No rivals for my love…

Matthew 10.37-38

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37-38

My devotions the other night was centered on the above verses. It included an exercise  similar to the one we do when faced with a major decision. Get out a piece of paper…yes, actual paper and a pen…not your tablet or phone, this is one of those times when paper and pen are essential. There is something about actual writing at times like this that is revealing and therapeutic.

When trying to make a decision about a job, moving, college we are told to draw a line down the center and list the pros on one side and the negatives on the other and it should help us see more clearly what our choice should be.

The challenge doing my devotions was very pointed to the above verses in what I would call a value statement. It was to help the reader more clearly see who or what they value most, who or what is their greatest treasure. So draw the line down the center of your paper and on one side list all of the people you cherish in your life, your material possessions like your home, car, even precious items that you can not put a price on, your job/career, and the plans and dreams for your future. On the other side of the sheet write “Jesus.”

These are the specific questions asked, “Which weighs more to you? On which column do you place the most value?” As I thought through this exercise I found that looking at each listing separately, it is easy to say that Jesus is most valuable to me. Praise God, whatever life brings in regards to even my family the Lord will be with me. After all, we love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength. Right? Remember Peter said,“We have left all we had to follow you!”  Surely, we would say the same, wouldn’t we? There is no one or nothing that I love more than you.

Bless Peter’s heart, he was always quick to speak and praise God for capturing his heart and using him in the spread of the Gospel and early church. Now, I am still meditating upon this exercise for I like Peter am quick to speak and would easily say that I don’t need to do the exercise, it is a no-brainer. Surely, I value Jesus above all.

But here’s the thought…just suppose, there is a conversation in heaven right now and I was to suddenly have a Job experience…everyone and everything gone but my spouse including my health, sitting on a ash heap using glass to scrap by sores. Would God still be God? The Great I Am that I Am? My Life, my Joy, my Song? Just suppose the left column of my sheet of paper was empty – no relationships, no material possessions, no job, no health, no plans or dreams? Certainly, Job’s wife was experiencing a major crisis of belief when she said to Job, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die (Job 2:9). I am so thankful for Job’s response, But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job2:10).”

I think this is why the verse moves right to Jesus making this statement,And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (verse 38).” And whoever is not willing to suffer is not worthy of relationship with me. Okay…loving God includes suffering for God. We are to love the LORD with our whole heart NMW (no matter what) and allow that love to cause us to be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ- to live and suffer opposition, shame, loss and even death in a way that proves that Jesus is my greatest treasure and displays His glory. No rivals in our hearts!

If God was to remove any one or any thing of the left hand side of my paper would I still be singing, I rather have Jesus than anything or O how I love Jesus? Suppose He was to remove in it all? In the above verses, the Lord just wants us to understand that we are to have no other “g’ods before Him. No loves greater than Him. Surely, the entire context of Scripture teaches us that God is love, loves us, and commands that we are to love others but no one or no thing greater than Him.

I believe this to the condition of my heart but as always I pray, Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24)” and let there be no rivals for in my heart. Your are my greatest love, joy, and Treasure.” In Jesus Name, Amen!

“16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name….19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good (1 Peter 4:16,19).”

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To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

Images: Pinterest

 

8 thoughts on “No rivals for my love…

  1. I love when God sends validating messages from a variety of voices. This ties in with my telephone Bible study group’s exploration of Job. The Lord lays out a path and sometimes He asks we step into the darkness, and sometimes He provides a neon light. Thanks for being a light.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sorry, my comment got away from me…but love Job’s final response:
      Then Job replied to the Lord : “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
      Job 42:1‭-‬6 NIV
      http://bible.com/111/job.42.1-6.NIV

      Liked by 2 people

  2. We all need to examine our lives for idols. No rivals for my love is easy to say but what is the reality. Anyone or anything we put before God is a rival. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ~~ “But here’s the thought…just suppose, there is a conversation in heaven right now and I was to suddenly have a Job experience…everyone and everything gone but my spouse including my health, sitting on a ash heap using glass to scrap by sores. Would God still be God? The Great I Am that I Am? My Life, my Joy, my Song?” ~~

    Through personal experience I can say losing everything is truly a massive test of one’s faith and love for God. People think they can easily weather the storm and stay close to God when everything and everyone they know is taken from them. Did I tell God to go away and leave me alone so I could pick up the pieces on my own? No, but I certainly had many questions as to why it happened, why such a test of my faith. There was also much anger. What I am saying is, it is very easy to make such a list as the one you spoke of saying you will always love Jesus (and yes, you will), than it is to actually go through such an experience. It is a test of one’s wits. But it is also a test to open your eyes to see where you are in your faith.

    Losing all I had made me thankful for the small amount I now have. However, I do have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, clothes on my back, food to eat, and some cash to share with others less fortunate. BUT, I also have Jesus to keep me grounded now that I do understand more fully why I had lost everything. Including my reputation and self-respect. These last two being the big ones of everything I had lost.

    I apologise for the long rant.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Blessings Liz, Amen and Amen! Thank you for your testimony…it is easy to say I will always love, honor, obey, sacrifice but the go through is most times much harder…exercises like in the devotional help us dig deeper and prepare our hearts…move us from surface relationship with the Lord to deep and abiding faith. God uses it all that we would get to your last two sentences, “BUT, I also have Jesus to keep me grounded now that I do understand more fully why I had lost everything. Including my reputation and self-respect. These last two being the big ones of everything I had lost.” He uses all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Bless you today, no need for apology… 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

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