Did I love God first?
Or did he love me first?
As I read the words Moses said to the Israelites in one of his last addresses to them before his death, I am reminded of how this verse changed my life.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut. 6:5.
God challenged me over 30 years ago to put him first in my life. I was what I would call a ‘cultural Christian’ at the time. I went to church, served at church, gave to the church and said I loved Jesus. But there were things in my life – like my family, my career and what I wanted – that had a higher priority than God. When I hit 30 and I finally reached all my goals of what I thought I should have and own at that age, I was surprised to find that I felt empty. Over worked and over stressed. And very empty.
Then God opened my eyes to this verse and challenged me with it. I knew something had to change so I did some heavy-duty thinking.
What would it feel like if I loved God with all my heart? What did I need to change so I could love God with all my soul? What would my life be like if I loved God with all my strength? How could I ignore the distractions of this world and the strong desire to do what I want to do so I could love God first?
The emptiness was eating me up so I took the challenge. One step at a time, God showed me how to change my priorities and put him first. I gradually put him first in every area of my life and I learned the huge lesson that the commands God gives us are for our own good. As I moved closer to God, I watched him help me be a better wife, a better mother, a better employee, a better friend, a better neighbor, a better sister, a better daughter…you get the idea. Everything was better because he was in the middle of it.
Is there an empty place in your soul that God is longing to fill? Are you just checking the boxes in your Christian life or do you have a daily, intimate relationship with God? Have you made the decision to put God first in your life?
God desires to be first in our lives because he wants to give us strength, peace and purpose for our journey. And he helps us with all the rest.
Thank you, Abba Father.