Rivals and a jealous God
Then she got another iPhone 7… by convincing another boyfriend to buy her the smartphone. She did the same with yet another boyfriend. And another. And another.
Eventually, Xiaoli got 20 new phones from 20 boyfriends. She then sold the phones on the Internet and bought herself a house in the countryside! No one is sure which of the boyfriends will share the house with her or if any of them will.
In the Bible, God frequently told his people that he wasn’t willing to share their love. They could worship him, or they could worship false gods, but they couldn’t do both. God doesn’t want to be one “boyfriend” among many; he wants people to love him will all their hearts.
Are you willing to give your whole heart to God? Or are the things that would compete with him for the top spot in your life? Here are some common rivals:
- Family. We’re often tempted to put people we love ahead of God. The Bible says that won’t work:
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37)
- Possessions. We love our stuff. We love money. We love having things around us. We can’t let those things become more important than God.
“No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)
- Sin. That should be pretty obvious, but some people have trouble coming to God because they don’t want to give up the bad things that they are doing. We have to be ready to let go of things that are wrong.
“But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:5–6)
- Life itself. Sometimes, we’re so in love with this present life that we just aren’t that interested in the life that God offers. Jesus came to reach out to those who are weary of this world and long for something better. If we want to love God, we can’t continue loving the world as it is:
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
A girl with 20 boyfriends isn’t being faithful to any of them. Those guys aren’t going to let her continue to live that way and still be in a relationship with them. In the same way, if want to be with God, we have to be willing to put aside all of his rivals.
Jesus said it this way:
“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37–38)
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