The Great Commandment

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. This is the great and first commandment.”
Matthew 22:37-38

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
1 John 5:21

Question: Do I love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind?

Answer: No. I do not.

Idolatry is one of those annoying sins that never really goes away. Every time you think you’ve let go of one idol, you’ll likely find that your other hand is already reaching for a replacement. What’s more, we can make an idol of just about anything. Money, social status, education, sex, entertainment, food, clothing, image, health, love, pleasure – the list could go on indefinitely. Idols can be physical objects, emotions, or ideas. They can be good things or bad. Seemingly anything can be twisted by sin into an idol for our worship and devotion. This makes spotting idols especially tricky.

Once spotted, however, we often feel confident in our ability to deal with the problem. A common response is to set up boundaries. No matter what the idol may be, we attempt to fight it by distancing ourselves from it. We move away from temptation and thereby seek to find victory. But that never seems to work for very long, at least, not if that’s all we are doing. We fail to actually treat the problem: we love our idols more than we love God.

The great commandment is so called by Jesus because it encapsulates the whole of the law. If you love the Lord rightly, everything else will be in order. If you fail to do this, you will often see the affects throughout your life. I’ve been noticing a lack of discipline in myself lately. I’ve found myself unmotivated to wake up early and to spend a great amount of time in prayer. I’ve also noticed myself slacking off in my responsibilities and focusing far too much on myself. I truly believe that the root of the issue is found in a failure to love the Lord with all that I am. I’ve been loving other things more than God, and, consequently, I haven’t been walking well.

So what’s the solution? I’m praying for God to deepen my love for him. I’m reminding myself that he is far more worthy of my love than anything or anyone else. I’m beginning to let go of any worries or concerns that I’m holding on to more than I’m holding on to God. And I’m seeking to set my eyes on things above, not simply distancing myself from idols but replacing the idols with my Lord. My life is rightly aligned when he and he alone is on the throne of my heart. Nothing else compares to him. No idol will ever satisfy.

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