Do we intentionally make faith more difficult than it is? Sometimes I wonder?
As I’ve thought about 2023 and looked ahead as to how I need to grow and make changes, I’ve been drawn back to the “simplicity”, or rather maybe I should say, the single focus, of our faith that leads us to change and growth.
In Exodus and Deuteronomy we find God’s 10 commandments given to Moses and all of Israel. The first command, if we get it right, makes all the others possible.
Do not have other gods besides me.Exodus 20:3
Sometimes I think I focus on all the others and forget how foundational this really is. Then we can look at the Shema, which is sometimes labeled as “The Greatest Command.”
Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Then, when asked by the Pharisees which of the commands was most important, Jesus Himself told them this:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”Matthew 22:37-40
Short and yet foundational for our Christian walk. What if we get this right? What if we truly made God our only god, loved Him with everything in us, and loved others as we love ourselves? Perhaps the other things Jesus wants to do in and through our lives would truly be possible.
A sold out, faithful disciple of Christ is one who follows, loves and obeys.
This year, more than ever, I want God’s view of life and eternity to flood my heart. And I truly desire for His guidance and wisdom to spill into every relationship, every crevice of my life, one day at a time.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.Psalm 19:14
I am encouraged, and I encourage you, to read all of Psalm 19 and pray this prayer in verse 14, day by day. Perhaps I’ll take at least some steps forward as I focus simply on making Him the only god in my life. Maybe if I un-complicate my faith to love Him most, and then let Him love others through me, I’ll walk out of 2023 with a few less “other gods.”
Happy New Year and welcome to a deeper walk as you seek Him first!