How can this be? Did not our Lord say, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”? It is when our self becomes the center of our lives that we fall into the trap of sin. Yes, we do need to love ourselves or else we will not attend to our own basic needs, physically and spiritually. But first and foremost, we need to keep our Lord at the center of our lives. It is through our Lord that all things are possible and without Him, we are lost. Our selfishness shows when we cling to the notion that our accomplishments are due to our own innate abilities, not because we are able to use the gifts that God has so graciously provided to us. When we place our own modern and enlightened opinions over and above Scripture, we place ourselves upon a pedestal and diminish our Lord’s role in our lives. The First Commandment is “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” Jesus said in Matthew 22:37, “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.”
It is when we love ourselves too much that we place ourselves before our God, and we fall into sin. The more we turn inward to praise ourselves, the more we turn away from God. We must be able to humble ourselves before the Lord. James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Considering ourselves too intellectual, too enlightened, and too modern for an ancient book to be relevant today is akin to denouncing our Lord. When we place our causes of social justice, acceptance and tolerance above the Word of God, those things become our god. When we endeavor to interpret Scripture in a way that is more pleasing to us instead of what our Lord intended, we separate ourselves from Him, making us first and our Lord a distant second.
We separate ourselves from God when we lift ourselves, our possessions, or our self identities to a higher level of importance than Him. Searching for fulfillment in our lives, outside of Christ, leads us to neglect our Lord and not find the time to dwell in His Word. All the time we have is what our Lord has given us. Why is it so difficult to spend time reading the Bible and engaging our Lord in prayer? He loves us so deeply that He sent His only Son to die for us. He has given us everything we are and all that we have. All God asks of you is to return His love. There is always time to watch TV, text or call your friends, or surf the internet. Why can’t we give back some of time our Lord has given us, in prayer or by opening His Word and reading the good news that He has proclaimed for us.
In this day and age, we must become strong in the Spirit to successfully overcome the false gospels that permeate our society. We need to properly equip ourselves to proclaim God’s Word. Ephesians 6:13-18, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”Our Lord has given us the ammunition to defeat evil if we only take the time to read and learn His Word. Hearing the Word on Sunday is not enough to maintain your armor against the evil of this world. Read His Word often and meditate on it. We can all find a quiet ten minutes per day to read and dwell in the Word. This is not too much to ask of God’s children. After all, our Lord has spent an eternity preparing this wonderful world for us and it would only be appropriate to thank Him by placing Him first in our lives.