Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NO OTHER

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." ~Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Years ago I wrote "LIFE VERSE" next to this passage. These words in the book of Deuteronomy jumped off the page and into my heart. I knew this was how I was supposed to live my life ~ as a wife, a mother, and every other role I occupied. Some days I came fairly close. But most were a far cry from how I wanted them to be.

That hasn't changed. With the empty nest season of life fast approaching, this passage takes on a more personal note. Days of raising children are behind me. But I still have much to learn about loving God with everything I've got. And isn't that what the first of the Ten Commandments is all about ~ "You shall have no other gods before or besides Me." (Exodus 20:3, The Amplified Bible) I am no theologian, but it strikes me, if I love God with all I've got ~ heart, soul, even strength ~ there simply isn't room for any other gods to squeeze their way in to my life.

So how can I accomplish this? Deuteronomy gives us directives. If the commandments are "on our hearts", they are more than just head knowledge; they are an integral part of who we are. Talking about them while we walk, lie down and get up suggests they are with us every moment of our day, ordering our priorities. "Tie them as symbols on your hands" brings them beyond our personal lives and into our workplaces. Binding them on our foreheads encourages us to fill our thoughts with God and to meditate on His word. "Write them on the doorframes" and "on your gates" establishes our homes as sanctuaries unto Him.

The abundant life I long for has nothing to do with possessions or status, and everything to do with experiencing the presence of God and living out my purpose with passion. Galatians 5:6 says, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." It all begins with loving Him...with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our strength (still not sure what that last one means!). My favorite author, W. Phillip Keller put it so well, "You can give yourself to nothing or no one greater. Knowing Him; loving Him; enjoying Him; serving Him; walking with Him, is the whole end and purpose of life." This is where the journey through the Ten Commandments begins.

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities."
~Ezra Taft Benson

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