Maybe you’re someone who reads the First Commandment,
You must not have any other god but me. Exodus 20:3
Whew, I believe in God as He is revealed in the Bible. I’m good on that one. That’s one commandment I don’t have to worry about.
I’m not. I’ve had times when I’ve worried about my ability or should I say, lack of ability, to obey God’s First Commandment.
Not because I worshipped the gods of other religions but because I questioned whether I loved other things more.
Did I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
But I wondered if I could love God and put Him first “no matter what?”
I’d read Job…
Everything was taken from him – his wealth, his children, his position, and his health … and through his grief he proclaimed:
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”
Could I do that?!
Could I still worship and love God with all my heart. soul, mind, and strength if everything was gone? And if I couldn’t, I felt I had to ask myself if my family, our careers, our home, our positions and a long list of other things had become “other gods.”
My verse for this year is Matthew 6:33
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
And verse 34 says:
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
If I was putting my relationship with God first … I should have been able to trust Him to give me everything I NEEDed and not worry.
Oh, but I worried! Remember, I’d read the Book of Job!
I’d also read Jesus words:
“In this world you will have troubles.”
I know, I was ignoring the rest of that verse…
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
And – Take heart! I have overcome the world! John 16:33
All I could focus on was the trouble part. I was young, but I’d lived long enough to know that life was full of troubles.
Could I still worship and love God if God was all I had?
The Apostle John challenges us with the following:
Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 1 John 5:21
But our family? Career? Position? Home? Reputation? SELF?
How do we “keep away” from those things?
It’s hard, isn’t it?!
There are so many things vying for our time, attention, admiration, and affection. And the Job factor, always made me wonder at what point God’s blessings could become “other gods” in my life.
The Life Application Bible Notes say the following about God’s First Commandment:
Today we can allow many things to become gods to us. Money, fame, work, or pleasure can become gods when we concentrate too much on them for personal identity, meaning, and security. No one sets out with the intention of worshiping these things but by the amount of time we devote to them they can grow into gods that ultimately control our thoughts and energies.
That’s a hard word, isn’t it?
Before you leave completely discouraged, there is HOPE!
It’s the part I didn’t trust before God did His big work in me.
I had been relying on myself. I believed I had to give God first place in my life on my own. I believed it was up to me to love Him completely.
I was wrong!
In His grace and mercy, God allowed me to lose a few of the “other gods” in my life and although the grief was overwhelming … I didn’t run from God; I ran to Him.
And He proved Himself to be who He says He is. I learned I could trust Him.
Because He is…
Ready to help!
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1
“Call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15
Gracious and merciful!
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
The truth is when you and I believe we have to obey God’s commands on our own, we make ourselves small “g” gods.
You and I don’t have to do it alone. God is gracious, merciful, and ready to help. He is rescuer and strength. And when we fail … He forgives.
Obeying God’s First Commandment means surrendering and trusting.
Surrendering all that we are and all that we have to the One who gave everything for us. It’s trusting His grace, mercy, and love are greater than our circumstances … great enough to meet every need!
You see, it’s true!
In this world, you and I will have trouble!
God may give you more than you can handle but He will never leave you to handle it alone!
He will give you everything you need to trust and love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
I know! Because He’s done it for me and He is able to do it for you!
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