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If you were asked, “What is God’s first priority for your life?”—how would you answer?

This is one thing the Bible is very clear about. Yet, somehow, God’s first priority is often confused in our minds by things lesser, such as:

Such concerns represent fruits of the root concern God has for our lives. His priorities for us are expressed in the Great Commandment. The call to, “love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength” matters most to God. When we get that right, the natural outflow is to love our neighbor as ourselves. The two are like hinges on a door: inseparable (Mark 12:30-31).

Why do you think He asks for us to make this commandment our first priority? If you think about it, it is simply because He loves us so much. If you have a child, the one thing you want most is for that child to love you. And the child that truly loves you will seek to honor you in the way they live and behave and speak. It is all quite simple.

The challenge is in the doing. Loving God is a heart issue. Our hearts need to be cleared of competing priorities every day. For this reason, Scripture reading and prayer are critical; such practices keep our hearts right with God. These simple truths became most clear to me when a woman from Pakistan, Bilquis Sheikh, came to visit my college fellowship. Dressed in her Muslim garb, she explained how she had
come to faith back in her home country. In her particular context, to embrace the God of the Bible meant almost certain death.

Nevertheless, she read the Bible on her own and decided she must entrust her life to God. She came to the Great Commandment and complained to God, “I will give my life to you. I am right now willing to jump out of my two-story window and die for you if needed. But this command calls me to love you with all I have, and that just isn’t possible. I cannot do it because I will always fail.”

She pondered her dilemma and waited on God, until the Lord quietly told her, “You are right, my daughter. You cannot do this. But I will do it through you.” Hearing her testimony, I left everything and hiked into the mountains to make my peace with God. I have since committed, with God’s constant help, to keep the Great Commandment as my first priority in life. And I fail and then surrender to God’s first priority once again. How about you?

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