In Exodus chapter 20, verse 3, we find what is commonly referred to as “the First Commandment” in the Bible. This commandment sets the foundation for all other Biblical teachings and emphasizes the most important relationship any person can have – that with their Creator. The commandment reads: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
At its core, this commandment requires us to love God above everything else in our lives. It’s easy to see why this would be essential. If we do not prioritize our relationship with God over anything else, then it becomes likely that other things will take precedence. Those things could be material possessions, worldly pleasures or even people themselves. However, when we make an idol out of these things, they become more significant than God, which goes against His will for us.
God wants us to put Him first because He loves us deeply and desires to have a close personal relationship with each one of us. When we place God at the center of our hearts, we receive many blessings such as peace, joy, contentment, and guidance. We also learn how to live life abundantly since following Christ provides us with a sense of purpose and direction. Moreover, loving God brings about spiritual growth by helping us develop virtues like humility, forgiveness, patience, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control.
However, there are still obstacles standing between us and living out the First Commandment fully. One common challenge is the influence of society around us. Our culture promotes individualism and secularism, encouraging us to focus on ourselves instead of God. Sometimes it may seem easier to please others rather than obeying God’s commands; however, doing so results in disappointment and discontentment deep within us. Another hurdle is distractions caused by technology, work, entertainment, and social media. These distractors often lead us away from our devotion towards God, leaving little time for prayer and worship.
So, how can we overcome these challenges? Here are some practical steps that can help us uphold the First Commandment:
1) Develop a daily habit of spending quality time with God through prayers, reading scriptures, attending church services, singing hymns, participating in small group discussions, etc. Doing so allows us to connect spiritually with God and strengthens our relationship with Him.
2) Surround yourself with godly influences who share your commitment to honoring God. They provide encouragement, support, accountability, and wisdom during challenging times.
3) Reflect upon and analyze the motives behind decisions and actions to ensure alignment with God’s principles and avoid compromises.
4) Learn to say “no” to activities that detract you from fulfilling your responsibilities to God, family, friends, community, and job.
5) Practice gratitude, thankfulness, and generosity towards God and others, recognizing that every good thing comes from God alone (James 1:17).
By implementing these suggestions into our daily routines, we can better adhere to the First Commandment, love God supremely, and experience the benefits of such obedience. In turn, we honor Him and grow spiritually stronger day by day. As Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). May we strive to obey this commandment earnestly!