THE WORD: Love God first

Published 9:35 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

“Take good heed therefore unto yourselves; that ye love the LORD your God.” Joshua 23: 11 KJV.

The subject of “love” emerges probably on a daily basis among family and friends and others we encounter. Also, we find this subject to be intentional during the season called “Valentine” which emerges annually in mid-February. Yes, Cubit is drawing back its bow and shooting lovers hearts throughout the land. Moreover, reminders of “love” hangs in the balance as flowers and chocolates forged their way to many beloveds and homes in recognition of someone sharing their expression of “love.”

Even though these acts are very befitting, we still see and experience so many behaviors and actions that are the opposite of true love in our daily lives. We not only see but we are inundated with constant heartbreaking news of love gone malignant. However, if the essence and preeminence of our “love” was to “God” first, I believe that our encounters and interactions in our daily lives would be miraculously difference.

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Here in these historical pages of biblical history Joshua, who is now well-aged, gives his farewell address to the children of Israel. He reminded them of the manifold blessings that God had bestowed upon them. Joshua earnestly tells them that a proper response to God’s faithfulness was to “take good heed to themselves, that they should love the Lord their God.” The (NIV) says “Be very careful to love the Lord your God.”

Have you ever truly pondered the thought of what it really means to love God? Too often maybe many set out to love God through good works. While this is an essential outgrowth of love for God, it can easily become an attempt to gain His approval. Moreover, good works are not acts of devotion, but rather self-interest. Also, many set out to love God by focusing on “emotions.” But even though desirable, emotions cannot define our love to God. So, how do we really love God?

Some suggestions: we can lie prostrate or at his feet and tell him we are His. We can seek to honor Him in all we do. We can endeavor with all our heart to be like Him in our actions and deeds. We can crave His fellowship. We can also pray His desires and be committed to being consumed with, obsessed with, and filled with His ways, His works, and His will. You remember, not mine will, but thine will be done.

Then, we would be better equipped to meet the circumstance of our daily journey in such an extraordinary manner that the power and radiance of His love, which will be manifested in our spirit, will touch, penetrate, and enlighten our every encounter and situation along our journey. Love God first!

DR. JAMES TAYLOR, III is the pastor of the Jericho Baptist Church in Farmville. His email address is: