What comes before God in your life?
Timewise, it might be lots of things: work, school, sleep, parenting. Let’s face it: for good or ill, we’re busy people. There are times when we just can’t help it. But amid all this chaos–what (or who) has your heart?
Nothing should come before God in our hearts. Nothing! Not things. Not plans. Not even people.
I know this is true. I can state it with assurance as well-grounded Biblical mandate, the first and greatest commandment.
But to live it? Naaah, I’m afraid I ain’t doing so good.
See, I have a husband. And I love him very much. With my whole heart. And I can justify it, too–isn’t that how the church (the Bride) is to love Christ? Of course it is. Aren’t the best marriages patterned after God’s love for His own? Of course they are. And of that Love, there are no limits.
Which, I argue to myself, is how I love Tim.
Good, good, well and good. But is it how I love God?
Therein is the rub. Nothing can come before God in my heart. Not things. Not plans. Not even people. Not even my husband.
Not even my husband (or future husband or children or whatever your heart most desires)?!?!
Not even him.
It’s hard, see, because the marital relationship trumps every other earthly relationship. In fact, nothing is allowed to come between the husband and the wife—except one thing only: God. “Do not deprive one another except by mutual consent for a time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer and fasting.” (1 Cor 7:5)
Thankfully, a true putting of God first in a marriage is not an act of divisiveness. Rather, it strengthens and unifies. It makes of two weak people a three stranded cord, one not easily broken.
So why is something so easy for me to grasp so hard for me to practice?
For instance, last weekend. Tim was unexpectedly away on business from Thursday to Tuesday. Five endless days and no way for me to accompany him. So instead, I spent the weekend as any self-respecting wife would…or not: I moped. I dragged around the house. I cried. I got angry and frustrated. And I realized something really important: Tim has become to me an idol.
Now I’m not saying that it was wrong for me to miss Tim while he was gone, or miss him heartily. But what I am saying is this: somewhere along the way, my love for my earthly husband surpassed my love for my heavenly one. The signs were clear. I didn’t just miss Tim, I shut down without him. He has become things in my life that should belong first and foremost to God: rock, fortress, comfort, joy, peace, and yes, even reason to live.
So what’s the solution? Well, starting today, I’m going to be hard at work learning to love Tim less. Need him less. Depend on him less. Rejoice in him less. Desire him less.
Sounds like a good plan, right?
No, the solution is not to give Tim less, but God more. From here on out, I’m going to be hard at work (and oft in prayer) learning to love God more. Need Him more. Depend on Him more. Rejoice in Him more. Desire Him more.
Those who come to Him, He will not cast out!