those who reject God for He is the only WAY!

"Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." (Matthew 15:14)

God wants desperately to love us and keep us from harm. He knows that there is no other being that can care for us as well as He can because He is our Creator... our Maker! He knows us inside and out... better than we know ourselves! And the icing on the cake is that He is faithful to us!!! You want to talk about love... He is so loyal to us that He came to earth in human form to die on our behalf so that we would not have to take on the punishment of death for our sin. Now, that's love!!! That's loyalty and sacrifice!!! This is a God who puts US first!!! His people are who He cares for most! It is only fitting we do the same for Him!

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that we should not worry about anything... food, clothing, shelter, money... whatever. Rather, He instructs us to seek Him. To look to Him first. When we look to Christ first... when we put Him before all other matters, He promises to take care of the rest. So, worrying about life is really a red flag for us. It alerts us that we've taken back our lives from His care and are no longer seeking Him above all other things. We must immediately repent and ask God to give us the faith needed to trust Him again. We must set apart in our hearts the fact that Jesus Christ is our Lord and has promised to take care of our every need.

"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)

We must do everything we can to seek His word and His ways over anything else. Who needs bread when we have THE BREAD OF LIFE? For God is truly good for us! He loves us first. He puts us first. He wants to nourish our souls with what we need most - HIM! We are His priority and He will care for us. We must understand that He has committed Himself to a love relationship with us. And God, unlike man, never turns away from His commitments. When He says He loves us. He means it. When He says He is with us... it is FOREVER! We are His bride. We are His family. That is why we were created. That is why we must, in turn, choose Him first in our lives and cherish this sacred romance with attentiveness, obedience and complete unswerving devotion.

Ladies, there is no other god but JEHOVAH GOD ALMIGHTY! Everything and everyone else we know outside of God will prove to be a grossly inadequate substitute in comparison to His majesty - including our own selves. Let's praise our Father in Heaven for His endless grace, compassion and love. Let's be thankful each and every day that He holds us in such high esteem and that we have His full attention. We literally have his undying love... Jesus proved that! So, let's DEVOTE OUR LIVES to trust Him with all our hearts... to seek Him first... to glorifying His Name above all other names! Let's daily sacrifice our selfish wills and give Him our full attention. Let's love Him... every moment of every day in every way and in everything!!! I promise you... nothing compares to Him... NOTHING!

"I am the LORD your God... you shall have no other gods before me."

Yes, Lord. We choose to love You first! YOU alone are EVERYTHING!!! AMEN!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Victoria! I just finished writing a note to someone who I was trying to say some of the very same things you had here today, I only wish I had come here first, however, I intend to go back and share what I have read, and gotten a much better understanding my-self as well! Thanks again, and GOD BLESS YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your encouragements and the reading and helping us to understand the word. This so powerful!
    Blessings,
    Sylvia Nixon-Sparkman

    ReplyDelete

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