“Serve no other gods” or “put nothing above or before God” is written in the Bible multiple times. Some examples of this are Deuteronomy 5:7 and Matthew 4:10. This is something I know and understand and have been taught most of my life. But as I was reading through Deuteronomy it really stood out to me and I found myself questioning whether I really understood the depth of what this means.
Another part that goes hand in hand with this is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5 and Matt. 22:37). Both of these statements appear in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Since these statements are mentioned often and in both Old and New Testament I think that means that it is really important, it is relevant throughout all time, and that we, as Christians, need to obey them.
If anything comes before God in our lives we are disobeying Him. We are putting other things or people before Him and we are therefore not giving Him the honour, respect, and worship that He requires and deserves.
I know that I fail at this all the time. I put plans in place to spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word but then I do other things, I get distracted. I make excuses like, “I am tired, I don’t have time, I have homework that is due soon, I haven’t baked anything in a long time, I had a long day of work and I don’t want to think about anything else today.”
Then there can also be the cop out of, “I served God today by helping someone out or by encouraging someone or discipling them.” As if “putting in time” or “paying my dues” is the point, which it definitely isn’t. How often do I count my Bible reading homework as my quiet time with God? How often do I start my quiet time with my phone nearby with the good intention of using my Blue Letter Bible App and then I end up getting off course and just on my phone? Or how often is my phone just nearby that I plain just get distracted? Unfortunately that is far too often.
There is a song called, “King of my Heart,” that we sing in chapel and at church. How true is that statement of where I place God in my life? Is He truly the King of my heart? Do I give Him that honour? Am I treating Him like He is? Do my actions show that He is?
How often do I not truly understand the depth of what it means to honour God with my entire being and put Him over everything else? How often do I sing worship songs and end up not really singing them to God but instead I am just singing a song because my heart is not in it?
In class and in youth group we have talked about what it means to “fear the Lord” (which God says that we should do on multiple occasions in the Bible, one being Deut. 10:20). Do I understand fully what that means? I really don’t think I do.
To fear God is not to be afraid of Him as a scary power but to understand how powerful and mighty He is. To know that He is the ultimate authority, He deserves worship. To understand how Holy He is and to revere Him and give Him the honour, praise, obedience, and submission He is due. I’m sure that description only scratches the surface of what it means, “to fear,” the Maker of the Universe.
But I am slowly learning and I also know I am continually failing to show and put into practice the understanding that I gain. I am still in process, I am still learning, I am still growing in understanding, and I am very thankful for that. I am very thankful that the Holy Spirit is still working in my life and purifying me.
I desire to understand God more, for Him to be first in my life. But I know that I am weak, I become lazy, I make excuses, and I sin. I need to continually ask God for forgiveness and to turn my eyes back onto Him. “To focus on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).
I need to continually stop and re-evaluate my priorities. I need to rest more fully and properly, in Christ, in the one that delivers, restores, and gives peace that is beyond understanding.
So, here I am again. Ready to refocus on the One who is the most important, the One who is Lord of my life and the Giver of all life. God, give me strength, Holy Spirit, guide me, and Jesus forgive me for my failures.
If you too are caught up in this cycle or don’t know where your relationship with God is at right now. I would challenge you to take a moment to do a self-evaluation and a heart check to see who or what you have placed as King of your heart.
What are the other gods that you raise up in your life that distract you from the One true God?