Chapter 19 of The Story
Keeping First Things First
We saw last Sunday in Chapter 19 of the story that the Jews who returned to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem became discouraged and quit. They quickly turned from building the House of God to building their own homes. Their priorities were out of order as they failed to keep first things first.
The same is still true in our individual lives and in the life of a congregation; we must keep FIRST THINGS FIRST. What is first on God’s list for the Church and for our lives?
Evangelism? Good guess.
Feeding the poor? Good, but not number one.
Cheering for K-State? Not even close!
The number ONE priority on God’s list is that we LOVE HIM with all our heart, soul, and mind. Matthew 22:37. We know this as the First Commandment, and the First Commandment must be in First Place in our lives and in the life of a congregation. Life does not “work” when we get things out of order. But here is the kicker. It takes God to love God!
The ability to receive God’s love and to love Him back is the greatest gift the Spirit imparts to us. We must live in agreement with the Spirit to best receive this. Our desire for God is God’s gift to us. Our desire for God is an expression of His desire for us.
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 5:5)
We must love God on His terms. A core issue today is how we define love. We must define it on God’s terms, not by our humanistic culture that seeks love without obedience to God’s Word. There are many definitions of love, liberty, and freedom in our culture that are not biblical.
Jesus defined loving God as being deeply rooted in a spirit of obedience (Jn. 14:21). There is no such thing as loving God without seeking to obey His Word.
15If you love Me, keep My commandments…21He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me…23If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. (Jn. 14:15-23)
God’s first priority and the Spirit’s first emphasis is that we would cultivate love for God.
37You shall love the Lord…38This is the first and great commandment. (Mt. 22:37-38)
Jesus did not call it the first option, but the first command. Jesus makes it clear that cultivating love for Him is the first emphasis of the Holy Spirit. God’s great desire is that we LOVE. He is after our heart. The mystery of our life is found in this truth.
Some who seek to know God’s will for their life focus on knowing what they are supposed to DO instead of what they are supposed to BECOME. When they speak of wanting the greatest calling, they refer to the size of their ministry instead of the size of their heart. The greatest grace we can receive is the anointing to feel God’s love and to express it. Knowing, receiving, and sharing God’s love is the greatest reward.
Dear Jesus, answer your prayer in my life and in the life of Your Church.
“I have made Your name known to them, so that the love with which You loved Me may be IN them, and I in them.” John 17:26
Remember, at HCC, We’re all about love. Let’s keep First things First!
In His love,