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First Things First

Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. Earlier in this chapter Jesus is once again dealing with Pharisees and Sadducees trying to pin Him down about the Law and the pure truth of the Word is spoken by Jesus as He shares with them the foundation for who we are and what we do. We love God FIRST!! We don't filter our love for God through family, friends, church membership, career, or anything else. We love God FIRST!! Instead of our faith just being another check off our list in life. Our love for God is first and utmost. I love my wife so much, but that love pales in comparison to my love for God. This is where humanism and the faith of those who love God part ways. Our love for God is to be our life source for living, and everything falls under that one thing. Our tendency to be religious eats away at the purity of this love, as our human reasoning begins to think of ways to cause God to love us more. IT CANNOT HAPPEN!! God's love is beyond comparison and His grace is real and tangible and causes our faith to soar and our love for Him to grow to the point of honor and surrender. This love causes us to fall at His feet and glorify Him and choose Him first in all things.

A natural flow from loving God first is getting to know Him more and that is done through the study of His Word and through heartfelt, intense prayer. This is a relationship, not a religion. We have a tendency to want to put some skin on this relationship and insert ourselves and what we can do into it. What we have to offer is our lives to this relationship and God takes that kind of faith and grows it as we learn more of Him and His ways. In a way, this love we are to have for God is in comparison to the thought that if we were the only person left on earth, our relationship with God would be enough to sustain us. Now that is heavy..... Why? Because we have acquired a need for others and that need has blossomed into a problem that causes God to be "just another" one that we love with the rest. No, no. He is to be our first and primary love, and everything else falls under that love. Our love for our spouse, children, family, church, career, world, etc. is enriched and made right when our love for God is the primary love in our life.

The disciples who folllowed Jesus did give up everything to follow Jesus and the result was men and women who continued to serve,even in the afterglow of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind. When Jesus said the following words in Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. The disciples did that very thing and it cemented them into the kind of love for God that gave them the strength for living that life of faith. That love for God does the very same thing for us and draws our faith into a whole new realm of thinking that is much like the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21 where He writes 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. This is not a one time thing, because the ravages of life itself will try to pull us away from our first and true love. So we must guard our heart where our love comes from and protect our heart. Proverbs 4:23 says Guard your heart above all else,

for it determines the course of your life. Why "above all else?" Because it is vital to our walk with God. And that love for God determines the course of our life.

So love the Lord with all your heart and that will change the loves you will have from there on. It will invade your thinking and the fruit from it will be just what Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22-23 where Paul wrote But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! That is why the Pharisees and Sadducees couldn't understand what Jesus was saying. They did not take care of First Things First!! The reminding words of Jesus actually took them back to beginning of it all. Love the Lord your God with ALL your HEART and MIND!!

The Pilgrimage Continues.....

David Warren

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