Though he's still a child I've learned much through and because of him...there was the lesson in identity (read it HERE), the one about obedience (read it HERE) and also about the value of our relationship with God. (Read it HERE). The streak continues as my little guy expresses and learns about love. His desire to learn more has led me to do the same.
Jed and Jesse like to play the game, "Love you, Beat ya!" It's one Jed created a few years back and is simply a race to be the first to say those 4 words at any given point in the day. There are days it's played every 30 minutes and others just at bedtime, but it often leads to conversations about love. Sometimes we talk about love being more than words and others about how I (Mom) can love them both.
The other day in the midst of one of these conversations Jesse said, "But you know who I love the mostest?" Before anyone could respond he asked another question, "We're supposed to love God the mostest right Mom?" I shook my head and simply said, "You're right little buddy."
I'm thrilled my preschooler understands this, but my prayer is he learns to do it. I pray all my kids can do it and friend I pray you and I can too. Because wouldn't you agree it's one thing to know we're to love God most and say we love Him the most, but it's another thing to do it.
Really, stop with me for a second and think, "What does it mean to love God the mostest?" Perhaps more important than that question is this one, "Do you love God the most?"
There are many verses we could look at when it comes to loving God, but one that may not be as familiar rises to the surface for me. Awhile back I shared a short lesson on love (read it HERE) and in my study I spent much time in the book of 1 John. This book is packed full of verses about love, but the last verse really stuck out for me.
1 John 5:21 says, "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." (NIV) The Amplified version puts it this way, "Little children (believers, dear ones), guard yourselves from idols - false teachings, moral compromises, and anything that would take God's place in your heart."
Initially I thought this verse was kind of an odd one to close a book, but as I studied and God continues to teach me I realize it is quite appropriate. And it really ties in with my little guys question! The notes in the Voice translation say this, "John's final bit of pastoral advice sounds an alarm against idolatry. If we look carefully at our culture and into our own hearts, we will find we are ultimately concerned about ourselves, our entertainment, our comforts, and our wallets. None of these are worthy of our highest devotion; but we put more time, energy, money, and emotion into these than we do into the one true God. So John's warning should be heeded: watch out for the steady impulse to love other things more than God."
Friend, this is nothing new...you and I, we get this. We know we are not to have any other gods, but do we live this way? I can easily look back on my life and say growing up, basketball was my god. It's simple to reflect and see the sin that was in my heart before I was even a born again believer, but friend it's hard and much more humbling to look at my heart now. My world no longer revolves around a little orange ball, but with March Madness approaching and the hope that my Cyclones will start soaring I have to check my heart. I don't want ball to become my Baal again.
Old gods can become new idols, but so can people and good, Godly things like ministry. For me it's easy to avoid the things even the world knows are bad, but do you and I ever comprise and let worldly, good things take God's place on the pedestal of our heart? This thought challenges me and I pray it does the same for you.
God, through His Word and Holy Spirit has been convicting me. At times I'm still tempted to look to people wrongly and do things for the wrong reason, but God, the one who loved me while a sinner, loves me even when I still sin. Because of His grace and mercy, He doesn't leave me in that place.
Like the loving Father He is, my Abba, draws me near, teaches me a lesson, forgives my mistakes and tells me to try again. He redeems what Satan tries to steal away and gives me new opportunities to love, serve and grow.
Friend, there is much on my heart, so I know God's teaching is not done. But more important than my words or stories are ones from God's Word. Take a minute and ponder and/or pray through these verses...loving God is important and loving Him most is essential!
"And he answered, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27
Do you love God this way? Does He get ALL your heart, soul, strength and mind?
"You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James 4:4
Are you friends with the world? Think about the things you do, shows you watch, thoughts you entertain and success you strive for.
"Don not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with is desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:15-17 Friend, what do you desire? Is it God or something or someone else?
El Roi, You see all and You know all. You know where, when and how I fall short when it comes to loving You. Father God, You even know why. I ask for eyes to see who and what I love more than You. I'm sorry Lord. I want to love You most, help me do that. May I let go of the idols in my life. Show me what they are. Help me view people rightly and love them too, but only after I see You clearly and love You best. Be with each woman gathered here today and help us love You with ALL of our heart and ALL of our soul and ALL of our strength and ALL of our mind. May we each love You the MOSTEST! In Your Son's Name I pray...Amen