God gave the ten commandments to Moses, written in stone, and the first one was “You shall have no other gods before me”. That was clear enough for those living under the law but when the new dispensation came and the Holy Spirit became available to all followers, Jesus put a whole new light on the first commandment. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment”. There is a very large difference in the perception of these two approaches to the first commandment. It’s easy to say in a general sense that God is first in our life and then not even ponder it any further. It is not so easy to ignore the specific parts of the first commandment as stated by Jesus in Matthew 22: 37.

 

We all, who profess to be Christians, go immediately to the Lord when a crisis comes, particularly when it is something beyond our control. But how much time in the morning do we fellowship with Him when times are good? How much time do we spend in prayer seeking direction and inquiring how we may be a better witness for truth? How many times do we praise Him for what He has already done? And do we acknowledge Him with thanksgiving for even the difficult things that He has brought to us? Do we really ‘abide in Him?’ or ‘pray without ceasing?’ Is the main thrust of our life serving the Lord or providing for our own welfare? Asking these questions about the first commandment will reveal shortcomings in our relationship with the Lord.

 

Many so-called Christians today wonder why the Lord does not answer in times of crisis. We hear this constantly. But there is a perfectly clear answer to that. Twice in Scripture the Lord said to the people not to pray, He would not hear them, because they had not put Him first in their lives. The fact is that if we don’t love Him ‘with all our heart and soul’ in good times and bad, we will not have the relationship that is required to hear His voice, receive direction and be delivered from circumstances beyond our control. That choice is ours!

 

In this world of sin and care,

This shall ever be my pray’r;

Saviour where so-e’er I be,

May the Christ-life shine in me . . . (May the Christ-Life Shine in Me)