Having the numerous demonstrations of His power fresh in their minds, Jehovah gave His first commandment to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. It is no accident that this command heads the list of Ten Commandments! This commandment had to do with fixing one’s priorities. With this thought in mind, we want to consider the relevance of this command in each of our lives, both at the beginning of a new year, and every day the Lord gives us life.
The fundamental issue that each one of us must face in life is “what is going to be the most important thing in my life?”
- Should we choose pleasure, we will come up empty. The apostle Paul states in Galatians 6:8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
- If we should choose selfish ambition, we will end up hurting those we love and care about.
- Should we choose to live for God, our lives will take on those special qualities of peace, joy and contentment that can be found exclusively in Jesus Christ and in the pursuit of the spiritual over the material (Romans 12:1, 2).
- Suddenly, those other things that we were once inclined to live for seem far less significant.
It is no less important for Christians to have our priorities straight than it was for the Israelite people. It is absolutely necessary that we allow the things of God to have precedence over every other concern. That is why Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) Other passages to consider would include Matthew 6:33 and Colossians 3:1-3.
You can just mark this down. The other rules of life will only frustrate us and cause us discomfort … until this command has been dealt with in the right fashion. Every failure on our part and in the church can be traced to this fact. Consider the following:
- Why are false doctrines ever taught among us? Because someone thought he could improve on God’s order.
- Why does sinful behavior ever get into our lives? Because we get our priorities confused and out of sequence.
- Why is it when we get depressed or discouraged we decide it will be all right to engage in some sin or forbidden pleasure as a sedative or reward? Because Satan is at the ready to lead us astray.
You see, it can be so easy to forget that God and His will are really all that matter, especially if we don’t consider His inspired word daily and talk with Him daily in prayer. When the world entices us to put it ahead of Him, the church, truth and righteousness, we find ourselves in trouble every time!
It is when we put anyone or anything ahead of God that we will find ourselves in the unenviable position of breaking the most important command of all. God will have first place or He will have no place! If we will not give Him our best, He will not accept the leftovers.
So, if you truly want to live a better, happier and more productive life in the coming year … then place these thoughts at the top of your goals, objectives and habits. You will be glad you did!
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.