The One Thing
How would you rank these 5 things in order of importance?
Is there one that surpasses the others? Tricky! All of them are essential components of the Christian life, and it's hard to make good on any one of these without all the others standing by as comrades. I was evangelised before I knew Christ personally; through faith I confessed and received my salvation; I now have a loving relationship with God, and because I love Him, I strive to live a life obedient to Him. They are so intertwined, it seems not one can stand alone without the others. But we need priorities, if just to force our attention to the core essential among the competing chaos of life.
The One thing we must do
Jesus was asked about all the commandments of the old testament, over 600 in all: "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 prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:36-40).
So even though we may struggle to prioritize one over the other, and recognize that they all work in harmony, we need to make our first priority Loving God.
The one thing God will not do
God gives to us abundantly. He gives us the breath of life (Genesis 2:7), He gives us purpose (Jeremiah 29:11), He gives us skills to fulfill our purpose (Ephesians 4:11), He gives us power to work our skills (Philippians 4:13), He gives wisdom (James 1:5), hope (Jeremiah 29:11), peace (John 14:27), joy (Psalm 21:1), and love (John 3:16) - and perhaps the greatest gift of all: He gives us a place in heaven - eternal life with Him (John 3:16). As lovely as it is to dwell on the abundance of His offerings, we need to be intentionally mindful as to what He will not give us. An abundance of gifts he freely gives, but there is one thing He is not willing to give us.
one thing remains wholly, unapologetically, exclusively, justifiably, His . . .
~ Glory ~
"I am the LORD; that is My name! I will not yield My glory to another or My praise to idols" (Isaiah 42:8).
Putting the greatest commandment to love God, alongside God's one prerogative that all glory belongs to Him, clarifies what a right relationship with God is. When we are loving God above all else (surrendering to Him (Matthew 16:24), obeying Him (John 14:15), walking alongside Him (Psalm 23)), our hearts naturally incline to pour out praise and give Him His due glory, ALL the glory (Psalm 13:5-6).
We are in our right place with God, when we behold God in His rightful place.
Consider . . .
Not counting sleep and paid employment, what percent of your day is time spent with God? Do you feel that is enough? If not, what pressure points press into your time? Which of those could you shave time from to spend more time with God?
How do you typically spend time with God? (e.g. go to church, listen to worship music, read the bible, pray, walk in the park). Could you add variety in your time with God by broadening your activities with Him?
How can you protect your time with God from being deprioritized? Do you have prompts set in your life that alert you to when your time with God is slipping? If not, what type of protections could you add to secure your success on being with God, loving Him, and thriving in the greatest commandment.
Jesus replied, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23).