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Here is one of the most important truths in the world: we ought to love God with all our hearts. Jesus said that we should. When He was asked which was the greatest of the commandments God gave to Israel, He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Mt. 22:37). Even though we are not under the Law of Moses today, it is no less important for us to love God wholeheartedly.
The world is full of activities and objects that are easy to fall in love with, many of them quite good and wholesome. The problem for the Christian is learning to keep these temporal things in their proper place. We must not allow ourselves to become so attached to them that they compete with the Lord for our true affections. It is the Creator whom we must love. As for the things of His creation, we must enjoy them, use them, and be thankful for them -- but we must never let them pull us away from God Himself or compete with Him for our love.
Jesus warned that it would not be possible to serve two masters at the same time: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Mt. 6:24). When other activities, possessions, and concerns crowd in and take the place that belongs to the Lord, then it may truly be said that we have forsaken Him. Jesus desires to receive more than just a part of our devotion. Just as husbands and wives promise to love one another exclusively, with no third-party rivals, the Lord wants an exclusive relationship with us.
It is not impossible to have the kind of complete devotion that God desires. David was a man who had it. About Solomon, David's son, it was said that "his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father . . . Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done" (1 Kgs. 11:4,6). So David loved the Lord wholeheartedly, and there is no reason we can't love God as he did.
So we need, in a good sense, to have a "one-track" mind -- a mind that is so totally focused on the Lord and His cause that there is no room for other considerations. It takes constant adjustments to keep our hearts where they need to be. This week, let's work on that.
Monday: Matthew 22:34-40
Key Idea: The greatest commandment is to love God.
Questions for Family Growth: What question did the Pharisees ask Jesus? How did Jesus answer them? Why would you say loving God is more important than anything else? What does it mean to love God "with all your heart"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:5.
Tuesday: Exodus 20:1-7
Key Idea: We ought not to worship anything but God.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.3, what did God mean by saying, "You shall have no other gods before me"? Since we are no longer under the Law of Moses, how does this commandment apply to us today? Is idolatry no longer a problem that we have to guard against?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:6.
Wednesday: Matthew 6:19-24
Key Idea: We cannot serve God and something else at the same time.
Questions for Family Growth: What is "mammon" (NKJV) and what did Jesus say about it? What are some other things we might be tempted to "serve"? Where should our "treasures" always be? How do we "lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:7.
Thursday: 2 Kings 23:21-25
Key Idea: God is pleased when we follow Him wholeheartedly.
Questions for Family Growth: What things are said about Josiah in v.25? What is the difference between "wholehearted" and "halfhearted"? Is the difference just a matter of feelings and emotions or is our will also involved? How can we learn to follow God more wholeheartedly?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:8.
Friday: Matthew 5:8
Key Idea: God wants us to be pure in heart, not being devoted to anything but Him.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to be "pure in heart"? What is the opposite of being pure in heart? To whom did James say, "Purify your hearts" (Jas. 4:8)? What does it mean that the pure in heart are "blessed"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:9.