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Hey Friends!

Today, we are going to chat about about something that appears to the world to be a basic mantra or quote of Christianity, but to believers means so much more than that. We are going to focus on Commandment #1 of the God’s famous 10 Commandments.

You shall have no other God but me. – Deuteronomy 5:7

This verse is more than just something that hangs on a wall as decor. It’s more than merely a suggestion to live by when it is a Sunday or a holiday. It is what our entire Christ-follower life should reflect.

I love the quote from A.W. Tozer that says “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

GOD IS LOVE

I have challenged the young people that I have had the honor to teach over the years to change their mindset and filter when they are reading the 10 Commandments. Instead of filtering them as these strict “rules” to bind us, filter them through the lens of love-  a love letter from God’s heart to us to protect us from the consequences of sin. I challenge you to do the same.

How do we know that God wrote the 10 Commandments through a lens of love? Because the Bible says so.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love …
– 1 John 4:8

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
– 1 John 4:16

When God does anything, it is out of a place of love. Yes, even the things that we can’t seem to understand the love.

Sometimes I feel like people treat God like the mean god of the Old Testament and Jesus as the god of the New Testament who made the God of the Old Testament be nicer to us. WHAT A DECEPTION.

In Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. He is never-changing.

The bible also says that God and Jesus are one. That means that God is the same, today and forever.

This means that has always been love, even when He gave Moses the 10 Commandments.

God gave the Israelites the 10 Commandments from a place of love for them and their well-being. He wanted them to be protected from the consequences of sin and separation from him. Though they didn’t understand what it meant to have a loving relationship with God, that is what was wanting from them.

We see a beautiful picture of God’s heart for his people in Deuteronomy 5:29 when the people were choosing to follow God’s ways.

“Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever! – Deuteronomy 5:29

LOVE GOD

Moses gives the Israelites direction on how to connect God’s commandments to their hearts as well connect it to every area of their lives.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV

Jesus referenced the motivation of Commandment #1 as well as the other 9 commandments when he answered questions by religious leaders of the law on what the most important commandment was.

Matthew 12:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

THE TRUTH: Anything that we put above God is a false God in our life. ANYTHING.

Yikes! I don’t know about you- but that is not something I want to choose.

I haven’t met a Christ-follower yet who sets out purposely to serve another god above THE GOD as soon they have made Christ their Savior. I haven’t met anyone whose testimony is “As soon as I accepted Christ and prayed the prayer of Salvation, I also committed to follow false Gods.” That sounds crazy right? Who would do that?

However, I have spoken to many people who have confessed that they have slowly allowed themselves to be distracted by other things instead of focusing on God. That they have sought other things, people and habits to get refreshed, trust for their protection, get their moral compass from, get their identity from, etc.

However, if I’m 100% honest, there are days that I allow my actions and decisions to choose other things instead of God’s ways. I allow myself to be selfish with selfish motives which can result in selfish actions.

The same can be said for the times that I allow my actions and decisions to reflect pleasing or appeasing others more than being pleasing to God.

Here are some examples of things or people that we can make a “god” in our life.

  • ourselves and our wants
  • our spouses and their wants
  • our kids and their wants
  • our “stuff”
  • gods of other religions and their ways
  • the god of this world and his ways (the devil)
  • the creation instead of the creator

The Bible is clear about the importance of not having any other gods in our life.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:”Exodus 20:3-4 

 

“Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips. – Exodus 23:13 

 

”No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.” – Matthew 6:24

 

“because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” – Romans 1:25

 

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:Exodus 20:3-4 

 

“Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips. – Exodus 23:13 

 

”No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.” – Matthew 6:24

 

“because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” – Romans 1:25

OBEDIENCE SHOWS OUR LOVE

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
– 1 John 5:3 ESV

 

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. – John 14:15 ESV

 

Thankfully when we get it wrong, it doesn’t mean that we lose our salvation. Salvation is a gift from God that is HIS COVENANT with us. God does not break His covenants. A covenant is different than a contract. Our brains tend to think that our relationship is a contract because in our culture that is all we know.

A Covenant means you keep your promise even if the other persons doesn’t keep theirs. A contract allows the contract to be broken if one party or person doesn’t live up to their end of the promise.

I’m thankful that I serve a covenant God that doesn’t break his promise of eternal salvation even when I don’t keep my commitment.

Sometimes we allow shame to come in and when we have allowed something or someone to take God’s place in our lives we get discouraged thinking that God will turn away from us. The truth is, God is always there. The truth is he is waiting for us to CHOOSE him again. To come back to him. To keep our end of the covenant. Not out of legality but out of his deep desire to be known by us.

Breaking our covenant with God that we made at the time of salvation has consequences. When we choose to have other gods before God, we are choosing the consequences that go along with that choice. The biggest consequence is that we sacrifice our unity with God the Father. That we temporarily allow ourselves to be separated from who were are in Him.

You can attend church on Sundays, be part of a small group, serve in your local church and STILL have other gods above of the GOD. It may not be as outwardly prevalent as when the Israelites melted down gold and made a golden calf to worship, but it is always possible that you have allowed your heart to turn to another “god”.

APPLY

Just as Joshua challenged the Israelites in Joshua 24:15 to make their choose of who will be their God, you must make a choice for you and your house. Knowing OF GOD is not the same as choosing God.

Joshua 24:15 (NASB) – If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

1 John 5:21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.

REFLECT & PRAY

Ask yourself these questions to start looking for ways you may be replacing God as the your only God with other gods.

  • What do I do when I need to “unwind”, “de-stress”, plan for my future, or depend the most on?
  • What or Who do I identify myself with first? Nation, Political party, sports team, hobby
  • Where does my hope come from for my future?
  • Where do I look to for protection?
  • Where do I look for advice? What is it based upon?
  • What false gods or ideals about do you have in your life, home and heart?

Ask Holy Spirit to search your heart and to renew your mind to reflect the heart and mind of God.

  • TAKE ACTION
    What are ways to destroy those false gods ?

 

DECLARATIONS

  • I will not recognize any other gods.

 

READ “APPLYING COMMANDMENT #1 IN YOUR FRUIT-BEARING FAMILY” here.

READ “LOVING GOD” here