05 Apr NUMERO UNO!
100% SURE YOU’VE BEEN THERE…
When you know you’re sneaking around doing stuff you shouldn’t be doing. You know…, stuff that’s legitimately irreverent. Yep, I was in that trough years ago until I read the small print of Exodus 20:3 and my legs turned to jelly.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Last time I checked, I wasn’t worshipping any known idols so how did this apply to me? Yet, I knew I had crossed some line. My conscience was doing cartwheels, driving me to the edge of sanity because eventually, I lost my peace. What did I do wrong?
Let me explain. I love to write. A lot. To put it mildly, every day I temper my feverish desire to spend my entire life writing even to the exclusion of my family. It is that bad! I write both for pleasure and publication.
I would jump out of bed with a plot idea too fired up to stay still. I’d crank up my computer to toy with the idea to see what shape it takes. My morning prayers would take the back seat. I was afraid of forgetting the idea. When I’m all done I’d head to the altar hoping to double the prayer time without much success, but other times I abandon the altar as the daily duty calls.
Do things like that happen to you or am I the only with issues? Lol. I try to make up one way or another but I fail to see the real problem. God wanted first priority, not leftovers of my day.
But is God’s gift more important than Him?
Have you struggled in this area of priorities? Have you put God in second place? Have you struggled with something that you felt you didn’t need God’s input or help even if it has to do with serving Him? Welcome to the club. Drag your feet over the mat. Get the dirt out. Take a seat. Suck in a deep breath and push it back out. I’ve been there too. I have enjoyed things that though are legitimate, but have somewhat taken God’s place.
The truth is, we all have idols. They’re not necessarily bad things. They can be good and legitimate things. That’s why sometimes, they’re difficult to pinpoint. For the New Testament believer, idols are the many things that take preeminence over God and His word.
But let me backtrack a little. You need to see what went wrong when I lusted after other gods.
There was a book I read some years ago that hooked me like a moth to a flame. From the first page, I was a goner. Nothing and nobody would’ve been able to extricate me from the tangles of this story. You must understand that it takes a lot to hook me because I am too analytic about the technicalities of a book sometimes to the exclusion of the story or message the poor writer is struggling to convey. I should know, I’m one too.
This book, a Contemporary Christian Fiction, got me real bad. I couldn’t let go. Well rounded Christian characters, plot twists and lots of inspirational messages. It ticked all my boxes. I enjoyed it, to the point of staying up late, chewing my fingers and having fits of anxiety over some plot twist. I hate it when something grabs hold of me like that and I lose my senses. You can understand my struggle. Lol.
Boy, did I go through a tunnel of struggle! I was angry, excited, infuriated and all other emotions justled for space inside of me. So much room for them, but no room for God. I shrugged that God would understand and since it was a Christian book I was good to go. I reasoned myself out of bible study and prayer. Unfortunately, this book had many brothers, … a series of ten. Oh boy! I’m a goner! I thought to myself. Lol
Did I win the battle with the book? Honest? No! I read all ten books before I resumed any semblance of personal devotion. It was that bad. It was a struggle to have a meaningful time with God. My putting God first mantra was challenged. I reached for the iPad before I reached for the bible. That was not good!
The book was excellent and it had a happy ending. I love happy endings! It re-affirmed my faith and trust in God. Well written and well researched. Kudos to the writer who used her gift to glorify God. All was good, but all was not God. Reading that book was very okay, but it shouldn’t have taken God’s place.
No matter how good a book is, the revelation it highlights, it’s not the bible and it doesn’t carry the same anointing and power as the word of God. It comes second or third to the bible. It will not nourish my spirit nor demolish strongholds like God’s word. So dare I give it equal value to God?
We give first place to so many things and give God the leftovers. Yet we want God to give us the first place and handle our issues with utmost priority.
Do you now understand what it means? When God says no other gods, He means ‘nothing else’ must take His place in our lives. He doesn’t just come first, He takes the most important place in our lives. He is a jealous lover. That’s just it. He won’t be relegated to second place.
Here’s how Exodus 20:5 describes this scenario:
“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”
GOD WON’T TAKE SECOND PLACE!
God tempers the hold of every other thing in our lives once we get our priorities right. Things get sorted out in the place of prayer and the devil hates that.
I still live life. I still read books and write.
But I try to ensure that I give God my first priority. The author of my breath and life shouldn’t be made to beg for my time; the one He owns and gave as a gift. If God gave me talents and other giftings to please Him and to propagate the gospel, shouldn’t I be consulting with Him first?
If He sent His Son to die for me, shouldn’t it be God first?