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When Moses delivered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites in Exodus 20:2-3, the first commandment was, “You will have no other gods before me.”
When God says, “You shall have no other gods before me,” he is also saying, “Don’t cheat on me. Don’t place anything in front of me. Vow to remain faithful to me.” You get the idea?
God is jealous (Exodus 20:4-5). He relentlessly pursues you because he infinitely loves you. And when anything other than God sits at the apex of your desires, values, worth and identity, destruction is certain. You place a weight on something only God can bear.
So, I want to ask you … Are you cheating on God? The following eight questions will reveal the ultimate desire of your heart.
1.) What thoughts occupy your mind when you have nothing else to think about?
Your thoughts expose the desires of your mind and heart. So, where does your mind wander when you are alone? Is your mind turned toward God? If God is the love of your life, the ultimate desire of your heart, your mind will gravitate toward him. You will set your mind on the things above. Your desire to know him and grow toward him will increase.
2.) If everything was taken from you and only God was left, would he be enough?
Really, take a moment to consider this question. If you are a follower of Jesus, this is the end goal. You are on a one-way trip to dwell with God. Forever. That’s weighty stuff. And if God is most important, the thought of dwelling with God forever should excite you.
Is God enough? Just being honest, many days I don’t believe he is. I love my stuff. I love my family. I love my hobbies. If all of these were taken from me, I am not sure God would be enough. Unlike Job, I would probably want to curse God and die.
Is God enough for you?
3.) Who or what triggers worry, anxiety and/or depression?
I value acceptance and affirmation from others more than God. I want people to like me. I also have a tendency to elevate performance to an unhealthy level, mostly due to my desire to be accepted and affirmed.
Here’s the point. The “gods” I am tempted to pursue are acceptance, affirmation and fame. When I place these in front of the true God, I am cheating on him. Thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient, and he forgives me. But I must destroy these “gods” for my relationship with God to reach deeper levels of intimacy.
So, what triggers worry, anxiety and depression in your life?
4.) Who in your life can you not forgive and why?
The world is broken. People will hurt you. Many times these people are the ones we love, trust and respect most. And when you are hurt, you have to make a decision. Will you forgive or harbor animosity and bitterness?
And forgiveness isn’t words. Anyone can say, “I forgive you.” Forgiveness is letting go. Letting go of the false power that comes with refusing to forgive. Letting go of the bitterness and animosity. This is essential for those who love God. He is the author of forgiveness. And if he is the most important relationship in your life, you must be able to look at someone who hurt you and say (as Jesus did), “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
It might take weeks, months or years, but if God is first, you must come to a place where you release the power of revenge, bitterness and anger toward someone else.
5.) When you are stressed, where do you turn for relief?
What is your medication for stress? Where do you turn to relieve stress?
Alcohol? Shopping? Medication? Sex? Drugs? Video games? Notice some of these “medications” are obviously dangerous (alcohol and drugs). Others seem harmless (shopping and video games). But anytime your “medication” isn’t God, you are corroding your heart. You are hardwiring it to rely on something that can’t fill the void.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” is a declaration from Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30). If God is most important, he will be our source of relief from stress. He will be our “medication.” And his “medication” never needs a refill.
6.) What have you sacrificed most for?
Who or what receives the largest majority of your time, money, energy and resources? Here’s what I found. If God is not the one thing you sacrifice most for, you will sacrifice God when your “one thing” is threatened.
Your heart’s ultimate desire is the one thing you sacrifice most for.
If you sacrifice more for status, fame and knowledge than you do for an intimate relationship with God, you will do anything to protect the status, fame and knowledge … including an intimate relationship with God.
What have you sacrificed most for?
7.) Where do you spend your time and money?
Time is the most valuable resource on earth. It can’t be renewed or recycled. It is not for sale. So, it would make sense to look at your most valuable resource to determine your heart’s greatest desire.
Money is similar to time. So similar that metaphors for currency are often used to describe time.
“Time is money. Invest your time well. Don’t waste my time.”
Here’s a nugget of truth: Nothing you have is yours. Everything you have is from God. Every dollar in your bank account and every possession you own will either be thrown into a garbage dump or be given to someone else.
If God is your heart’s ultimate desire, your time and money will reflect it.
8.) Is your relationship with God burdensome?
“Most Christians give just enough of their lives to God to make them miserable.” I heard a preacher make that statement one time. It’s convicting. It’s also true.
A relationship with God should never be burdensome. But when God isn’t the ultimate desire of your heart, a relationship with him will be burdensome. Just like a marital relationship.
If I am committing adultery against my wife, our marriage is going to crumble. Marriage is designed to be pure, having desires for only one person. When we cheat on God with anything, a relationship with God feels burdensome.
Is following God a burden for you? If so, why?
Maybe you need to break-up with some “gods” in your life. Things cripple your relationship with God. Only the true God can fill the longings of our heart. Only God completely satisfies.
How might your life be different if God wasn’t just number one in your hierarchy, but the only one?